A VIVACIOUS VETERAN FADES AWAY
COMMODORE KK GARG
“Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honour, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause.” - Abraham Lincoln
“The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.” - Douglas MacArthur
My maiden interaction with Cmde KK Garg was during the 2015 AGM, when Cmde Ravi, Cmde Garg and I were awarded by NFMC for our contribution to Quarter Deck, a rewarding policy to encourage literary talent amongst Veterans, initiated by Cdr Vijay Vadhera (then Secy NFMC). Cmde Garg had encouraged me to make friends with my pen as a hobby.
On 12 Feb '20, Adm Shekhawat had messaged Cdr Vadhera informing him of the critical condition of Cmde KK Garg in ICU Nanavati Hospital. I spoke to younger Son Mohit Garg who said that Cmde Garg had suffered a Stoke and was shifted to Nanavati and he desired to shift him to ICU Asvini. I spoke to RAdm Sheila S Mathai (CO Asvini) who was forthright and affirmed to receive Cmde Garg in Asvini ICU after his condition stabilizes in Nanavati. But Alas, Cmde Garg’s condition kept worsening and on 15th Feb the Vivacious Veteran sailed away onto the heavenly shores. VAdm IC Rao was always beside the family in their time of distress. The Funeral was performed the same evening by his dutiful Sons Gaurav and Mohit at the Shastri Nagar Elec Crematorium, which was attended by a large gathering of friends and relatives including Adm VS Shekhawat (Former CNS and coursemate), VAdm IC Rao and Cdr Sati Taneja who were his close colleagues. Full military honours were accorded amidst the sounding of the ‘Last Post’. The Ashes were immersed the next day in the Sea as per Cmde’s last wish. Cdr Shailendra Sharma, NFMC member accompanied the family and relatives in a Boat arranged by COY, HQWNC. A Prayer mtg was arranged in Khatwari Darbar, Khar on the evening of 17th Feb, attended by a large number of relatives and Naval as well as Dufferin Veteran friends to pray for solace to the humble Soul.
Little Krishan was born in Rori Hissar on 24 Aug 1934 in a fairly extensive family of Capt Murlidhar Agarwal and Kalawati. His father served in the British Indian Army in Hissar and later settled down in Rohtak. Krishan was the 2nd of the 5 brothers and 2 sisters. His Elder Brother grew up to be a Civil Engineer, while the younger brothers graduated in Textile Engineering, Civil Engineering and Bcom respectively. Krishan was a bright student in High School and was selected to undergo TS Dufferin training in 1951. After his successful training in Merchant Marine, he was selected for 7th NDA course and joined the 5th term directly at Clementown Dehradun (JSW) in Jan 1954. After his Cadets and midshipmen training on Tir/Mysore, Mid KK Garg got commissioned into the Indian Navy on 01 Jan 1956. After the mandatory Subs courses in Kochi and Watchkeeping onboard Mysore, he was reappointed and participated in the battle for Goa Liberation in 1961.
In mid-1962 his parents were impressed by a beautiful damsel Prem Pyari, daughter of Dr Kabul Chand Maqbool (Gupta family) belonging to Sikandra. Prem was the fourth child among the 3 brothers and 3 sisters. Her elder two brothers were medical Doctors while the younger one was an Automobile engineer. Both families were happy at the alliance. The young couple tied the knot on 12 Dec 1962 and started their new life in Vizag’s new camp after marriage. Next year Lt KK Garg was transferred to INS Vikrant. During that tenure, the couple were blessed with a cute bundle of Joy at her parents' place in Agra on 16 Jan ’64. The infant was christened ‘Gaurav’. After two yrs Sea-time on VK, Lt Garg was promoted to LtCdr and transferred to INS Agrani. While in Coimbatore they were blessed with their second bundle of joy on 11 Aug ’66 and they named him Mohit. During the Agrani tenure LtCdr KK opted for the Provost branch and after his Provost Course in INS Kunjali (Bombay) was appointed NPM Vizag (1968), followed by Chief Security Officer ND(B) (1971-73), from where he side-stepped as EXO Kunjali on promotion. His next appointment was as CO Dwarka (NOIC Okha) as Capt in 1978, followed by President of Bhopal SSB (1980-83). During that prestigious appointment, Capt Garg earned his First Star as Commodore and transferred as COM Karanja in 1983. In 1986 he was appointed CSO to FOMA prior to his superannuation in 1988.
Cmde KK Garg settled down in Santa Cruz (West) and joined the SCI as Master (FG) and sailed the World over till 1995. He continued in the teaching faculty in MTI Powai as an instructor and groomed the SCI cadets till 2001. Cmde Garg had been an avid writer and authored a number of articles in periodicals and Quarter Deck. He continued to groom the students of Raheja college in Santa Cruz, and presided over as a Chief Guest for the College’s Annual Day 0n 30 Jan 2020, a week prior to the fateful night of 06 Feb when the tragedy struck and he had to be shifted to Nanavati ICU, Vile Parle. Both Gaurav and Mohit flew down from USA on hearing the tragic News.
