Friday, 29 January 2021

 

NFMC AT REPUBLIC DAY 2021

           When a few like-minded Veterans assemble and bond together on a National Day, the euphoria created by them is bound to be priceless. It happened, despite the Pandemic, on the 72nd Republic Day on 26th Jan 2021 at SFIMAR. Cdr Gurbachan Singh arranged Republic Day function at the Mira Road War Memorial…Cdr Angsuman Ojha launched his well thought off initiative ‘Viraat Calls’…Cdr KK Sharma ran a half marathon 'One Nation Run'....A befitting ceremony was organised by Veteran Capt Rakesh Agrawala staying in Wadala for the residents of Bhakti Park. Our Committee member from Thane, Cdr Abhishek Kankan addressed the students of Millennium School, NOIDA online.  Our NFMC member Cdr Bhushan Dewan, an eminent philosopher with a double Doctorate, effectively brought out the essence of Republic Day and our way forward for the residents of Megh, Malhar and Raag Societies, Goregaon. LtCdr Rajeshwari Kori (DCCD) proudly executed the Republic Day honours at her Directorate of Civil Defence, Govt of Mah. Cdr Bhaskar Bhandarkar was the Chief Guest for the auspicious function at his Society in Belapur. In the evening after paying homage to the ‘Amar Jawan’, the monument  resurrected by Lt Shreekant Bhende at Borivali, a few Veterans and Veer Naris converged onto his Divine Bungalow for a relishing  Pot-luck dinner.


RD CEREMONY AT SFIMAR

       It was indeed a matter and moment of colossal Pride and euphoria for Meena and I to have been invited on 25th Jan by Dr Henry, the Director of SFIMAR (St Francis Institute of Management at Research) Borivali West for their Republic Day celebrations the next day. Col Venkat Raman staying in Thane had referred me. It was indeed a brotherly interaction with Col Raman, who is a Veteran from Madras Sappers and had been a part of the Management institute’s faculty. Ms Namrata and Mr Abhishek from the institute firmed up our program.

     No sooner as Meena got a whiff of the invite, our bedroom resembled a garment shop;  all her designer attire from the wardrobe were flung out onto the beds and sofa. The lady of the house was in a dilemma as to “What to wear” …. She tried 10 different dresses with matching dupattas, querying the kids and me, finally zeroing down to one that was affirmed by all. I was in no such quandary, with my ever ready standard NFMC Blazer with medals and Veterans cap.

    Early morning on the R Day we were wheeling down the Flyover separating Borivali East from West. Meena was looking elegant in her Green and Red dress and I in my NFMC Blazer was behind the wheel. We reached the Institute 0745 hrs and were escorted warmly by Mr Abhishek to the Director’s room where we were pleasantly greeted by the Dr Henry and Prof Ramesh. Soon we were joined by Prof Namrata and Prof Sangeeta Varma. The Principal, revered Br Alphonse’s smile was equally infectious. We mentioned of our earlier interaction with Br Wilfred, the Principal of the adjoining St Francis School, 2 years ago during the School’s investiture ceremony.

    The Principal escorted us out to the lawns of the institute where the staff had gathered. Even as we exchanged smiles and greeted, the Principal formally welcomed us with a Bouquet. The Master of Ceremony Sangeeta spoke on the significance of the Republic Day before the Flag ceremony, after which she introduced me and requested me to say a few words.

      In my address I applauded the School staff who were all present in full strength, narrated to them the story of my joining the Indian navy, Concept of Veterans Day that we had just celebrated on 14th Jan, its genesis and the contribution of Veterans to our Society. Paid homage to our Freedom fighters and martyrs with customary 3 Jai’s.

       The group photo session was followed by refreshments in Principal’s conference hall, where we interacted at leisure about the excellence of the various courses run by the institute and placements offered to the students by various corporates. It was a magnificent morning to have connect with the bright and beaming faculty staff of SFIMAR. Subsequent to the fruitful discussions, the Principal and staff escorted us out and presented us with a memento, Institute’s magazines and Calendar. As we exchanged smiles and bid them farewell, wheeled out and set course, we carried with us a lot of sweet memories captured in our camera for recapitulating in footprints of times later.  

DIRECTORATE OF CIVIL DEFENCE

     LtCdr Rajeshwari Kori, Our proud NFMC member who has been running a taut Civil Defence Organisation of Maharashtra, unfurled the tricolour at her Headquarters, addresses her staff on the occasion and gave away prizes. She has been leading her staff expeditiously  in handling the disasters that happened in the past, viz the Floods in central Maharashtra, Cyclone Nisarg that lashed us mid last year and the current ongoing Pandemic. Good show Raju, Proud of you.  

