MAIDEN INDIAN VETERANS DAY PARADE
The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any WAR, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier Wars were treated and appreciated by their Nation. – GENERAL GEORGE WASHINGTON
A VETERAN IS SOMEONE WHO AT ONE POINT IN HIS LIFE WRITTEN A BLANK CHEQUE PAYABLE TO HIS NATION FOR AN AMOUNT UPTO AND INCLUDING HIS LIFE. HIS OATH OF ENLISTMENT HAS NO EXPIRY DATE.
WE ALL HAVE EARNED THE TITLE VETERAN WITH OUR BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS. AND THE BEST PART IS THAT IT CAN NEITHER BE INHERITED NOR CAN IT BE PURCHASED FROM ANY MARKET IN THE WORLD.
THE ONLY THING TOUGHER THAN A VETERAN IS HIS BETTER HALF, WHO INDEED IS FORTUNATE TO LIVE, WALK AND BREATHE AMONG THE BRAVEST OF HEROES.
History is replete with examples of an event happening for the first time at any place and time, going into the annals of history, creating sweet memories for the Gen-next. One such historic event that shall be cherished by our country for times to come, was held on 12 Jan 2020 on the promenade of Marine Drive, Mumbai – The first-ever Veterans Day Parade in India. An event worthy of emulation by not only the other Navy Foundation Chapters but also the foundations of Army and Air Force pan India.
The concept of the Veterans Day (originally known as Armistice Day), dates back to 11 Nov 1919, when U.S. President Woodrow Wilson issued a message to his countrymen on the first Armistice Day, in which he expressed what the day meant to the Americans and honoured the Military Veterans of WW-I. Every year on November 11th at exactly 1100 hrs local time, every train in America and Canada comes to a standstill to observe a minute’s silence, followed by One Long Whistle, in memory of those who served in their military. Similarly, every year on 25 Apr since 1942, Australia & New Zealand have been celebrating the ANZAC day as their National day of reverence. The ANZAC DAY Parade is held every year in Australia in honour of the martyrs and Veterans of Australia, New Zealand and British India who landed in Gallipoli on 25 Apr 1942. In the UK it’s called ‘Remembrance Day’ and held on 11th Nov every year. In Germany, it is known as ‘Volistrauertag Day’ and held on closest Sunday to 16th Nov every year. In the Netherlands , it is called ‘Dodenherdenking Day’ and held on 04th May every year. These countries have been celebrating the Veterans day on their prominent dates since long, but the concept in India is just taking roots.
A need was felt to dedicate a Day for our Veterans due to two primary reasons: One - to honour them; Two – to resolve the problems faced by them after retirement. Four years ago, It was decided by the Army Headquarters and instructions were issued to all Sainik Welfare departments in the country to observe 14 Jan as the Veterans Day, the day when the first Commander-in-Chief of Indian Army, Field Marshal KM Cariappa, OBE, who led the Indian forces to Victory in 1947 War, hung his uniform in 1953.
VETERANS DAY 2019
In Sep 2018 Cdr Vijay Vadhera, Secy NFMC (Now President of NFMC) conceived a plan to celebrate the Veterans Day 2019 in a befitting manner and briefed VAdm Girish Luthra FOCinC (West).
A three-pronged approach was devised to make our citizens aware of the importance of Veterans Day. One- to Advertise through Print and Broadcast media. Two- to put up huge Banners at prominent places in the city like Petrol-pumps, Railway-stations and Road-Junctions. Three- motivational lectures by Veterans during the week preceding V Day in 10 prominent schools of Mumbai, highlighting the capability and performance of our Armed forces and the Veterans’ contribution to our Society.
Sponsorship was sought by Cdr Vadhera from prominent business houses for putting-up advertisement in major dailies on the 14 Jan. Cdrs Abhishek Kankan and LtCdr Farookh Tarapore were interviewed on Doordarshan & Cdrs Shailender Sharma and Rajinder Dutta were aired on Rainbow FM on Veterans Day with a repeat broadcast in the evening. Large Banners were designed by Veterans, manufactured by MDL and put up by Headquarters at prominent spots in Mumbai for a week preceding the V Day. A few veterans contributed articles to ‘Fauji India’ Magazine for Jan 2019, that was a Veterans’ special issue.
The festivities of the Veterans Day commenced with Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Colaba War Memorial, which was attended by a substantial number of serving and retired personnel, including Adm VS Shekhawat, former CNS and other senior officers of all three services. Thereafter all veterans and serving personnel of the three services assembled at Sailors institute SAGAR and interacted with each other over tea and light refreshments. The CinC personally met and discussed issues with veteran sailors and Jawans over a cup of tea.
