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A ‘Field Punishment’ Under the Watchful Eye of the Kanchenjunga

  Foreword by the editor Brig Krishnan Nair Harikumar is a well-known name in the Corps of EME. I had the good fortune of serving with him in Sikkim during 1981-82, when he was a Major. Had he recorded his age appropriately, he would have surely retired as a general officer. This is a story of how he began his …

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A SILENT THUNDER IN ‘HUNTER’ SQUADRON, NDA

  A SILENT THUNDER IN ‘HUNTER’ SQUADRON, NDA By 2997 A Bit of History At the end of World War II, Field Marshal Claude Auchinleck, then Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army, led a committee around the world and submitted a report to the Government of India in December 1946. The committee recommended the establishment of a Joint Services Military Academy, …

major balwant singh

The Portrait of a ‘Kirti Gursikh’

Prologue Our father, whom we called Pitaji, passed away in Command Hospital, Chandimandir on 07 May 2004 at the age of 93. Soon after that, we received a request from Mr Saran Singh, IAS who was the editor of “The Sikh Review” to write about the life and times of our father. I must add that Mr Saran Singh had …

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Memories of 8 Squadron, IAF

BIRTH AND INFANCY OF No. 8 SQUADRON, IAF Preamble Sqn Ldr T J Thomas joined the fledgling Air Force in 1939 at the bottom rung, and worked his way up to a ‘field’ rank, equivalent to Major in the Army. In the process, he had to climb many steps.He commanded No 43 Signals Unit in J&K  from 1960 to 1962.  He …

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THE WAR DIARY OF OUR FATHER, MAJOR BALWANT SINGH (1911-2004)

  Preamble A commission in the British Indian army was highly coveted by our ancestors. Military officers ranked high in the pecking order, since the Commander-in-Chief was next only to the Viceroy. Consequently, military officers were placed higher than the civil servants. And for a long time, the army was officered exclusively by the British. Until as late as 1919, …

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A Hug is all I Need

CONFLUENCE OF ‘SHANTI’ and ‘DHIRAJ’ The Hindi word, ‘Shanti’ means peace, and it includes equanimity and tranquility. ‘Dhiraj’ means patience. Both these virtues are desirable attributes of human personality. During my service I had the good fortune to meet father-son duo, who were known by these names. The elder of the two was about twelve years senior to me, while …

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OUR ‘MAKAAN’ IN FAROOKA 1947

Thumbing Through a Bunch of Old Papers Last week, I was seeing some old papers, to weed out the ones which I do not need any longer. I saw an irrelevant pencil sketch, and just before throwing it into the dust bin, I noticed that it was the outline of the house we left behind in Pakistan, in 1947, drawn …

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30th April 1997 and 6th May 2004

Twenty-three years ago, on 30th April 1997, our revered mother, whom we called ‘Jhaiji’ left for her Heavenly abode. Almost exactly seven years later, on 6th May 2004, our father, whom we addressed as ‘Pitaji’ joined her. Since then, during this period, we pray for the eternal peace of their souls. We also recall moments out of their pious and …

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PITAJI’S DIARIES AND PHOTO ALBUMS

 Pitaji’s Archives Our revered father, Major Balwant Singh ji, whom we called Pitaji was born in Faruka (Dist Sargodha, now in Pakistan) on 30 June 1911. During the last few years of his life, he recorded the story of his life, in three diaries. The memoirs go back to 1919. Early in life, he acquired a camera, and the pictures …

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Post Cards from “Uncle KS”

Prologue I have some pretentions to being a story-teller. But when I look at my writings and compare them with the works of legends like Khushwant Singh, I find that I am not even a midget. In age, he was almost as old as my respected father. It would, therefore, be sacrilege to refer to him by his name. In …