Wednesday 31 July 2019

Sailing Through Life – On a Happy Journey’  

The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but significance, and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.– Oprah Winfrey 

        Every Veteran’s Life is an Epic to be narrated to the younger generation. Radm GC Thadani has come forward to reveal the inspiring story of his Life with a flashback in Time from his incipient childhood in Sindh where he grew up,  to have risen to the tall stature of an Admiral of the Indian Navy in the mid-80s in our Independent  India.  

                 Indeed it was an honour and privilege for  Meena and I to have been invited by the Admiral for the launch of wonderful memoirs of his life in the form of an illustrated hardbound book ‘Sailing Through Life – On a Happy Journey’. The book was released in ‘CK Naidu’ Hall of the CCI club at Nariman Point at 1700 hrs on Tuesday 30 Jul 19, three days prior to the Admiral's 89th Birthday. Adm Vijai Shekhawat, our former CNS with his good lady Mrs Binu Shekhawat graced the occasion as the Chief Guest, while the Guest of honour was VAdm S Naithani, our present DGNP. Senior  veteran officers  VAdm IC Rao, VAdm  Bharat Bhushan, VAdm SKK Krishnan,  RAdm DN Thukral (with their good ladies), Cdr Vijay Vadhera Secy NFMC and Veer Nari Mrs Kanta Mukherjee graced the book launch event.   A few other Senior Naval officers and Veterans were also invited.  Adm Thadani's close relatives had flown down from the US of A for the auspicious occasion.  

          The programme commenced  with the felicitations of Adm VS Shekhawat and VAdm S Naithani on stage by the Author  RAdm GC Thadani. The Master of Ceremony, Dimple his beautiful daughter spoke about her dynamic, brilliant, noble and inspiring Dad. Adm Thadani spoke about his Life’s memoirs and acknowledged the contribution of various inspiring persons in his Life and in the making of the Book. VAdm Bharat Bhushan, VAdm IC Rao, Adm VS Shekhawat and VAdm S Naithani spoke about their Naval association with RAdm Thadani.

       Adm Thadani very cheerfully inscribed unique uplifting remarks and initialled each and every book for his guests even as we met and greeted all the senior veterans and their charming ladies. It was a grand event that inspired many of us to write a book. Contribution of the Editor Chaya Srivatsa is noteworthy for having brought out a super quality illustr├átive book of the Adm's Life. Kudos to her.


         Adm Thadani was born on 03 Aug 1930 in Hyderabad, Sindh (now Pakistan) in a highly respected Sindhi business community. After his primary education in Hyderabad, the family shifted to New Delhi in 1940. The memoirs cover his life in Delhi in the early 40s and he describes vividly the aftermath of Partition in 1947, the largest ever migration of refugees, the Hindu-Muslim riots & massacres that history had witnessed. The Adm accomplished his High School from St Columba’s School and moved on to St Stephen’s College prior to joining BHU for engineering. His destiny directed him to join the Indian Navy in 1949. For the Cadets training, he was sent to Dartmouth College, HMS Devonshire, UK. After his midshipman’s tenure onboard HMS Triumph he joined Manadon, Plymouth for Marine Engineering. Having successfully completed his Engineering specialisation in 1956, he was posted to 4 Coastal Minesweepers as a Technical Officer. 

        During his Naval career, Adm Thadani served in the ships of both Eastern and Western Commands, Naval Headquarters and 3 tenures in Naval Dockyards. His last Sea appointment was  E.O. INS Amba. During the 1971 War, the Adm was Command Engineering Officer, ENC and was awarded VSM for his contribution during the War.  The Adm was a member of  Dockyard Maintenance Team that was deputed to Russia in 1966 to acquire the Repair and Maintenance Technology for Submarines and Petya class Ships that were being inducted. He was a Pioneer in the transfer of Technology and technical implementation of our Navy’s programme of new acquisition of Ships and Submarines.  Adm Thadani had a long stint in Russia and Poland as the Dy Naval Attache.  His last appointment was Director General Naval Projects  Mumbai. Post-retirement  in Aug 1987, the Admiral was appointed Captain Commandant of the Engineering branch.       

         Admiral  Thadani’s memoirs depict our way of life in the Navy during the mid-’50s, an Era when Navy was shaping up and hard-work together with responsibilities were ingrained into officers at a comparatively younger age. The book also captures the Adm’s Life from a holistic perspective, sharing intimate accounts of family relationships and the social bonhomie of our fine Indian Navy of yesteryears.  


      We were among the last few to depart. I warmly shook hands with Adm Thadani congratulating him for bringing out a high-quality Autobiography and profusely thanked him for having invited us for this Grand Occasion. Even as I set course for our Borivali home these words pepped up my morale to write a book, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.". , I immediately took that single first step. I have chosen the Title, "Pebbles on the Beach",  following the lead from RAdm Thadani, Cmde MV Suresh (S/M), Capt Mohan Ram (NC), Cdr Sareshth Kumar (P) who have already stepped into the literary world with multiple books..... Jai Hind.






About the Author

Commander Rajinder Dutta (Retd) has been a Naval Pilot and a Qualified Flying Instructor with about 3000 hrs of flying on various fixed wing Aircraft of Indian Navy, viz HT-2, HPT-32, Kirans, Islander, Super Connie, Fokker F-27 and IL-38.