VETERANS DAY 2020
This year Cdr Vijay Vadhera, President NFMC had planned to celebrate it on a grander scale. Since its a fairly new concept, it was paramount to create awareness amongst Mumbaikars about the Veterans Day. To meet this objective the Western Naval Command had put up 35 banners and posters at prominent places in our city like Rly stns, Petrol pumps, Road Junctions. Capt Rakesh Agrawala and Cdr Raj Dutta were interviewed on AIR Fm Rainbow Radio that was broadcast for an hour at 11 am on the Veterans Day, 14 Jan. We had conducted a C-in-C XI Vs Veterans XI Cricket tournament on 05 Jan, that was won by Veterans by 7 Wkts. Besides a J-24 boat race between Veterans and serving officers of WNC was also conducted on 08 Jan 2020, won by the Serving Officers Team. (For both these Championships Rolling Trophies had been instituted by NFMC). Veterans Officers have imparted motivational lectures in the Schools of Mumbai in Early Jan. The ‘Fauji India’ magazine has dedicated the Jan 2020 issue to the ‘Veterans’ and has published articles by them.
VETERANS DAY PARADE
In mid-Dec 2019, Cdr Vijay Vadhera had been watching the ANZAC Day Parade and hit upon a novel idea to conduct a Veterans Day Parade in Mumbai. He immediately took consensus of the Naval Fraternity both Serving and Veterans and the result was a resounding affirmation, although there were some apprehensions from some quarters due paucity of time for planning and organisation. The initial route conceived was from Shikra to Dockyard. Meena had seen Schools conducting march on the Promenade of Marine drive and it was finalized by the NFMC Committee to conduct the Parade on Marine Drive on the morning of Sunday 12 Jan 2020 from NCPA to the Princess Street Flyover. Cdr Vijay Vadhera sought the blessings of the C-in-C met the Mumbai Police Commissioner, Mr Sanjay Barve, who not only agreed to provide full security and a platoon of Police commandos and Police Band but stood up and saluted Cdr Vadhera in respect and reverence. Cdr Vadhera then approached Hon. Cmde Rabi Ahuja at TS Jawahar, who was most forthcoming and detailed 200 cadets including a 50 member band to accompany the Parade. He then met Dir NCC, Cmde Balakrishnan, who detailed 50 cadets from 1 NU NCC along with 2 Canters and other logistics arrangements., AVM Hora, AOC MAO, provided his Jeep for President NFMC. WNC provided 2 Buses to convey the Veterans back from the Finish Point to NCPA (Start point of the Parade). Cdr Vadhera had been to his 37th-course gettogether at NDA celebrating the Golden Jubilee of their course and the POP of 137th NDA course. There he mentioned about the Veterans Day Parade plan to Lt Gen Baljit Jaswal. The Gen told his friend, Mr Arnab Goswami, to cover the Parade at Marine drive live. Mr Arnab Goswami, who has great regards for the Armed Force readily consented. A press release was made in trilingual (English, Hindi and Marathi) and handed out to the journalists arriving at the venue. The Defence and Navy PRO also advertised the event in media for extensive visibility. A detailed message to all Veteran forums was promulgated for the Parade at NCPA at 0830 followed by a closing ceremony with Breakfast for all participants that was sponsored by Krasny Defence Technologies Pvt Ltd. NFMC is indebted to all these agencies who have supported for the success of the Veterans Day Parade. We are also indebted to Republic TV, Times Now, ANI and Press for a wide coverage of the event.
THE D DAY- 12 JAN 2020
There was great Bonhomie at the Nariman point from 7 O’clock on the morning of 12 Jan 2020. Hon. Cmde Rabi Ahuja was himself present with his smart contingent of 200 SCC Boys and Girls. Veterans started flocking in their Ceremonial Blazers with medals along with their Good ladies in best attire for the event that had been unprecedented. The most sort after Event conceptualised by Cdr Vijay Vadhera, President NFMC, the Veterans Day Parade was going to be executed for the Nation to applaud. The contingents were formed up behind the SCC/ NCC cadets. At sharp 0830 LtCdr Farokh Tarapore on his loud hailer commenced execution of the Parade, amidst cheer by the onlookers, who had gathered in large numbers. In front were two columns of 150 SCC and 50 Naval NCC cadets on the flanks. They were followed by the 50 well-attired cadets forming the SCC band. The Parade was led by President of NFMC Cdr Vijay Vadhera followed by Octogenarians RAdm Arun Auditto and Capt Raj Mohindra on Wheel Chairs. The first contingent behind them Gallantry awardees of all three services followed by the well-represented NFMC Veteran officers contingent. Behind them were the Veterans Sailors of the Indian Navy. An entire 1/90 batch of Chilka engineering mechanics had joined us. Veteran Sailors contingent was followed by the Army and Air Force Veterans contingent. The contingent of 50 masked Police commandos carrying their arms marched behind the Veterans. Republic TV interviewed Cdr Vadhera on the move. As the entire Parade briskly walked smilingly amidst the martial music being played by the cadets’ band, one could see the Josh amongst the spectators moving along with the parade shouting ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ ‘Armed Forces ki Jai’….There was emotive revelry in the Air over the Queens Necklace. Never in the History of time, such an event had occurred on this Soil. Two drones had been hired to film the maiden Parade of Veterans, from low altitude.
