A Jubilee Studded with Diamonds

10th December 1962 was a historic day for the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun. It was the date on which the President’s Colours were presented to the Academy and the illustrious personality who presided over the ceremony was Dr S Radhakrishnan who needs no introduction. The 30th regular course passed out during the parade and the gentlemen cadets were commissioned the next day. The IMA has travelled a long distance during the last sixty years. The pictures of the majestic Chetwode building then and now are given below, to tell the tale.


 IMA 1962

IMA, in 1962


 IMA 2021

IMA in 2021, with the COVID masks on



To mark the diamond jubilee of this momentous occasion, they decided to celebrate the anniversary in a befitting manner. They are super-senior citizens now with grey hair and wrinkled faces, but their spirit is intact. They chose the Ashok Hotel in Delhi for their get-together and spent three days in regal style. My friend, Col Vinod Kumar has sent me a video clip based on the pictures taken during the occasion. It gives me great pleasure to give you a link to the film below: 




The Tailpiece

I saw the 30th Course from a distance of two terms since I attended the 28th course. When we passed out in Dec 1961, they had completed their second term. I have some unforgettable memories of their charismatic cadets and would like to narrate one anecdote. At the farewell dinner hosted by Imphal Company, a brief entertainment programme was organized. After a few songs and skits, the Master of Ceremonies chose to introduce the ‘passing out’ GCs to the audience. He first called upon Under Officer Fateh Singh and spoke a few words. He called him a double dealer and hypocrite and accused him of presenting a wrong picture of the administrative problems of cadets. The UO went back with a sheepish grin on his face. He then called a few more of my course-mates and meted out similar treatment to them. Apparently, he knew many secrets which we had been hiding from the juniors. This went on for about twenty minutes, and he had finished no more than six or seven out of the 33 of us and we were all scared of being ‘exposed’. I was wondering how the proceedings would go on when he suddenly said, “Gentlemen, the dinner is getting cold, so I will stop here. At any rate, the rest of them are not worth talking about!”.

You should have seen the look on the faces of those who were spared the agony of his caustic words! The name of the 30th course GC is Sudhir Vombatkere, and  I have been able to fish out his picture, then and now. I must also add that he chose to remain conspicuous by his absence during the jubilee in Delhi.

Maj Gen Sudhir 


The reunion organized by the veterans of the 30th course was, indeed, unique and will go down in the annals of the history of the Indian Military Academy. It was the manifestation of camaraderie and guild. It will be an inspiration for the subsequent courses. The very idea inspires awe and the execution must have taken a lot of effort. Col Vinod Kumar has done a superb job in creating the video clip, and has translated “Yeh dosti, hum nahin bhulenge…” into an unforgettable narration.

If you have something to add to this story, kindly click on ‘comments’ at the end of this post and record your message.

30th course group photograph

The above picture with the names of the participants has been sent by Ashu Sharma. It certainly adds value to the post.

  1. colls says:


    My Dearest General,
    I’m exceedingly happy that you have taken my advice seriously,in that you have taken pains to reply each.

    I’m just a speck of dust
    blown in the wind
    far away from here to there

    Your wishes gleam
    so it seams
    a SGMT remains
    still on thy exalted
    mind’s screen

    The world sees you as
    ARMY ‘s
    remember once I said you will be..

    touch like your grandfather

    Colls Blessings…

    21Mar 2023

  2. Lt Gen Harbhajan Singh says:

    Harbhajan Singh

    to me

    Dear Surjit Ji,

    I fished out this excellent message from my SPAM Folder. Enjoyed reading it.

    Warm regards.


    • Surjit says:

      Bhai Sahib,

      Thanks for the kind words. They are like music to the ears.
      We the ex-NDA cadets owe a lot to the “First JSW” And the website which you have created is of great value. I have seen it several times.

      I feel inspired whenever I meet you in the Terraced Garden in Sector 33. May the Lord give you a long and healthy life.


  3. Lt Gen RK Mehta says:

    R mehta
    Fri, Feb 24, 10:21 AM

    Thanks for sharing..
    Regards and best wishes


  4. Madan Kandal says:

    Great to see old friends representing us all in this reunion. Even as we ourselves were unable to make it, the post makes it possible to connect. Thanks friends.
    Thanks to Gen Surjit Singh too for posting it.

  5. Col Alok Chakravorty says:

    This certainly has motivated me to coax our course mates into emulating this great event in general with minor changes to suit our needs.
    A big salute to Col Vinod Kumar

    • Surjit says:


      Well…that is what the army is all about. We have these friends and the camaraderie which we acquire while going through the vigorous Academy routine. It remains in our veins all through our lives.
      Yes. Your course must emulate this example, and raise the bar to higher levels!


  6. Maj Gen AK Sharma says:

    Thanks, Boss. In retrospect, this picture may as well be the last as a group of 30th course. The attrition is rather high. One of our eldest( also one of the event sponsors based at C’garh) and all set to join us on 10 Dec ’22 at Ashoka, decided to leave the world on 8th Dec morning. A couple of coursemates from out stations came on wheelchairs. Sudhir Vombatkere of course had told me the cold was not his and Asha’s cup of tea. I wonder if you know he was one the earliest in the course to have met Asha at IMA where her father was serving in the FRI – and he fell in love during his road walk and run through FRI( officially out of bounds) as a GC, she also piped him on 10-11 Dec ’62- he also led a double life like Faheh Singh. Ashu

    • Surjit says:


      Don’t say that. The life expectancy in India has gone up. I find a number of people around me ‘hitting the century’ ! Thirty-odd years ago, when we retired, most people passed away in their mid-seventies. Now they are living at least ten years longer. So your course might well meet again five years down the line.