 He is a Master of Ceremonies and a blogger.


Friday 26 July 2019


The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.      

                -- George Washington

            The sanctity of our Battlefields, War monuments and military history need to be preserved and propagated to the younger generation by our Veterans who are the true light-houses of our society. To commemorate Vijay Diwas the following Veteran’s volunteered for Kargil Day Pep Talks in Schools of Mumbai, on request by NFMC Secy and as desired by WNC.

a) Cdr Shailendra Sharma – NCS Colaba (26Jul)

b) Cdr Vineet Wason – KV No-1 Colaba (26Jul)

c) Cdr Rakesh Jaggi - KV Mankhurd (26Jul)

d) Cdr GC Rai – KV No-2 Colaba (25Jul)

e) Cdr Abhishek Kankan – KV No-3 Colaba (25 Jul)

f) LtCdr Rajeshwari Kori – KV Karanja (25 Jul)

g) Cdr Rajinder Dutta – Vidya Vikasini, Vasai (25 Jul)


           The motivational clips were shared on NFMC Committee Whatsapp group by Cdr V Vadhera, Secy NFMC for the Veterans to prepare their talk. The Pep-talk photos are attached below.

                I contacted Reverend Br Wilfred, the Principal of St Francis Borivali for the Kargil Day Pep-talk in their School. Br Wilfred mentioned that he desired to invite me for the School’s Independence Day celebrations and connected me to his colleague Br Jose Malana, Principal of Vidya Vikasini, Vasai. Br Jose had organised a cultural program by students on the Kargil theme at 1100 hrs on 25 Jul and extended an invitation to me and Meena a week prior and we had been intently looking forward to the School’s Propitious ceremony. Morning on the D Day we were driving up north over the Ghordbandar Bridge towards Vasai. While Meena was looking elegant in her Brown Khadi suit, I in my NFMC Veteran Blazer was behind the wheel. We reached the School at 1030 hrs and were pleasantly greeted by the Principal, Reverend Br Jose at the School gate and escorted to his Office. We had pleasant interaction while the children were being lined-up to the Auditorium for the show. Br Jose had spent his early childhood in the beautiful greenery of Kottayam adjoining the Vembanad Lake of Kerela. After his Schooling, he shifted to Bangalore in the early 80s for graduation followed by St Xaviers Mumbai for BEd before embarking in the field of Education. On the hour we were informed of the readiness and proceeded to the Auditorium. The band lined up either side of the hall entrance played the welcome tune as the smartly dressed student Guides saluted and escorted us. As we reached the entrance, a lady Teacher pinned a welcome brooch on our collars. I shook hands with each of the band members with genuine appreciation. We were overwhelmed by a standing ovation by students in the house full Auditorium. Ms Sapna the program coordinator introduced me to the audience before the commencement of a scintillating cultural programme on the theme ‘Kargil’. The first item was the oath-taking followed by a Group song, A skit ‘Coffee with Karan’ that was an interview of a Kargil Soldier. Dance Drama performance by students enacting the buildup, obstacle courses (BPT) and conquest of the Tiger hill. An act on ‘Sandese aate hain’. The coordinated music added to the effects to raise once goose-pimples. Kudos to the students for the stupendous performance and salutes to the Teachers who guided them during the rehearsals, viz. Ms Elizabeth Ashley, Ms Sapna Mahajan, Ms Sweeta Ghoshal and Ms Linnet Britto.

           I commenced my talk with a short story of my induction into the Indian Navy as a Pilot, followed by the reasons of the Kargil intrusions and the role of Army, Air Force and Navy in the Kargil War. It was followed by the recent release of 8 mins clip on 20th Anniv of Vijay Diwas in Amitabh Bachchan’s deep baritone. I returned to the stage to motivate the students for the Armed Forces and was overwhelmed to see that the majority of students’ lifted up their hands for this noble profession.        I then, on behalf of NFMC, called upon the Principal Br Jose to accept a small Memento (a Sea-cap) of my last NCC unit, amongst a huge round of applause from his students and teachers. After a Gp Photo with the coordinating teachers Br Jose escorted us out.

          Br Jose took us on a walk-round of the School including the playgrounds. The School has won quite a few international awards for excellence in education. I found the students’ discipline of a high order. The Principal accompanied us for a delectable Biryani lunch in his office. He escorted us back to our car with an open invitation to this school on any future date. We warmly shook hands as I set course to Borivali, after a stupendous memorable day at Vidya Vikasini School.

       While I was driving back to Borivali, my eyes were moist for the 527 Sons of India that we lost in Kargil and these words were repeatedly playing in my mind,  

Shaheedon ki Chitaon par har baras lagenge Mele, 

Watan pe mitne walon ka yahi aakhri Nisaan hoga….

Jai Hind !

20th Anniv  of Kargil Vijay Diwas, click link below 

About the Author
     Commander Rajinder Dutta (Retd 2014) has been a Naval Pilot and a Qualified Flying Instructor with about 3000 hrs of flying on various fixed wing Aircraft of Indian Navy, viz HT-2, HPT-32, Kirans, Islander, Super-Connie, Fokker F-27 and IL-38. 

He is a   trainer for SSB aspirants, Master of Ceremonies and a Blogger.