Nation bids adieu to General S F Rodrigues with full military honours

Updated on Mar 07, 2022 11:35 PM IST

General S F Rodrigues served an illustrious career in the Indian Army rising up to the rank of chief of Army staff. He was appointed as the 26th governor of Punjab and 13th administrator of Chandigarh.

Former chief of Army staff, General S F Rodrigues breathed his last on Friday at Panaji in Goa after a brief illness. He was 88. (File)
Former chief of Army staff, General S F Rodrigues breathed his last on Friday at Panaji in Goa after a brief illness. He was 88. (File)
ByGerard de Souza

PANAJI: Draped in the tricolour, former chief of Army staff and former governor of Punjab and administrator of Chandigarh, General Sunith Francis Rodrigues was on Monday cremated with full military honours in Goa on Tuesday. He breathed his last on Friday at Panaji in Goa after a brief illness. He was 88.

General Rodrigues, who was born to Goan parents in Bombay on September 19, 1933, served an illustrious career in the Indian Army rising up to the rank of chief of Army staff from July 1, 1990 to June 30, 1993.

General Rodrigues, who spent his final years at the Defence Colony in Alto Porvorim, was accorded a gun salute as a mark of respect to the departed war veteran.

His mortal remains were taken to the Holy Family Church at Porvorim to allow well-wishers to pay their last respects followed by a funeral service, after which he was taken to the ‘Moksha’ crematorium at Santa Inez Panaji for cremation.

“General Sunith Francis Rodrigues was a true patriot and devout Christian. He shared many life lessons with us, and lived by three simple tenets: Put India First, I answer to my country and my God and There is no limit to what can be achieved, as long as you don’t care who gets the credit for it. These are all lessons his family and loved ones will be continuously inspired by, for the rest of their lives,” his family said in a note after his passing.

“He was a dependable and loving husband and father. His honesty and integrity were unflinching in the face of the great challenges of his public life. His faith never wavered and he was a sincere and devoted advocate of Christian values of compassion, sharing and leading by example, with humility and integrity. The world is better for his having been a part of it,” the family said.

Through the day, dignitaries including Goa governor P S Sreedharan Pillai, chief minister Pramod Sawant, union minister of state for shipping Shripad Naik, Goa leader of opposition Digambar Kamat, former union minister P Chidambaram and others paid their last respects to the departed General.

Leading the Army in paying their last respects was chief of Army staff, General Mukund Naravane as well as delegations from the Indian Navy and Air Force.

General Rodrigues, PVSM, VSM (Retd), a native of Goa, was born in Mumbai and educated in St Xavier’s High School, fort Mumbai. He was commissioned in the Indian Army in the year 1952 and had an illustrious military career. He was appointed as the 26th governor of Punjab and 13th administrator of Chandigarh from November 16, 2004 to January 22, 2010.

The General Officer was an integral part of the proud fighting forces of the country during the Sino-Indian war of 1962, Indo-Pakistan war of 1965 and Indo-Pak war of 1971. General S F Rodrigues was awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal and Vishisht Seva Medal in recognition of his dedication and action beyond the call of duty during his distinguished service of 41 years. The General was also instrumental in the induction of women in the serving areas of the Army in 1991, marking an important step towards empowering women to serve the country.

General Rodrigues was the lead signatory on the list of more than 155 armed forces veterans who wrote a letter to the President, prior to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, urging him to ensure that the armed forces are not politicised.

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