      Wish you and Pratibha a long and healthy life.


  7. J Thomas says:

    Thanks Surjit for this account. Lots of memories.

  8. Maj Gen AK Sharma says:

    Surjit – In the beautiful write-up on your website ( having Vinod’s Video), in the comments section I wanted to upload this equally historic picture of all who were there to celebrate, the Diamond Jubilee but failed – it did not allow me to do it, hence forwarding the same. I wonder if you will consider it appropriate to have it included in some form.
    Yes, Vinod has been economical in his video his contribution was massive, with Minocha, and Popli, self chipping in with incremental contributions in the preparations, Adlakha was able to get the rep of the architect of Kartavya Path to brief us in our luxury bus parked on the Kartavya Path(normally not allowed) and give us a comprehensive briefing for future projects as well. Overall, it was a very rich dividend of 7/8 months of preparations. Adlakha was untiring in his efforts. Ashu

    • Surjit says:

      Thanks. We were able to post the picture on the website. It certainly adds value to the narrative crafted by Vinod.

  9. Col Randhir Singh says:


    Colonel Randhir Singh Dhillon Marg Patiala

  10. Zal Kabraji says:

    My dear General,
    Thank you very much for sharing—lots of real nostalgic memories from those grand old times & so well done—-I’m sure each & everyone enjoyed this lovely reunion —-best wishes & God bless all of them.
    Warm regards,
    Zal Kabraji.

    • Surjit says:


      If I had my way, I would make you an honorary member of the ex-NDAs club. You have soldiering running through your veins.


  11. Krishna Menon says:

    Krishna Menon to me

    Dear Gen Surjit Singh,

    Thank you for sharing this memorable event. It is the supreme sign of enduring esprit de corps that has been on display.

    Warm regards,

  12. Lt Gen Paramjit Singh says:

    Dear Sir,
    This is a wonderful post!
    Thank you very much for sharing.
    Warm regards

  13. Col m Giridhar says:

    Amazing trip down memory lane. Great reading. Wish all the 30th Course stalwarts all the very best and Godspeed.

  14. IMA 21st Course Cassino Together with Sudhir Vombatkere when he was in YOs at College of Military Engineering (CME) and I was on EME Degree Engineering Course . Travelled together to 69 Mtn Bde he to 428 Fd Company Engrs and me to 119 Fd Wksp EME Later in Delhi in around 1991 Been reading many many writeups by him full of wit and humour and driving home valid opinions and impressions After Retirement he has taken up aspects of Aadhaar which need rectification and refinement

  15. colls says:


    I know Brig ANIL ADHLAKHA
    half lakh …as I call him…
    very well and Gen Vombetkhere
    was my respected neighbor …
    in Noida …
    He was on third floor .

    I am only sad
    even though I was in India ,
    spent this winter in Noida ,
    I was missed out
    having been relegated to 1962 Seniority ..

    Bad Luck I never got my dues
    being a Confirmed Charlie .

    Now I am an ”INDO -CANADIAN POET ” …
    with your good wishes

    Thank you General Surjit Singh Sir
    I miss you dearly
    SGMT Colls 15NDA /24TH IMA

    Have a good day

    • Surjit says:

      Dear Sergeant Major,

      You have ‘painted the country red’ through your poetry. Keep the words coming!


      • colls says:

        My Dearest General,
        I’m exceedingly happy that you have taken my advice seriously,in that you have taken pains to reply each.

        ”I’m just a speck of dust
        blown in the wind
        far away from here to there

        Your wishes gleam
        so it seams
        a SGMT remains
        still on thy exalted
        mind’s screen

        The world sees you as
        remember once I said
        you will be..

        touch like your grandfather
        100 a FULL PLUS CENTURY

        Colls Blessings…
        21 March 2023

  16. COL S S MALIK says:

    NOSTALGIC Moments. Life is after all an experience. Power packed life of army officer has its uniqueness that few others can match.

    • Surjit says:

      Thanks, Sultan,

      What is keeping you busy these days?

      I am aware of your limitless energy. Nothing, absolutely nothing can stop you. I am sanguine that the best moments of your life have not yet arrived.
      God bless.

  17. Col JK Bajaj SM VSM says:

    One was there in that Passing Out Parade 0n 10 Dec 1962, as 2nd Termer Corporal JK
    Bajaj Chitord Company
    PL Bajaj was from my company only
    Had I waited to join as OUT 1 since I was already a selected candidate in my final year of College, One would have passed out with them since the 62 Dec batch was 30 DE, 31 DE and OTU 1
    Jai Hind
    Par phir main Republic Day Parade na Lead karda as the OTU- 1 Punjab Contingent

  18. Col Ranjit Maini says:

    Ranjit Maini
    3:15 PM (2 hours ago)
    to me

    Thanks for sharing Sir,
    Terrific course spirit and memorable function organised by them. I happened to serve under Col Vinod Kumar as his Second- in – Command in 611 EME Bn….. What a learning experience that was!

  19. Surjit says:

    This was a stupendous task, executed equally well. As far as I can imagine Anil Adlakha is the only one who could have conceived this idea and then implement it with such enthusiasm. I think the 30th course has set the bar so high that very few courses will be able to emulate the level! Please accept my compliments and may the Lord bless you.

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