INTERACTION WITH SPARROW (15 AUG 2015)
Aaj ke swatantrata diwas pe, phir yaad kiya ek Dil ne ek Dil ko…..Aur kya Dil thha wo !, Sher-e-Dil…Zoji La Sher ka….Ek Bharat ma ke Veer ka….jise ek nahi do bar, jee haan do bar Maha Vir Chakra se sammanit kiya gaya…Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen he was a living legend MVC and Bar.
After my Grad from MSU Baroda(1978), I was in Jullandhar Cantt for a year, prior to joining Navy. I was teaching in a private college in the City, where I used to pedal to and fro on a bicycle. I got a chance to meet and interact with Gen Sparrow,MVC and Bar (Retd), who was provided a Govt Bunglow in Cantt. He requested me to impart tuitions to his grand children of St Lawrence Sanawar, who had come on leave. Gen sparrow wanted me to join the Army and directed me to Brig Sidhu, his neighbour for guidance. I cleared my CDS and Allahabad SSB and was to join IMA in Jun ’79, call letter in hand. 10 days to go, I received a telegram from NHQ for an option to join Navy as Avn cadet entry and to report Varanasi for PABT…Destiny rewritten !!
This Independence Day Eve, I pay my tributes and gratitude to the Zoji La Tiger, Gen Sparrow, under whose guidance and blessings I joined the Navy… My perfect Naval Salute to a Brave son of India. JAI HIND !!
Maj Gen Rajinder Singh (3 October 1911- May 1994), as per Wikipedia, was an Indian Army’s Brave officer and a two time member of the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Indian parliament. He was nicknamed 'Sparrow'.
He served in the ranks of the Indian Army from 3 October 1932 to 31 January 1938. Attended the Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun. Commissioned onto the Unattached List, Indian Army 1 February 1938. Spent the next year attached to a British Army regiment, then admitted to the Indian Army and joined the 7th Light Cavalry 24 February 1939. Promoted Lieutenant 30 April 1939. He served during World War II.
He was awarded two Mahavir Chakras, the second highest military decoration in India, first for his role during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, for outstanding leadership during the advance and capture of Jhangar. and later for displaying gallantry in the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war. During the 1965 war he was GOC of the 1st Armoured Division.
In 1948, Pakistani invaders occupied the 11000 ft high Zoji La Pass. It was found difficult to dislodge them. Major General K S Thimayya, DSO decided to send tanks to surprise the enemy. Lt. Col. Rajinder Singh, CO of 7th Light Cavalry achieved the unique task of taking his tanks on the pass in spite of overwhelming odds. The enemy was completely surprised and abandoned the pass. This was a record of highest altitude for employment to tanks. Lt. Col Rajinder Singh was awarded M V C.
During the Pakistan aggression in 1965 Maj Gen Rajinder Singh Sparrow was General Officer Commanding I Armoured Division. As a result of his brilliant handling of the Division, Pakistani Armoured Corps, pride of Pakistan Army was defeated. Major General Rajinder Singh got a bar to his Maha Vir Chakra.
Held the appointment of regimental Colonel of the 7th Light Cavalry from July 1959 to July 1969. After retirement he joined politics and became minister in the short lived Gurnam Singh ministry in 1967. Later he was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1980 and 1985 from Jalandhar constantuency as a candidate of Indian National Congress. The Brave son of India breathed his last in May 1994, at the age of 83.
The song that needs dedication to the Zoji La Tiger, has to be a toofani song……To me it appears that He is himself singing the Himalayan number……This wonderful song is written by Neeraj and sung enthusiastically by Rafi & Manna Dey on the soulful beats of SDB…. Amen.