The Surya Family
Central Command celebrates Raising Day on May 1
EACH YEAR Central Command celebrates May 1 as its Raising Day all over the Command. On this day, in 1963, Central Command came into being. It is interesting to note that prior to May 1, 1963, Lucknow was in fact the Headquarters of the Eastern Command. It was the Chinese aggression in 1962 which led to the creation of the Central Command with its headquarters at Lucknow. Subsequently, Calcutta was made the Headquarters of the reorganised Eastern Command. Lt-Gen K Bahadur Singh has the distinction of being the first Army Commander of Central Command.
The area of Central Command covers the very heart of India and geographically the vast sweep of this area extends from the mysterious middle kingdom of Uttaranchal through the vast dusty plains of Uttar Bharat and Madhya Bharat, tribal heartlands of Orissa to the costal areas touching the Bay of Bengal. The seven states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Orissa thus comprise the area of Central Command.
Due to its vastness, Central Command is in fact amongst the largest contributors to the Indian Army. The Command is home to 18 Regimental Centres as well as a large number of logistic and training establishments. The logistic bases located within the jurisdiction of the Command serve as the hub for sustenance of all land, air and sea based military operations. Lt-Gen OP Nandrajog, AVSM,VSM presently heads the Surya fraternity. The General Officer took over the reins of the Surya Command on January 1, 2006 and ever since has worked tirelessly towards making the Surya Command and Lucknow Cantonment the cynosure of all eyes. The Raising Day festivities will include myriad activities ranging from cultural activities, sports and a ‘run for fun’ organised for all age groups to band displays and concerts.
Activities of Central Command
A vast array of events and functions are regularly organized within the Command area. A plethora of activities are being undertaken on a daily basis by the rank and file be it welfare activities of army wives, sports and various adventure activities, aid to civil authorities, protection and conservation of the environment resettlement and post retirement help to ex-servicemen to mention a few.
Army Wives’ Welfare Association
For a soldier to be able to fulfill his responsibilities towards his nation the importance of having his family and near and dear ones well taken care of at all times cannot be overemphasized. A non governmental organization Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA) was established with the aim of all round development and well being of wives and children of Army men.
The ethos of the association is of caring and sharing, and it involves work by women, for women. Its strength lies in the inbuilt bond of love and understanding of a truly integrated family of women who hail from different backgrounds but are bound by the uniqueness of being married to the Olive Green. Welfare measures are focused on women’s empowerment, human resource development and improvement in the quality of life. The main areas of concern are self-betterment, health, educational incentives, vocational training, adult education and awareness, economic independence and socio-legal support and welfare of army wives.
To achieve the aim of the association in adult education various programmes like Nari Shiksha and English and Hindi speaking classes are regularly conducted.
Environmental awareness, improvement of facilities for separated families and the establishment of AWWA ‘Suvidha’ complexes for the improvement of quality of life have also been a part and parcel of ‘AWWA Culture’ of Central Command.
Widowhood is inextricably associated with insecurity and results in the loss of right to full participation in socio-religious life. Central Command AWWA aims at providing the fullest possible help to all widows for their rehabilitation in all spheres, especially legal and financial advice and assistance in job placement.
‘Helping Hand’ camps are organised in remote areas to identify the problems of ex servicemen (ESM) and widows.
AWWA Vocational Training Centres (AVTC) are being run for war widows and their children, as also wives and daughters of serving or retired personnel and offers assistance through numerous useful courses.
One of the most challenging and rewarding works carried out by AWWA is that of providing specialized care for differently abled children. ASHA schools aim to make them self-reliant by developing vocational skills and realizing the latent potential of the children to the fullest degree possible.
Almost all stations provide highly subsidized quality primary education to the tiny tots in AWWA run schools. Children from diverse backgrounds and regions are brought together under one roof. The schools also provide employment to Army wives.
Indeed this organization is a wonderful way of paying back to the Army for all it gives us in abundance.
Sports and adventure activities
In the Central Command the spirit of sportsmanship and adventure has been fostered among all ranks. Mission Olympics was thus initiated with the aim of recruiting and training promising individuals to excel and achieve the highest standards in their chosen fields and to bring national and international acclaim to the country. With a view to catching them young, children showing promise in certain earmarked sports disciplines are selected and given free training at the Army’s expense to fine tune their natural skills and realize their ambition of becoming Olympic medal winners. Central Command has several hopefuls in training at various premier sports institutions around the country. These potential “Olympic Winners” are being trained in keeping with the finest traditions of the Army.
A love of Adventure and the pushing of the human spirit to its very limits has long been an aspect on which the Army has thrived. The vast expanse of the Central Command, stretching from the lofty peaks of the Himalayas to the coastal tracts of Orissa offers new and challenging vistas for the truly adventurous. Adventure sports be it in the form of White Water Rafting, Para gliding, Para sailing, Micro Light flying or Hot Air Ballooning are offered to those personnel of the Central Command that are young at heart and in search of adventure.
