• Testing Times

    BACKGROUND INFORMATION At the beginning of the Sri Lankan Civil War, the militant organisation— Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)— who wanted a separate state for Tamils in North/ East Sri Lanka, caused havoc in the country. The Sri Lankan parties were not able to reach a clear solution. On the Sri Lankan government's request, the Indian government under Rajiv Gandhi assumed a mediation role. India, because of a large number of Tamils in the southern part of the country, and also to avoid…

  • Chants of Independence

    We often hear and talk about the bravery of soldiers, salute them for their unconditional devotion towards the nation. The sacrifices made by their families, relocating with them every other year to unknown places or those staying away from their loved ones, touch hearts. Whenever we meet the “Fauji” or their families, our eyes glitter with pride. This is the story of one such family. But unfortunately, instead of pride, they witnessed suspicion and doubts from onlookers. In her eyes I saw the p…

  • Straight Into Action

    It was September 1970, when I was a young cadet undergoing training at the National Defence Academy (NDA). We began hearing about the huge influx of refugees from East Pakistan into our Eastern States. On passing out of NDA, I was sent to the Indian Military Academy at Dehradun for advanced training and was subsequently commissioned on 14th November 1971, as a young second Lieutenant into the Jat Regiment (Infantry) of the Indian Army. The Jat Regiment is well known for its acts of valour and ga…

  • Story of a True Khalsa

    In the chilling night of December at an altitude of 12,000 feet, he was lying next to a tall Chinar Tree, bleeding profusely. Already been hit with four bullets in his abdomen, he was barely able to breathe. Though the accompanying nursing assistant had already given him morphine and first aid, it seemed difficult to ascertain that he would survive until the helicopter came to pick him up. As per the old saying, whenever a person is at his death bed, the entirety of his life appears in front of …

  • Prelude to Soldiering

    On 2nd January 1981, I joined my first unit, 20 PUNJAB in Arunachal Pradesh. I had joined straightway from Indian Military Academy (IMA). I was about one week old in the unit, when I was asked to meet the Commanding Officer in his office. As per his orders, I was to lead a patrol party to ascertain the condition of a route from Dirang to the Bhutan border. This was likely one of the routes which the ‘Trans Himalayan Expedition Team’ could undertake. The team, other than me, consisted of one JCO …

  • My First Rendezvous with Bullets

    As desired and expected in 1996, after completing my Army training, I was posted to Kashmir as a young Indian Army Officer. In the academy we use to hear about causalities in terrorism-related operations and the tense situation there. In fact, my roommate— Vivek Sajwan, a dear buddy— and I both got posted to Kashmir. As cadets under training, we used to joke around with each other on who would get martyred first amongst the two of us. In the first two years of my service, I had opportunities to …

  • A Journey Through Zojila Pass

    On a short leave in late September 1984 was when I had to pass over Zoji La to reach my home. It turned out to be one of the most dreadful experiences in my life. At Kargil— where I was posted then— we had been experiencing bad weather since the past two days. Excitement to reach home was very high. Seven months had passed since I had gone home on my previous leave. It was a hard-earned leave. Relief to replace me had taken more time than usual due to the shortage of suitable officers at the uni…

  • Bonded for Life

    A woman becomes a mother when she has a child to call her own. The mother thereafter, takes pride in every achievement of the child, big or small, throughout life. Her children forever remain special to her. A flying instructor is almost comparable to a mother, in this aspect. A pilot in the Air Force becomes an instructor when he has his pupils. A true-blue instructor will always take pride in each of his pupil’s achievements. When the fraternity compliments his pupils, the instructor’s heart s…

  • Painful Yet Proud Memories

    It's not easy being an Army wife! It dawned upon me, when, after two wonderful years of parties, outings, picnics and enjoyment, he went for a field posting. Eighteen years ago, life wasn't as convenient and as well-connected as the internet and cell phones have enabled it to be. A few routine phone calls and long, meaningful letters added a peculiar charm to life, which otherwise could have been painfully long and desperate for an army wife. While he was away, I kept myself busy by pursuing my …

  • The Grass is Greener on the Other Side

    Lt. Sanjay would remember the long march on the Siachen glacier for the rest of his life. Early morning on a cold January day, he was climbing up to his post— an icy ridge at 21,000 ft. He could feel the biting cold chill his bones as he trudged along the icy path. The strong winds had churned up the snow all around, thus he could hardly see the ghostly figure walking just a few feet ahead of him, to whom he was roped up. The temperature was close to -40°C, although Sanjay had no means of knowin…


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