Image  Rediff.Com


BHARAT RAKSHAK
IN THE MEDIA

Over the past ten years, Bharat-Rakshak.co has recieved coverage in both the national and internation press, on both the Print as well as TV media - Click to read more about our 15 minutes of fame

Initial Concept

How did this Idea of the Consortium of Military Websites come up? The BHARAT RAKSHAK project was the brainchild of a few Indians who decided to put up websites related to India's Defence on the Internet.

One of the first sites on Indian Defence on the Internet was by Seetal Ramesh Patel at Geocities.Com - which was set up in early 1996. Soon after, Seetal's site was joined by R Chattopadhyay's site on the Indian Air Force {Bharatiya Vayu Sena} which was set up in November 1996 and Nandan Dharwadkar's site on the Indian Navy {Bharatiya Nau Sena} which had come up about the same time.


The Early Stages

In January 1997, Seetal proposed to create the Consortium of Indian Military Websites merging his Space site along with the sites on the Navy and the Air Force. With the idea that Seetal would take care of the Space Site, and R Chattopadhyay & Nandan take care of their respective branches, the search for someone to maintain an Army and Missile site ended with the inclusion of Harshvardhan Vedak (a.k.a. Harsh) and Rakesh Koshy who had earlier showed enthusiasm & interest in the defence site concept. Seetal proposed naming the consortium, Hind Rakshak, under a common aegis of 'Rakshak' site. It was R Chattopadhyay who thought of naming the association Bharat Rakshak, which everybody quickly developed an affinity for. And Bharat Rakshak continues to be the name till date. For those who are not aware, the words Bharat Rakshak translates as India's Defenders.

Amalgamation of the Air Force, Navy & Space sites and the construction of the Army & Missile sites began in March 1997 and in the following month, these sub-sites was uploaded to a Geocities server with the main page being hosted on a separate server. The Navy site was hosted from a web server at Texas A&M University, the Air Force site was hosted from a web server at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and last but not least, the Space site was hosted from a web server in London, U.K. The Army & Missile pages were not yet complete and Harsh & Rakesh were feverishly working to finish their sections for Bharat Rakshak's official launch.


BHARAT RAKSHAK Goes Live!

Bharat Rakshak officially started up on 01 July 1997, but was online since March/April 1997, as complete construction of the Army and Missiles sites were completed only by 30 June 1997. By 15 August 1997, the 50th Anniversary of India's Independence, the Bharat Rakshak website had attracted more than 12,000 visitors. It was then decided to put all the sub-sites on a common server, with the BR main page. Seetal then made the investment of registering the domain name (www.bharat-rakshak.com) and leasing out server space. The cost however was too expensive for just one person to carry and thus it was decided that all the webmasters would chip in.

Seetal (known as BIG BOSS by the other webmasters) then came up with the idea of having a sponsor so that they would cover the costs and we would host their site. Soon with luck and determination, Seetal found the perfect sponsor Bharat Rakshak was looking for - Lancer Publishers & Distributors Ltd. This company was a very renowned publisher of military books in India. Lancer sponsored Bharat Rakshak by contributing their information and resources for the use on the website, and in fact Lancer's own site is designed and maintained by Seetal himself. This relationship with Lancer later on helped Bharat Rakshak in developing its own website for marketing of books related to Defence and Military issues. The influx of higher traffic after the nuclear tests in 1998, necessitated a mirror site till the time better servers were engaged to cater to the high traffic.


No Looking Back - The Next Generation

The site's attraction grew with the addition of a forum which became a common meeting ground for the military buffs in India (or for the matter from anywhere in the world) to come together & discuss any matters relating to India's defence. The forum got a facelift with the implementation of the Ultimate Bulletin Board Software in July 1998 for better security and regulation. To help moderate discussions, new administrators were taken in. Dr. Shivshankar Sastry, Philip Fowler, S. Subramanian and Prasenjit Medhi were appointed as moderators of the discussion forum and they have done BR proud with their fair & matured administration.

Nandan was tied up by educational constraints and finding time was becoming difficult. So he decided to take a bow in September 1998 and handed the Navy site to Rakesh. More new blood was infused in January 1999. The Army and Indian Air Force Sites had new co-webmasters, to assist the already existing webmasters - Jagan Pillarisetti to assist the IAF Site and Sachin P. Keshavan came in to co-administrate the Army Site along with Harsh. In February 1999, Harsh too was tied up with educational constraints and handed the Army Site over to Rakesh and Sachin, the former who now had the responsibilities of maintaining the Army, Navy & Missile sites, in addition to being the News Editor for Bharat Rakshak! In March 1999, Mrityunjoy Mazumdar was appointed as co-webmaster of the Navy Site along with Rakesh.

