Hiroo Onoda: Never Surrender!



Everyday, we read so many tales of amazing people around us. Some well-known and some not. Some who fade into history’s archives after being a bright spark and some who continue to stay and refresh our memory. My effort is to bring out the best of management and life’s lessons that could be gleaned from these individuals.

This is the story of Hiroo Onoda, a soldier from the Japanese Imperial Army. His story dates to the Second World War and beyond.

Hiroo Onoda was trained as an Imperial Army Intelligence Officer.  His mission was to go behind enemy lines and gather intelligence that would be useful for the Japanese army, while leading small teams of men to create havoc and unrest. If you are able to win skirmishes and ensure fatalities for the enemy (the allies, in this case), all the more better. Waging guerilla warfare and collecting intelligence were his training focus areas.

So, what’s special about him?

Hiroo Onoda continued his war for a period of 30 years (December 26th 1944 to March 10th, 1975) on Lubang Island (Philippines)! This is long after Japan had surrendered. He did not know about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and neither did he believe Japan’s surrender (extremely Jingoistic).

What actually happened?

Hiroo Onoda was following orders from his superior to the T:

  • No matter how long it Takes, the Japanese army will come for him
  • Even if there is just one man, continue leading him
  • No suicide
  • Collect intelligence and don’t be caught by the allied troops

Onoda and his companions employed guerilla tactics and continued harassing the enemy soldiers. One by one, his men fell but that did not deter Onoda in continuing his fight. He and his band of men refused to believe Allied propaganda on Japan’s surrender as for them there was no way that Japan could lose the war. Hence, all efforts from the Philippines government to draw them out failed as they construed the steps taken as traps. Efforts from the free locals, who were tired of being harassed also failed at convincing Onoda to surrender. What kept them going was the thought:

” Japanese army hasn’t come for us, so that means we haven’t still won. We can’t lose, so the war must still be on”

Though his men fell to the Filipino police and patrols, Onoda continued his individual efforts. He was so good at his work, that Japanese search patrols could not locate him. It was in 1974 that a student  Nario Suzuki succeeded in locating Onoda and tried persuading him to come home. As expected Onoda refused and it took his commanding officer, who was now working at a book store, to meet and talk him into surrendering. Onoda finally surrendered on the 10th of March, 1975 to the Philippine president, Ferdinand Marcos. He was pardoned for his crimes (he had killed around 30 Filipinos and injured scores as part of his guerilla warfare) against the Filipinos as Onoda has committed them in the mindset of an ‘At war’ soldier.

What’s the learning?

  1. Dedication to country and to duty: One would actually call Onodo crazy, but looking at his perspective, he performed what was right for Japan. He did not fail to carry out his orders. His intelligence notes and logs were maintained and preserved.
  2. Resourcefulness: Even on the day he surrendered, he had a working  rifle – all oiled and in an excellent condition with 500 rounds to spare! His uniform was well maintained and had very neat patches sewn on. He survived in the jungles on what the forest could offer and by looting the farms and livestock in the villages adjoining the jungle.
  3. Planning & Decision making: His decision making (despite being contradictory to the facts and based on minimal information) is still commendable. Where to attack, how to conceal oneself, how to make the best of his men and meagre resources and all along ensuring that Japan was benefiting from their service.

The strength of character demonstrated was exemplary – how many can continue such a hard life for so long, driven just by his duty to his country? It only takes the twist of fate to accord the right treatment – if Japan had won, Onoda would have been a certain hero for his valiant efforts and not looked at as a soldier who killed innocent civilians. He deserves respect for not opting to give-up and for pursuing his duty relentlessly.






Chin up Chennai!



With water shortage, we prayed for the heavens to pour,
Now its time to pray – oh God! please, no more!

The houses are getting flooded,
so are our hearts with the love and gratitude exhibited!

With incessant rains, the water level does rise,
so do, our levels of patience and resilience!

Corruption and encroaching spoiled our reservoirs,
we brave out this situation, an experience fit for memoirs!

The rain water is certainly not welcome inside our homes,
but the hungry and the homeless, they certainly are!

You may be afraid concerning the well-being of a known one,
Don’t worry, for Chennai’s motto is now – One for all & all for one!

We are at war with Nature, you might say
Our brave soldiers of peace are here to save the day!

We are not afraid of any waves of a Tsunami striking us,
we only fear the fizzing out of the waves of Humanity in us!

Hold in there, chin up, help is at hand!
This too shall pass, as does the hourglass sand.

Tomorrow, when the sun shines and life moves on,
We will sing, we will dance, with our best clothes on!

Amazing people and an amazing city!

‪#‎Chennaithebest‬ ‪#‎Chennairains‬ ‪#‎Chennai‬ ‪#‎ChennaiUnites‬
Love you Chennai – My native & the best city in the world!
With Love & Prayers – Bharath Balasubramanian

The ticket to a fantastic experience – Bye, Bye #Sachin!

The Ticket to a fantastic experience!

Thanks to a friend, Namrata Gupta, I got the the ticket for the first day of the second test match at Wankhede stadium. This is Tendulkar’s 200th test and his last. Getting tickets was no easy task and had actually resorted to watching the match on telly when I got this wonderful piece of paper.