After about 40 mins of proud march by the Veterans, Cadets and Commandos, the Parade reached the Princess Street Flyover, where the Police Band played some wonderful sonorous melodious numbers and patriotic songs. Breakfast packets were distributed to all. VAdm R Pendharkar, FOMA was the Chief Guest for the occasion, who came and congratulated the Veterans and the participants. Cdr Vijay Vadhera addressed the gathering and brought out the relevance of this Parade and thanked all agencies instrumental in the grand success of this grandiose event. He mentioned that the ultimate aim of Veterans Day Parade 2020 is to make this auspicious event Viral amongst all the various Veterans foundations nationally to create awareness about the Veterans amongst our countrymen.
PERSONAL MESSAGES FROM VETERANS
Cmde Aspi Marker was the only Proud Veteran to be donning his Fathers Medals on his Right Chest and his own on the Left (PIC Below). He said, “My father late Gp Capt DM Marker joined d Army as a young Lt, in 1944 n was commissioned into d Second Battalion of the Mahar Regt as d Regimental Medical Officer. He then was shifted to the Royal Indian Air Force, in 1946. In the rank of Wg Cdr, he Commanded No 7 Air Force Hospital Kanpur. In the rank of Gp Capt, during d 1971 Indo Pak War, he Commanded No 5 Air Force Hospital Jorhat. He retired in 1974, after 29 years of meritorious service n settled in Mhow. My younger brother Wg Cdr Merzi Marker from G Batch AFMC was commissioned into d IAF, in 1974 as a doctor. He has retired n settled in Bangalore. Little known is that in 1974 all three of us were serving.”—Cmde Aspi Marker (Veteran)
Thank you very much for organizing this much-desired & much-awaited event in the city of Mumbai. Considering this March was organised for the first time in the city and in India, I believe it was extremely well managed & conducted. What impressed me as a participant in this March was the spontaneous enthusiasm from the spectators & bystanders, including little children. The waving and clapping of hands with big smiles of appreciation on their faces made each one of us proud of being a Veteran. This high lights the fact that every Indian is proud & appreciative of the Armed Forces but unfortunately lacks the forum to express themselves. Maybe we need to take this further. As I had said earlier, Let us together take our footprints beyond the murals of our own confines. I had personally requested Wg Cdrs Wadia & Chatterjee to come for this March. They had no info on this. I requested them to join in with us. A very well organised & conducted the event, considering we were doing it for the first time…. Regards & God bless, — Cmde Medioma Bhada (Veteran Fighter Pilot)
Yesterday there was an impressive march by the veterans on Marine Drive. The naval band and the police band was in attendance and a huge crowd of civilians and well-wishers cheered us on. It was, indeed, heartening to see love and appreciation for the armed forces. There was also a large contingent of Sea Cadets and police lining the road. The media was also present…..— Capt Minoo Wadia.
Dawn of a new era in the history of veterans in India.
The pioneer of this mission is NFMC Mumbai. A noble mission worth following by all NFC. A mission to awaken the spirit of civilians towards military veterans. – Cdr Arokia Samy (Veteran Submariner)
Veteran Parade was a very noble idea... very well planned & executed. I think it was an idea whose time had come....the enthusiasm & overwhelming response says it all. A great Occasion for the veterans to showcase their service to the nation in full regalia & pomp and remind everyone that veterans are still a force to reckon with. A wonderful initiative and a very well conducted event which leaves good memories for the future......... Cmde Sanjiv Raj Kapur (Veteran)
The Veterans Day celebrated this morning on the Marine Drive was a phenomenal success. It was very inspiring to see a large number of citizens gathered on both sides shouting slogans in praise of the Defence Services of India. One senior citizen walking on the parapet and keeping pace with the marchers could be heard shouting “We love our Armed Forces”. At the end of the parade, there was an incessant and never-ending shouting of ‘Vande Mataram’, ‘Bharat Maya Ki Jai”
This was symptomatic of the love and admiration of the citizens of Mumbai for the men and women of the Armed Forces of India. Obviously, this had been bubbling in their mind for a long time and it came to the fore with full strength and vigour at the first opportunity provided to them by the Navy Foundation, Mumbai Charter.
While at one end were the Veterans, at the other were the splendid Sea Cadet Corps - representing the youth of India. Their performance was excellent!