In January 2000, Matt Thundyil (a.k.a. Calvin) and Nikhil Shah were appointed as additional moderators for the forum and in October 2000, D. Ramana was also appointed as a moderator for the forum. In April 2002, S. Subramanian, Kapil Chandni and Nakul Shah (not to confused with Nikhil Shah) were appointed as webmasters for the Army, Navy and Air Force sites respectively. Sadly, 2002 saw two webmasters leaving Bharat Rakshak - Rakesh took a sabbatical due to educational and work constraints in July 2002 and in Nakul Shah left in December 2002 also for the same reason. With Rakesh's departure, Sachin was handed over the mantle of being BR's News Editor --> a task he has been handling with a great degree of professionalism. May 2003 saw another addition to the BR Webmaster team with Arun Sharma being appointed as co-webmaster of the Space Site along with Seetal and also the Missile Site along with Kapil. February 2004 saw Rakesh returning to BR, after his long sabbatical and took over his former role as the webmaster for the Army, Navy and Missiles sites.


Expanding Horizons

In July 1999, the BR Monitor was launched. The Monitor was the first online journal dedicated to Indian military and strategic affairs. It was the aim to provide a non-specialist audience with a centrist perspective on issues of importance to India's security. This Herculean effort of managing and editing the online journal has been taken up by R Chattopadhyay, Ramana and Matt. In April 2001, Jaideep E. Menon joined the Monitor's editorial team and was soon joined by S. Sainis in the following year. The Monitor subsequently underwent a transformation to the present  Security Research Review.

Bharat Rakshak expanded with the launch of Amar Jawan on 15 August 2000. A website dedicated to the personnel of the Indian Armed Forces. It is the only site which pays tribute to all the fallen soldiers of the nation with an online roll of honour, that lists the martyrs and their contributions. This site was a result of tremendous effort put by a number of enthusiastic volunteers.

Subsequent to the launch of Amar Jawan, another significant development at the site was the establishment of the BR Book Store in August 2000. This online bookshop specialises only in sourcing of books related to India's Military and Strategic Affairs. A significant collection of books devoted to various topics like Military History, Strategic Affairs, Terrorism & Insurgency, Nuclear Issues, etc. are available to the visitor looking forward to add to his/her collection. R Chattopadhyay and Sachin oversee the management of the Book Store.

In July 2002, the BR Video Store was launched which allowed the distribution of military videos produced primarily by Kunal Verma and Dipti Bhalla.


Establishing Contacts - BR Correspondents

February 2001 brought about an expansion in the BR Team, on an idea of having regional BR Correspondents in India to establish contacts with military personnel and to cover all military-related events and functions. Jagan, Philip, Shiv and Sachin became BR Correspondents handling the Southern India region (Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala). Kapil became the BR Correspondent for the Western India region (Goa and Maharashtra) operating from Mumbai {Bombay}. With forthcoming additions to this team of BR Correspondents for the northern, eastern and central regions, Bharat Rakshak is all set to provide comprehensive coverage of news events happening on the Indian Military scene.


BHARAT RAKSHAK Publications

The site notched up a milestone with the induction of new blood in the Security Research Review team. One of the new editors, Airavat Singh had already made his mark in the publishing industry as the author of Op Kartikeya, a fictionalised scenario of a war between India and Pakistan.  Yet another milestone was achieved with the publication of The India-Pakistan Air War of 1965 , jointly written by Jagan and Samir Chopra. Samir had joined Bharat Rakshak as a co-webmaster of the Indian Air Force Site in 2004, but has been a contributor to the website for many years before that. In 2007, Dr Shiv Shankar Sastry published his e-book "Pakistan - Failed State" which is available on this site for free download.


Current Status of BHARAT RAKSHAK

The setting up of the official Indian Armed Forces site, whose absence was the primary motivation behind the idea of Bharat Rakshak, in fact further spurred the webmasters to improve the content of the sites and give it the personal touch which the official sites are lacking. Today BHARAT RAKSHAK is a one stop reference site for anyone wanting to know anything about the Indian Armed Forces.


The Bharat Rakshak Team
Image  Rediff.Com

WEBSITE ADMINISTRATOR
Seetal Ramesh Patel

- - -
INDIAN LAND FORCES
• Rakesh Koshy
Sachin P. Keshavan
INDIAN NAVY
• Kapil Chandni
• Rakesh Koshy
Mrityunjoy Mazumdar
INDIAN AIR FORCE
Jagan Pillarisetti
Samir Chopra
- - -
INDIAN MISSILES
INDIAN SPACE
Seetal Ramesh Patel
BR BOOK STORE
Sachin P. Keshavan
- - -
SECURITY RESEARCH REVIEW
• R Chattopadhyay
Jaideep E. Menon
D. Ramana

NEWS HEADLINES TEAM
Jai S
Shishir M
J Tull
& Other Volunteers

Our thanks to the following former members of the Bharat Rakshak team, for their dedication and effort in building and maintaining this site:

1] Nakul Shah [Air Force Site]
2] Nandan Dharwadkar [Navy Site]
3] Harshavardhan Vedak [Army Site]
4] Philip Fowler [Forum Administration]
4] Prasenjit Medhi [Forum Administration]
5] S.... M........ [Forum Administration]

6
] Sunil Sainis [Security Research Review]
7] Laxman Bahroo [Security Research Review]

8] Arun Sharma [Missiles and Space]