The morning’s game theory exam was spent more on visualising the game at Wankhede than the ones in the question paper! Wrapping up the exam at 10 AM, myself & Mayank Saxena (who called me with the great news of the ticket’s availability) took the local train to Churchgate and from there walked to the stadium. We reached when WestIndies seemed to have a great partnership going between Bravo and Powell with the Windies losing just one wicket for around 65 runs.

Today was nothing short of what can be thought of as a great day.

  1. We got the train quickly and that too a super fast one!
  2. I had my camera bag with me and on producing my student ID (!) was actually permitted in an unofficial way to retain my bag – everyone had to safe keep it somewhere and were not allowed to carry their bags in!
  3. The Windies seemed too comfortable and we asked for some action at least in terms of some wickets that would make it great game to watch. Mind you, I am not a big fan of test cricket – but this game was really special!
  4. Over the next 2.5 hours, the Windies lost the wind in their sails and slumped to a paltry 182 all out (3 ducks in a row)!! I not only got to see the action but also had the opportunity to see our team bat!
  5. Ok, with our team batting, obviously had the desire to see the little master play! this was a tough wish torn between wishing the best for our team and yet wanting the first two wickets down so that Sachin could bat. Prayer answered – Murali and Dhawan gave a beautiful batting display and without wasting too many balls, left the stage for Pujara and Sachin!
  6. Watched Sachin bat out at least 18 overs along with Pujara and witnessed some of his classic shots 🙂    What more can I ask for?!

The atmosphere was electrifying – did not feel like a test match at all! It was more like a T20 kind of ambience with the crowd following and acknowledging each and every ball and run! The crowd was constantly rooting for Sachin and persuading Dhoni to let him bowl. A simple fielding from Sachin drew more cheer than a catch or a wicket from the other Indian players! Seated in the Sachin Tendulkar stand (Yay!), I was thankful to Dhoni as Sachin was fielding 90% of the time near us. Wherever he looked into the crowd, that section used to go crazy!! Sachin acknowledged the crowd very well and even gestured us to keep the volume down. Looking at him at close quarters was paisa vasool! very humble and really embarrassed by all the shouting that we managed!

The gesture from the West Indies team welcoming Sachin was very good. Though they attempted to place the master blaster under pressure initially by surrounding him with as many as 6-7 players, the God did not lose his cool and rather forced them to change their field settings by dispatching a couple to the fence!

Soaking in the atmosphere was a terrific experience – a lifetime experience to be cherished. Will certainly miss Sachin 😦




is it so difficult to make people see reason?

is it hard for people to be sensitive of others?

is it difficult for people to keep their opinions to themselves?

is it a problem to be yourself?

is it difficult for people to appreciate the good in others?

is it difficult to appreciate others for the things they do?

is it difficult to thank people for their help?

is it so difficult to give due credit to people?

is it difficult to have a relation without an underlying transaction?

is it so difficult to call a spade a spade?

is being outspoken a problem?

do people enforce their choices on others?

do people have a difficult time differentiating professional from personal behaviour?

do people act cheap?

do i expect people to be sensible?

do i expect people to be logical?

do i expect people to be rational?

do i hope for people to change for the better?

do i care for the undeserving?

do people put money before everything else?

do people want to share their negativity with others?

do people retain incidents, as ammunition to be used later?

do people lie?

do people always have a mask on?

do people become defensive when their shortcomings are pointed out?

do people never forgive?

do people get away with BS?

do people find safety in numbers, for the wrong reasons?

do people love freeloading?

do people start strong, but wither along the way?

do people confuse arrogance with self confidence and vice-versa?

do people mistake humility & humbleness for weakness?

does relation take a back seat when it comes to personal gains?

does the truth ceases to be, the moment it is uttered?

don’t people stand up for what they believe?

don’t people pull their weight?

don’t people believe in reciprocity?

are people negatively affected from one’s positiveness and positively affected by one’s downfall?

did i even write this?

– Bharath K Balasubramanian


I Await My Turn…..

Read about the Kamduni rape case – the sheer brutality of it was shocking to say the least. Penning my anguish, these lines are dedicated to the unfortunate ones….….

“I await my turn”

I live in a democracy, where men and women are all equal.
A socialist, secular republic called India,
where languages are a-plenty, cultures manifold
I wonder, do the constitutional values even hold?

Are we daughters of lesser parents?
or is our body our curse?
Our voices choke at the suffering meted to us,
nothing could ever be worse.

Pandering to the most basics of vices,
they violate us, again and again and again.
Paying no heed to our cries of pain;
totally consumed by madness, what is that they gain?

Moments of excruciating pain,
impossible to put in words or to explain.
they expect us to act normal,
pray, tell me – how can i ever be the same?

Checkups and tests to confirm the crime,
send further shivers down my spine.
They treat us as if the perpetrators of crime,
helpless, further embarrassed, i can only bide my time.

What are you busy with,
our custodians of justice?
why were you, tell me, sworn-in?
To act only if its your kith or kin?

When was ever death better than life?
i used to think when i had a great life.
now i know, now i realise,
take me away god, enough of this malaise.

Whom do i turn to, whom do i call?
i realise, losing my dignity is not all.
Lewd comments and sneering remarks
re-open my wounds, deepening the marks.

The sickening feeling 
refuses to abate,
a victim of man’s lewdness
why should i partake of his hate?

Kamduni’s Aparajita, Delhi’s Nirbhaya are now dead and gone,
I await my turn, i feel all alone………

– Bharath K Balasubramanian