REFLECTIONS OF 2020 BY NFMC
We adored and cherished 2020. The world loved the format of the new game, since its inception by England and Wales cricket board in 2003 for the inter-county Championship. The unassuming idolization of this format catapulted 2020 to such elevation that on most international tours, the cricket playing host nation organizes at least one. Despite the adoration acquired by the term ‘2020’, the year 2020 shall sink down in history as the most abhorred during the current century. Although NFMC kick-started 2020 in an opulent style conducting Veterans Day events of Cricket and Sailing, culminating in India’s first-ever Veterans Day Parade at Marine drive on 12 Jan 2020, the year has strongly been defined and overshadowed by the COVID-19. The evil Pandemic has led to global socio-economic disruption, mass cancellations of events, worldwide lockdowns and largest recession since the great Depression of 1930s.
'Hope' is a powerful tool for mankind. It works like wizardry, like a torch within you when you are certain that bliss shall presage eventually. You can make things happen. Even as the COVID-19 gripped the world in its clutches commencing early this year, some extraordinary people, most of them unsung heroes emerged as Corona Warriors. They comprised Health Care workers, Armed Forces and Paramilitary, Policemen, Delivery men and the like. The World bows to them. 2020 owes it to them.
Mankind had never ever imagined a world of ‘social distancing’ as it approached the end of 2019. During that period, a variant of Corona that originated from a Lab in Wuhan (China), experimenting with Bats, soon engulfed the countries of the world and started gulping people in geometric progression. The new unknown Virus (a derivative of SARS) was designated COVID-19, that called for special precautionary measures to deal with and arrest its spread. All international flights across the world were ceased and borders sealed, including harbours and ports. The scientists world-over were struggling to device an antidote/vaccine, the enormity of the Pandemic can be estimated by the fact that by end August the Global positive cases had shot to 25.6 million with 8.5 Lakh deaths.
The CDS, Gen Bipin Rawat addressed the press on 01 May and paid his tributes to the Doctors, Health Workers and Corona Warriors. The Armed Forces on Sunday, 03 May in Solidarity conveyed their appreciation to all the Corona Warriors by the display of Formation flying aircraft from Srinagar to Trivanthapuram and Gauhati to Kuchch besides showering of Petals by Helos on the Hospitals treating Corona patients. The Army carried out band displays at various locations in the country and Indian Naval Ships at anchorage carried out illumination and firing of Vary’s pistols at the dusk time at all Naval harbours. India enhanced the production of PPEs, testing kits, medicines and Ventilators many folds. However by end August we had 36 L cases with 65,000 deaths.
While the Lockdown was in force, the Navy Foundation of Mumbai Chapter with over 1200 members was on a high, sending out important Govt Advisories and instructions on WhatsApp to all its members. The President NFMC living in Kharghar, Secy in Borivali and Treasurer in Colaba, the NFMC functioned wonderfully providing regular updates to its veteran members. A video conference meeting of the Committee members of NFMC was held on 31 Mar under the Chairmanship of Cdr Vijay Vadhera, President NFMC. This was followed up with regular VCons twice a week on Monday and Thursday.
NFMC MANAGING COMMITTEE
Two members of our foundation stood out for exceptional contribution during COVID. LtCdr Rajeshwari Kori (DyControler of Civil Defence) and her team, were issued a COVID-19 ID card to assist the society for any emergency. Cdr Angsuman Ojha founder of IESECCI, a non profitable organisation that assists the retired Armed forces personnel to join the Corporate World and deals in their Welfare, performed a commendable job during the present crisis. Mustering up a team of experts as ‘COVID Yodhas’ to fight the pandemic. NFMC is proud of both the Veterans.
NFMC took the initiative of procuring and distributing Face shields to all the Veterans and spouses including Veer Naris in mid May. Cdr George Duke assisted in its procurement. In addition Naval Dockyard fabricated 2000 cloth masks for Veterans and delivered them to the Area Committee Members for further distribution to Veterans. The Committee members of NFMC formed the Area wise WhatsApp groups: The groups were instrumental in the distribution of the Face Shields and masks to all Veterans and Veer Naris, encompassing the length and breadth of Greater Mumbai, a noble gesture that has been well appreciated by senior Naval Officers in Command and NHQ. Dr Gazala Azam Sheikh, a Homeopath agreed to supply complimentary ‘Arsenicum Album 30’ which had been approved by AYUSH as immunity booster. This Medicine along with Face shields and Face masks was distributed to all Veterans, a step that drew appreciation of the fraternity.