GAURAV & MOHIT
Akin to their Parents both Gaurav and Mohit had excelled academically in Vishakha Valley, Scindia School Gwalior and St Xavier’s. While Gaurav graduated in Elec Engineering from Maulana Azad NIT, Mohit chose Architecture and did B.Arch from JJ School of Arch. Both then shifted to California for Masters in their respective fields and settled down there permanently. Gaurav is the Chief Information Officer in the City of Santa Clara, whereas Mohit is a Senior Architect in a Private firm WHL Architects in Sunnyvale, CA. Gaurav’s charming better half Alka is a Fashion Designer and the couple is blessed with Avika (19) pursuing a Degree in Data Sc and Aashka (17) in High School. Mohit’s better half is amiable Rupali and the couple is blessed with Son Mehar in the 6th Grade.
MRS PREM PYARI GARG
Ms Prem hailed from a well educated and learned family of Dayal Baug, Agra. She accomplished her BA/BT from Women's Trg College and after her Masters from St John’s got employed as a lecturer in the same Women’s Trg College, where she graduated from. She taught there for 2 yrs prior to her arranged wedlock with a young handsome Naval officer. When the couple was in Vizag, She got employed as a Hindi Lecturer in the Ministry of Home Affairs (Dept of Official Language). She continued to teach Hindi in ND(B), Bhopal (Translator in IT Dept), LIC and Bombay VT Govt offices. She retired in 1990 and is drawing two pensions. Bravo Mrs Garg, Naman.
AN OBITUARY BY SONS - GAURAV & MOHIT GARG
Commodore Krishan Kumar was born on August 24th, 1934 in Haryana, India. One of the brightest students in his class, he was selected for entry into the Mercantile Marine Training Ship Dufferin in 1951, being the first student of his school to be selected. Upon completing his training, he was selected by the Indian National Defense Academy in 1953. Commissioned as a naval officer in 1956 in the Executive Branch of the Indian Navy, he held various ranks from Commander, Captain, and finally Commodore in the Indian Navy. Throughout his 38 years of service, he continued to hold great passion for serving his country, including being deployed in several wars.
After retirement, he commanded Merchant Ships of India and travelled the world over from 1990-1995, including San Francisco, Stockton, Long Beach, Astoria, Oregon and Vancouver, Canada. He then became the first ex-Dufferin cadet and ex-naval officer to be teaching faculty for the Government of India Merchant Navy Academy, where he imparted knowledge of navigation and seamanship to cadets from 1996 to 2001.
Commodore Garg held many titles, including Trustee of Kandla Port Trust from 1978-1980, Trustee of Mumbai Port Trust from 1987-1988, member of Security Association of India, and held memberships in the Maritime Institution and the Maritime Foundation of India. He was an active poet, writer and contributed his writings extensively to various periodicals including the Indian Naval Quarterdeck magazine. He travelled to the US extensively and loved the American fun-loving spirit and humour embedded in the work culture.
Commodore Garg lived a life full of devotion to his country, his family, and friends. He and his wife Prem traversed the journey of life in bliss for 58 years. He will forever be cherished by his wife along with sons Gaurav and Mohit, daughters-in-law Alka and Rupali, and grandchildren Avika, Aashka and Mehar.
TRIBUTE BY VADM IC RAO
Krishan Kumar Garg started his maritime career in 1952 in the elite Training Ship the T.S.Dufferin and he joined up with 7th Course NDA (Joint Services Wing) at Clement Town, Dehra Dun in Jan 1954. He was allotted the Electrical Branch but returned to the Executive Branch where he had many firsts. He opted for the provost branch and was one of the first General Service Officers as Lt Cdr At-Arms in 1967. He was NOIC Porbandar, Senior Officer Karanja and also head of the Services Selection Board at Bhopal. He retired as CSO to FOMA.
Kishan was the most affable officer one could meet. He was always helpful to anyone who went to him and was a good friend to his course mates who remember him for his hearty laugh.
Cmde Garg’s simplicity and generosity were the hallmarks of the great ‘Officer and Gentleman’ that he was. The legacy of the Legend is being carried forward by Gaurav and Mohit, who being elegant and dignified are yet modest and polite.
Salutes to Late Commodore Krishan Kumar Garg.
Shano Varuna Jai Hind.
Front row 4th - Adm VS Shekhawat (former CNS), 5th - Cdr SP Taneja, 6th - RAdm HC Malhotra. Middle Row - 2nd Cmde KK Garg.
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 the Hon Secy of NFMC, a Master of Ceremonies and an avid blogger.