What is particularly impressive is that the Managing Committee of the Mumbai Charter, under the able leadership of its President was able to organise this event so successfully in a short span of time and with meagre resources at their command. Three cheers for the Managing Committee!
We hope that the Mumbai Charter will continue to organise this even in the future with the same gusto and spirit. Best wishes --Capt Raj Mohindra, (Veteran)
Good.Just tremendous participation of the veterans.As it should be.
It was just amazing the atmosphere. One could feel the patriotic fervour of the veterans.I am so glad I could participate in this major event
Kudos to Vijay and to you and your team- RAdm Arun Auditto (Veteran)
We Veterans of Thane appreciate that the Veteran's parade was well organized and excellently executed by NFMC. I am proud to be a participant in the first organized Veteran's parade at Marine Drive, Mumbai on 12 Jan 2020 by the President NFMC. We all Veterans actively, enthusiastically and cheerily taken part in the Parade ceremony. The parade was watched by the public. This event also given vide publicity by the media TV channel. I felt that the defence, Armed Forces authorities have given a vide thought on the importance of arranging Veteran's parade in the context of the situation prevailing at present in our Country. It is morale boosting to the Veterans and public awareness. The defence of the country is of paramount importance. Our present Armed Forces are fully capable of meeting any challenge yet Veterans can prove very useful as a reserved force. I hope that Veterans first parade is just beginning in this direction. Veterans with their defence services experience have instinct field of vision, virtues of discipline, obedience, teamwork and co-operation can play any role as required by our defence, Armed Forces. Now also we can devote our services to the nation when it needs. I thank you, Sir and your organising authority for making Veteran's Parade a grand success.
We Veterans will ensure maximum attendance in the next Veterans Day or any activities organized by the President NFMC.--GP Patil MCPOR (Tel) II
Armed Forces VETERAN DAY was organised by the NAVY FORMATION MUMBAI CHAPTER(NFMC) on 12th Jan 2020 at Marine Drive. A first-ever Veterans Day Parade was attended by Gallantry Award Winners, Veterans from Army, Navy & Airforce, Cadets from SCC, NCC, band from SCC & Mumbai police. The parade commenced at 0830h from NCPA with bands in lead followed by cadets, their platoon, veterans marching on the band tunes, waving hands to spectators along the Marine drive till Princess Flyover. It was a splendid view of the Marine Drive. Veterans from VSF were present n participated in large strength. An event was covered by media. Address by FOMA and meeting with veterans at the end. We the veteran members of VSF feel proud and thankful to the organisers from NFMC for coordinating this grand event. – Hon Lt Dattaji Rao S Nalawade
During my surprise interview with Rainbow Fm, it was heartening when RJ Atul summarised to say that this solemn day should be declared a National holiday. ‘Amen, Atul’.
The icing on the Cake is yet to be laid by the Authors of the LIMCA BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS in declaring this Event thus :
‘First Veterans Day Parade in India – NFMC on 12 Jan 2020. Architect Cdr Vijay Vadhera’
SHANO VARUNO….. JAI HIND
PS – Senior Officers who graced the Parade :
RAdm Arun Auditto, RAdm DN Thukral, Cmde Mike Bhada, Cmde BK Ahluwalia, Cmde Aspi Marker, Cmde JC Bhatia, Cmde Biman Mistry, Cmde Prodip Mehra, Cmde Sanjiv Kapur, Cmde NN Rao, Hon Cmde Rabi Ahuja, Capt Raj Mohindra, Capt SS Sethi, Cmde Sandeep Chakravorty, Cmde Sandeep Sandhu
Veteran Sailors who participated: Hon Lt Dattaji Rao S Nalawade, Hon Lt Anand Salvi, GP Patil, MCPOR TEL, Dinkar B Shinde POELP, Harish More, POME + 15 sailors from 2/90 batch
PS- The Blog wouldn't have been complete without the unstinted efforts in photography and videography by Meena Bakhshi Dutt.
PS- The Blog wouldn't have been complete without the unstinted efforts in photography and videography by Meena Bakhshi Dutt.
WELCOMING HON CMDE RABI AHUJA, CHAIRMAN SCC
CMDE ASPI MARKER WITH DOUBLE GLORY
CMDE ASPI MARKER WITH CDR KK SHARMA & CAPT R AGRAWALA
LEADING THE PARADE - CDR VIJAY VADHERA WITH CAPT RAJ MOHINDRA
& RADM ARUN AUDITTO
CDR VIJAY VADHERA, PRESIDENT NFMC RECEIVING
VADM R PENDHARKAR, FOMA
VADM R PENDHARKAR, FOMA
Courtesy Cdr Sandeep Shrivastava
2. INTERVIEW COVERAGE OF VETERANS
3. VETERANS DAY PARADE CLIPS