A Face Shield and Mask
distributed to Veterans
When all Veterans and Veer Naris were home quarantined due to the pandemic there were noble Veteran professionals who Volunteered to help out the Veterans in their hour of need by offering consultations on phone. NFMC is grateful to them :
b) Veteran Surg VAdm AA Pawar, AVSM, VSM (75256-K)(MUM-1107), former DGMS (Navy) volunteered to advise Veterans and Veer Naris for mental Health consultations.
c) Veteran LtCdr Farokh Tarapore (02296-T)(MUM-0219) volunteered to advise Veterans and Veer Naris regarding maintaining marital harmony.
d) Veer Nari Dr Kanta Mukherjee (MUM-0107) and LtCdr (D) Vijay Sangam (79040-K)(MUM-0369) volunteered to offer their consultations to Veterans and Veer Naris regarding their Dental problems.
e) Cdr Ritesh Menon (03866-K) (MUM-0663) conducted online morning and evening Twin Heart meditation sessions.
f) Cdr Puran Rawat (02690-N) (MUM-0719) offered to conduct online Pranic healing for Veterans and Veer Naris with medical problems.
As the lockdowns were being extended over most parts of our country and Mumbai, it was contemplated to hold our NFMC AGM on VCon, that was originally planned for 24th May in Hamla. A safe App ‘MS Team’ was firmed up and concurrence obtained from DESA. A weekly VCon was programmed by Cdr Vadhera for all Veterans on important topics by inhouse speakers as a precursor to the VCon AGM on 09 Aug. He spoke on the Role of Navy foundation in an interview with Cdr Ritesh Menon, LtCdr Farokh spoke on immunity Boosting measures, Cdr Girish Konkar talk on stress Management was enlightening, Surg Cdr Shabeena Tawar, SHO Asvini spoke to the Veterans on the current Pandemic and precautions to be taken. Cdr VK Jaitly forcefully spoke on his SWOT analysis of India Post Covid-19. The purpose of these VCons was twofold. One to make the Veterans getting use to the VCons besides keeping them occupied and educating them on the topics of current interests.
Virtual AGM of the Navy Foundation Mumbai Chapter was held at 1100 hrs on Sunday 09 Aug on ‘MS Team’ Video Conference App. Along with the Management Committee a large quorum of 173 members including our former CNS Adm Vijay Singh Shekhawat, PVSM, AVSM, VrC, former Patron VAdm Girish Luthra, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, former COM VAdm IC Rao, PVSM, AVSM and founder Secy & President of NFMC Capt Raj Mohindra attended the VCon meeting. In addition Cmde Pankaj Sharma,PDESA, Cmde Sandeep Chakravarti, Dir RC ECHS, Cmde Simon Xavier, Cd Welfare Offr and Secy RGC(W), Capt Kanchan Mukherjee, SSO(Welfare) and Capt Sunil Anand, CRSO attended. The AGM started with paying of tributes to 27 members of NFMC who had departed for heavenly abode since the last AGM. The President NFMC after his opening address welcomed 93 new members to our fold. The Balance Sheet of FE-2018-19 was passed by the General Body as also the previous minutes and the New Working Rules 2020. The agenda points were discussed with expert comments by PDESA, Dir RC ECHS and Secy RGC(W). The Virtual AGM was a huge success as was evidently reflected in the appreciative comments that the Managing Committee received from the members.
The AGM successfully culminated, albeit the NFMC continued organizing the monthly VCons for Veterans by inviting Guest Speakers .
VCons that have been conducted by NFMC in 2020 :
1. Tue 16 Jun, on Facebook by Policy Times "Post Covid 19 devastation, Enhanced Role of ex Defence personnel for National reincarnation" Expert Panelists LtGen Ravi Shankar, Air Cmde Motilal, Cdr Vijay Vadhera and Cdr Anirban Das. Moderator- Dr P Sekhar
2. Thur 25 Jun, on gotomeeting app "Investors Awareness Programme" for Navy Foundation by Mr Sarvottam Rege,an investment expert. Organised by KC College.
