At the 1st Sikh get-together on July 31, the talk was mostly about the trip made in the searing May heat to Jaisalmer by the ‘Panj Pyaras’ of the unit (now 4 Mech) — Brigadiers Mahesh Karnick and Inderjeet Gakhal and Colonels Vijay Sandhu and Shivdev Mann and Captain Karanjiv Singh. Old soldiers’ bonds with their regiments are solid. The three days that the stalwarts spent with the battalion were not just an exercise in reliving their soldiering with ‘Chaudah Number’.
The battalion has since 1970 served in the plains except for a brief counter-insurgency tenure in the 90s. For the first time after the Tithwal tenure in the 60s, it is now moving to a high altitude area. The veterans felt that the troops could do with some guidance on overcoming the physical, technical and tactical challenges of the high mountain plateau that they’re headed to. This they proceeded to do at formal and informal interactions. For instance, they advised officers and Jawans to strengthen their lungs by swimming underwater.
When Injo (Inderjeet) Gakhal, Vijay Sandhu and Karanjiv returned to the tricity on May 9, they were refreshed and rejuvenated in spirit having once again soaked in the ethos of a great battalion which has stood the test of time. A revitalising trip to one’s old unit is no less than a pilgrimage. 4 Mech is currently on the move as part of the strategic force projection in the Himalayas.
GEN CHAUDHRI PASSES AWAY
It was devastating to know of the passing away of General TS Chaudhri in Jalandhar last month. Commissioned in 1950, he was a thoroughbred Gunner who commanded the iconic 1st Field Regiment (Self-Propelled). Later, he commanded two artillery brigades and 101 Area, looking after the logistics and administration of the entire North-East. Loyal and efficient, he served my father well as his secondin-command in the raising of 85 Light Regiment and later taking it to war in 1965. Always a tower of strength, he had a tremendous flair for organisation. He served on the Krishna Rao Committee that made recommendations for the reorganisation of the army in the mid-70s. Later, he was the president of a Services Selection Board. A very effective people manager, he was great at forging lasting friendships. Jovial and humorous, Tarlok Chaudhri was known for his hospitality. He and others commissioned in the 50s imbibed the best virtues from their superiors, who had fought in World War 2. This writer was the recipient of many acts of kindness from the general throughout his life. RIP, Uncle Tarlok, you shall ever remain in our hearts.
JAT REGIMENT GET-TOGETHER
Bonhomie, along with beer flowed freely at the Jat Regiment officers’ quarterly meet at Chandimandir on September 7. Regimental news, including the raising of the regiment’s twentieth battalion, 23 Jat, was exchanged. 3 Jat will be celebrating the golden jubilee of their triumph at Batapore and Dograi in the 1965 war at Tibri later this month.
THE NAVY DEBUTS ON FACEBOOK
The Indian Navy’s Facebook page (bit.ly/2chKQTQ) is up and running. The initiative is part of Naval Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba’s outreach to the youth and projection of the navy on an interactive social media platform.