"Army Honours its Glorified Veterans"
To bestow honour upon its veterans has been a tradition of the Indian Army. In a simple function held at Jalandhar Cantonment on August 6, 2016, General Officer Commanding Vajra Corps, Lt Gen JS Cheema, dedicated various landmarks in the names of war heroes and sports veterans. The function was attended by veteran hockey players and senior veterans of Jalandhar City, as well as from nearby places.
The prominent Gate to Jalandhar Cantt near Rama Mandi Chowk has been named as 'Harbaksh Dwar'. It was inaugurated by Lt Gen MS Bhullar (Retd), former Colonel of the Sikh Regiment. It was Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh who led the Western Command to victory in 1965 Indo-Pak war thereby thwarting Pak designs to annex Kashmir. The road leading from the Harbaksh Dwar has been named as 'Rajindar Singh Sparrow Road', to honour the legendary Maj Gen RS Sparrow, MVC and Bar, The road was inaugurated by his sons Lt Gen MS Shergill and TS Shergill. Lt Col RS Sparrow then Commanding 7 CAV was awarded MVC in 1947 – 48 for taking the tanks upto Zojilla Pass and pushing back the Pak infiltrators. In the 1965 Indo-Pak war Maj Gen RS Sparrow, then GOC 1 Armd Div took the battle into Pak territory in the Shakargarh Bulge and was awarded MVC and Bar. His sons then young Captain and Lieutenant also fought the war in Khemkaran Sector.
Other roads named were, Lt Gen JS Dhillon Road, who was the Corps Commander of Vajra Corps in 1965 and Vikram Batra Road named after Capt Vikram Batra, PVC who evicted the Pakistani soldiers from Kargil heights in the 1999 Kargil conflict. The road leading to Hari Pal Kaushik Sports Complex has been named as 'Dhyan Chand Road' after the legendary hockey wizard Maj Dhyan Chand. It was inaugurated by Col (Retd) Balbir Singh Kular renowned hockey player and native of Jalandhar. One of the living accommodation of JCOs/OR has been named as 'Sanjay Vihar' after Rifleman Sanjay Kumar, who was awarded the PVC in Kargil operations.
The Sports Complex of Vajra Officers Institute has been christened as 'Hari Pal Kaushik Sports Complex'. The complex was dedicated by none other than the legendary 82 yrs old Lieutenant Colonel (Retd) Hari Pal Kaushik, Veer Chakra (VrC) himself. Host of prominent hockey players, mainly from the Sikh Regiment to include Lieutenant General (Retd) MS Bhullar, Major General (Retd) Trilochan Singh, Brigadier (Retd) HJS Chimni, Brigadier (Retd) IS Gakhal, Colonel (Retd) RS Cheema and Colonel (Retd) Balbir Singh Kular were present on the occasion. It is worth mentioning that Lt Col Hari Pal Kaushik, is the only officer of the Indian Army who has been honoured with VrC for his act of Gallantry in 1962 war with China and Arjuna Award for representing the country in three Olympics i.e. in 1956, 1960 and 1964, winning Gold, Silver and Gold medal, respectively. It was a befitting tribute to the living legend.
Also honoured on the occasion were Mrs Salinder Kaur w/o Late Sub Maj Makhan Singh who won a Gold and a Silver in Athletics at Jakarta Asian Games in 1962 and had beaten legendary Milkha Singh in 1962 National Games in Kolkata. His wife Mrs Salinder Kaur was presented with a cheque of Rs 1,00,000/- by the Zonal President Vajra AWWA Mrs Anupvir Kaur. Havaldar Virender Singh of 5011 ASC Battalion and Sepoy Ramudri Someswara Rao of 11 Madras Regiment were honoured with cash prize of Rs 50,000/- each by GOC Vajra Corps. Hav Virendra Singh has qualified for Rio Paralympics Games to be held in Brazil and will participate in Javelin and Shortput events. Sepoy Ramudri Someswara Rao is a blade runner and has represented Services at National level para athletic championship winning Gold in 100 mtr.
It was an apt and befitting tribute to the war veterans and sports icon of the Indian Army.
- PK Sharma