Civilisation 3000 networker, Major General Eustace D’Souza, died recently in Bandra, Mumbai. After his service with the Maratha Light Infantry, he became Secretary General of the World Wildlife Fund for India. He then served two terms as Consultant for South Asia to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Several readers will remember his memorable and well-received One World Trust lecture in the House of Commons in 2001. He spoke about his work promoting the creation of a structure for environmental protection within the three Indian armed services, so that today every unit has a specific environmental role to play. He regarded this as central to global security and part of the whole ‘web of life’.
The writer remembers him as a frequent email correspondent and a welcoming host and raconteur, frequently published in the regional press, with a range of subjects from analyses of US strategies and mindset to events in Kashmir which he continued to visit regularly after serving there on the Siachen Glacier.
He cared deeply about the Chinese occupation of Tibet and, when taking part in periodic meetings with the Chinese military as a member of a government advisory group, never failed to take them to task about this.
He was also a public-spirited activist, involved with many groups in the city. Whenever a disaster was announced he would personally make the rounds and collect remarkable sums of money from people who knew that he would ensure they were properly used.
Knowing that the writer spent a quarter of the year in Mumbai (1993-2004) Eirwen Harbottle said a meeting with Eustace D’Souza should be arranged. Her late husband, Brigadier General Michael Harbottle, a former Chief of Staff of the UN Peacekeeping forces in Cyprus, wrote a number of books on international peacekeeping, including the Peacekeeper’s Handbook, which the UN and more than 70 countries have used as an instrumental manual for peacekeeping operations.
He said that D’Souza’s work inspired his own What is Proper Soldiering? by informing him of the work of the Indian armed forces in addressing some aspects of environmental security and protection. This prompted him to contact all the embassies or High Commissions in London for information which eventually went into the annex, indicating the wide range of activities going on within the armed forces around the world.
This is an extract from a very well-read article: Terrorism: the most serious threat to world peace – first posted on the C3000 website:
“Addressing terrorism: the four-fold path
1] the motivation for this threat to peace must be removed through spirituality
2] narcotics, the source of funding, must be eliminated and power gained to scrutinise and monitor bank accounts
3] supplies of the ‘suitcase’ miniaturised nuclear bomb must be detected and destroyed
4] the public must be made keenly aware of the threat to the earth’s life support system from:
- nuclear, chemical and biological weapons,
- blatant consumerism
- unfair sharing of the world’s resources and
- the shameful ‘rape’ of the environment.
Read an account of his visit to Hiroshima just after the atom bomb was dropped: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/features/life/this-hiroshima-survivor-bats-for-nuclear-energy/article1715345.ece
“But we need to face stark realities. Can India afford to lower its guard of no first strike nuclear deterrence with two nuclear powered hostile neighbours sitting right on its doorsteps? The lives of over 1 billion people are the responsibility of the Government. It’s all very easy for NZ to make such recommendations when it faces no nuclear threat.
“Having been privy to what a kiloton yield nuclear bomb did in Hiroshima in March 1946, I shudder to think what would happen to Mumbai in the event of a megaton yield nuclear attack.
“In recent years China‘s claims to Indian border territory have increased tension though since independence we have waged wars only in self defence after being attacked”.
Major-General D’Souza ruefully added, ”Given India’s geo-strategic considerations, non-offensive defence can never ever be realistic.” In more cheerful vein, a few months later he wrote: “We are not interested in war. But good monsoons-YES.”
Major General Eustace D’Souza: RIP