3. Tue 30 Jun, Facebook Live Cdr Vadhera talks about "Functioning of Navy Foundation" in Rendezvous with Ritesh Menon.
4. Thur 02 Jul, on MS Team App by LtCdr Farokh Tarapore on "Building positive Health through Immunity"... Moderator Cdr Vijay Vadhera, NM(G) President NFMC
5. Thur 09 Jul, on MS Team App by Cdr Girish Konkar on "Biology of Stress and Stress Management"... Moderator Cdr Vijay Vadhera, NM(G) President NFMC
6. Fri 17 Jul, on MS Team App by Surg Cdr Shabeena Tawar (76256-H), OIC SHO on "How to deal with Covid-19" ... Moderator Cdr Vijay Vadhera, NM(G) President NFMC
7. Fri 24 Jul, on MS Team App by VK Jaitley (50662-R) on "Post Covid : SWOT analysis of India".... Moderator Cdr Vijay Vadhera, NM(G) President NFMC
8. Thur 30 Jul, on MS Team App by Cdr Ritesh Menon (03866-K) on " During Covid How to do self healing through Energy Healing".... Moderator Cdr Vijay Vadhera, NM(G) President NFMC
9. Sun 09 Aug Virtual AGM of NFMC in which 173 members participated on MS Team app.
10. Sat 15 Aug, An acoustic evening of Live musical extravaganza for NFMC Veterans by Sujaan group on 'meet google' app.
11. Thur 24 Sep and Tue 29 Sep VCons on MS Team app by Arjun awardee LtCdr Farokh Tarapore, VSM (02296-T)(MUM-0219) on "Relationship building and Harmony" for Veterans.
12. Fri 23 Oct 2020, VCon on Zoom app by Surg Capt PS Tampi MD(Med), DM (Pulm), FCCP(USA)(75266)(L-23) on Corona Virus, Myth Vs Reality.
13. Tue 17 Nov 2020, VCon on Zoom by Cdr KV Subbarao (01194-N)(Retd) (NFMC L-660) on "Emotional Intelligence"
14. Fri 04 Dec 1830 hrs, to commemorate Navy Day an online classical musical concert by Sambhav Kadam in collaboration with St Xavier's IMG and NFMC.
15. Fri 18 Dec 1900 hrs, VCon on MS Team on Dental Hygiene and Care by Veer Nari Capt (D) Kanta Mukherjee NFMC (MUM-0107)
VETERANS DAY CELEBRATIONS
Having conducted the Veterans Day events in 2020 in a marvelous fashion, NFMC had planned similar treats for 2021 in a more glorious way, but the current ongoing Pandemic has forced us to shelve the fanfare. Cdr Vadhera has promulgated the following msg to NFMC Veterans :
“The past few days / weeks have seen an alarming rise in Covid cases in the city, as a result of which State Government has imposed several restrictions afresh. The COVID situation is unlikely to improve in the near future.
Rightly so, HQWNC too has cancelled all the Navy Day Events this month due to the Pandemic.
Under the circumstances, it is imperative that we prioritize safety and well-being of Veterans and Veer Naris.
The Managing Committee, in consultation with HQWNC, has therefore decided NOT to go ahead with *T-12 Cricket Match scheduled on 03 Jan 21, *Sailing Race scheduled on 06 Jan 21 and *Veterans Day Parade scheduled on Sunday 10 Jan 2021.
Decision on Wreath laying ceremony on Veterans Day i.e 14 Jan 2021 will be taken later on by HQWNC.
18th Admiral Soman Lecture this time will therefore be held virtually on MS Team at 1900 hrs on *Thursday 14 Jan 2021 and the Guest Speaker will be *Cmde Srikant Kesnur, Director Maritime War College, who will be speaking on *Memory & Remembrance-Ties that bind Veterans with Navy and Nation*
BEST WISHES FOR 2021
Eleanor Roosevelt famously has quipped, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”. Even as we glance back at 2020 and the Veterans Day events regaled in a grand style in Jan 2020, let’s dream of a great 2021. Let’s pray for Kindness and Courage for the people of the World. Its not the Stars that foretell our Future, but our belief in ourselves.
On behalf of the President and all Committee members of NFMC here’s Wishing a Grand New Year 2021 of new Dreams, new Hopes, and new Aspirations to all the Veterans and Veer Naris.
Link for Veterans Day 2020 Blog
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.