Aid to civil authorities
Central Army has time and again proved indispensable in providing aid to civil authorities, be it during natural calamities such as earth–quakes, floods or man made disasters such as fires. In these activities the task forces have unfailingly provided timely assistance in order to minimize casualties to the greatest extent possible. In the recent past the flood ravaged districts of Sagour, Damoh, Chhattarpur & Panna in MP, Banda and Kanpur in UP and Cuttack, Puri, Kendraparah in Orissa were witness to the untiring and timely help rendered by the Army to thousand of displaced and dispossessed individuals. More recently the horrendous Meerut fire tragedy received prompt and speedy help from the Army authorities of Central Command who speedily rushed to the accident site with fire tenders, ambulances, teams of doctors and soldiers to help in evacuation of casualties and rendering of first aid to the needy survivors. This spirit of coming to the assistance of our fellow countrymen in times of need is one of the time tested bond that binds the Army to the nation.
Bomb disposal: Guts, raw courage
Bombs or the improvised Explosive Devices (IED) are increasingly becoming the primary weapons of modern day terrorists. Most of the terrorist related incidents involve use of IEDs at crowded public places because of reduced risk of reprisal, as also relative ease with which these can be planted. The diabolical catastrophe that the damage an IED perpetrates has immense psychological dimensions. An old Chinese proverb goes,” Kill one and frighten ten thousand”.
Bomb Disposal (BD) Company, Central Command has been actively involved in the neutralization and disposal of IEDs besides providing BD security cover to the visiting VVIPs within the jurisdiction of Central Command. The BD Company also works in close coordination with the state authorities, periodically conduction various training courses for state police officials and para military organizations grappling with the naxal and fundamentalist menace.
Ex-servicemen (ESM) Helpline
Every sunrise must be followed by a sunset. Retirement indeed ushers in the sunset of an otherwise active life. Often, enough a slow but sure sense of being ‘adrift and aimless’ sets in. To a soldier who, all along, had led a mentally and physically active life in uniform, life ‘post retirement sans uniform’ is indeed, the ‘beginning of the end’. The ex-servicemen helpline was hence, introduced with the aim of helping ex-servicemen, their widows and dependents in speedy disposal of problems post-retirement. The motto of the helpline ‘let’s walk together’ has indeed set the pace for the ex-servicemen to once again walk away from the twilight of their life back into the sunshine.
Directorate Resettlement Zone
Unlike civilians a servicemen spends a great part of his life as a retired man rather than an active soldier. In fact, he leaves his service at a crucial point in life when in fact his liabilities and family responsibilities are peaking. Towards this end to help him in his post-service life, the Directorate Resettlement Zone (Central) DRZ© co-ordinates the resettlement and training of serving soldiers as also the wards and dependents of retired soldiers. The DRZ is a subordinate office of the Directorate General Resettlement co-located with headquarters Central Command and has a mandate for welfare related rehabilitation activities for retired and war-disabled soldiers, widows and kin of both retired and serving soldiers. Such has been the initiative of the DRZ that it has indeed played a sterling role in bringing a ‘smile and wipng the tears’ of many a needy family of the Armed Forces.
Cleaning, re-greening environment
Guided by the vision statement of the Army Commander to develop Lucknow Cantonment as a model Cantonment, men in Olive Green and their wives have taken it upon themselves the daunting task of cleaning and re-greening the environment. Periodic activities such as shramdaan ensure the participation of men and women irrespective of rank in cleaning up the surroundings. To impart a sense of tranquility and a oneness with nature plantation work is in fact being undertaken on a war-footing with a view to developing Lucknow Cantonment as a model Cantonment. Indeed, for all those possessed with a spirit of oneness with Nature, the next few years promise to transform the Cantonment into an aesthetic delight and the true pride of Avadh.
National Cadet Corps
It is an undeniable fact that the ethos of the Armed Forces is unique in its own way. It transcends all boundaries of communities, factions and religions. The National Cadet Corps (NCC) was formed with a mandate for nurturing and inculcating the those of national unity and integrity in the country’s youth. NCC Directorate of Uttar Pradesh & Uttaranchal are co-located at Lucknow with the responsibility of planning, monitoring and co-ordination of all NCC activities. There are 14 NCC Group Headquarters and 123 NCC Units in Uttar Pradesh & Uttaranchal with total cadet strength of nearly 1.5 lakh. The directorate is, in fact, the largest among the 16 directorates in India.
The NCC aims to develop character, comradeship, discipline, leadership, a secular outlook and a spirit of adventure and selfless service amongst the youth of the country. To this end institutional training camps and adventure training are being imparted to the cadets. Social activities such as blood donation, HIV/AIDS awareness, tree plantation, pulse polio campaigns are routinely being undertaken. Furthermore, each year, selected cadets are sent to foreign countries as ambassadors to interact and share experiences with their foreign counterparts. Such has been the training of these young people that time and again they have displayed the highest sense of duty in protecting the security and territorial integrity of the motherland and rising to the call of their countrymen in times of natural or manmade disasters.
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