 BHAKTI  PARK  WADALA

         Our NFMC Committee member from Wadala was invited as the Chief Guest for the Republic Day ceremony for the Bhakti Park Society Wadala. He says, “I was privileged to Unfurl  flag at Mt. Everest and Alps Society  ,also at the Municipal Garden for whole Bhakti  Park. This time I have started a new tradition...3 Girls from 10th or 12th Standard will co host  with me for Flag unfurling  on 26th January  Republic Day....similarly  15th August  Independence  Day flag Hoisting  3 Boys from 10th or 12th standard  will co host with me. They will also give a speech after I introduce  them to audience. Every one has liked this proposal and seen a great enthusiasm  in the young boys and girls”

HOMAGE AT WAR MEMORIAL MIRA ROAD

    Cdr Gurbachan Singh, NFMC member from Mira Road, who had been instrumental in erecting of the War Memorial at Mira Road 2 yrs ago, gathered the Armed Forces Veterans in the Area and conducted the wreath laying at the memorial followed by the unfurling of the tricolour amidst playing of the National Anthem.  He says,Srishti Sector 3, Federation Ltd, Mira Road East, is a complex of 22 Buildings/Societies. The Complex has a boundary wall with 3 gates. There are 6 gardens (one for 3 adjoining buildings), having sports/playing facilities for children, one Ganpati hall and one play ground. We are 22 Veterans in the complex. The Amar Jawan Memorial facing the play ground was inaugurated on 15 Jan 2019, by Cmde Biman Mistry. We celebrate all National/Veteran related functions at this Memorial. For last 3 years we have been celebrating Republic Day followed by sports for 2 days. But this year due to COVID norms the Republic Day was celebrated on low key without sports. The celebration began with patriotic songs by Mr Ashvin and Ms Janhavi. Then the wreath was laid by me and ChEAP Dilbag Singh followed by playing last post bugle on the music system. Thereafter the National Flag was unfurled by Dr Sehgal and Mr Dave both senior residents and ex Federation Chairmen, followed by playing National Anthem. Thus was the function celebrated. Despite the low key due pandemic we had a gathering of more than 100 people including 6 Veterans.”

 IESSECI SHINES

        Cdr Angsuman Ojha, our NFMC member and founder of IESECCI (INDIAN EX SERVICE EMPLOYEES CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRIES) launched his initiative ‘Viraat Calls’ on this auspicious day, with the primary aim to raise awareness and influence the decision makers, and interested institutions/individuals/NGO's to join hands to save parts of Viraat "under scrap" in the interest of National Maritime Heritage and create a Memorial/theme park. He says, “The year 2021 is also the 75th year of "NAVAL UPRISING". So let us acknowledge the contribution of the Naval Veterans/Families, who contributed to our Nations freedom. We shall invite some of these Heroes and their family members to share their story / videos with us pertaining to these Brave hearts and invite them for an appropriate function once the Pandemic subsides.”

GOREGAON REGALES

           Cdr Bhushan Dewan was the Chief Guest for the 72nd Republic Day celebrations at Megh, Malhar, Raag Towers complex in Yashodham, Filmcity Road, Goregaon east. Cdr Dewan says, “ The event with usual gusto and widespread participation by residents from about 200 flats of the three 22-storey towers was conducted with great pomp and show. After taking seats by the members of the Managing Committee at the dais and by children, ladies and gents in the arena, National Flag was unfurled to the tune of National Anthem. This was followed by Vande Mataram song sung by a lady from the organising group. Addresses by Managing Committee members followed symbolising the solemn occasion of India's proud history, heritage and progress. Commander Bhushan Dewan, who was invited by the Chair to deliver his address, dwelt on the historical significance of the occasion and emphasized that India has made a phenomenal progress in all spheres and it's time for all of us to brace ourselves to handle looming challenges on our borders while our Armed Forces are competent, determined and full of josh to deliver a befitting blow to the enemies & foil their evil designs. India has to find its rightful role in the comity of nations as a world leader in all spheres including economy, technology, military and while leveraging our rich cultural traditions of Vasudeva Kutumbakam be a beacon for ushering in a just & humane world order. The Republic day celebrations ended with tea and snacks.” (Pics and Vids shared below)

 EVENING HOMAGE AT AMAR JAWAN MONUMENT BORIVALI

       Lt Srikant Bhende had promulgated in our WA group of an evening get together at the ‘รmar Jawan’ monument in Borivali West, the monument that he had founded 4 yrs ago and has been nursing it as a child. Due to the Pandemic most Veterans politely declined, but the fortunate and daring 9 were there at 1830 on 26 Jan, like previous years to pay respects and Homage to the Freedom fighters and Martyrs at the War Memorial. Veer Nari Kasibai Kori laid the wreath on behalf of the President and all members of NFMC amidst playing of the Last Post.  

       After the homage to the 'Unknown Soldier' at Amar Jawan Borivali the Veterans (Cdr & Mrs KK Kutty, Cdr KK Sharma, Veer Naris Dr Shreelatha Banger & Kasibai Kori Ma'am, Lt and Mrs Bhende and Meena & Self) stepped into 4 Divine Bungalow at a stones throw from the memorial... The discussions ranged from familial bonding to Pandemic to Ramayana Kaands ....No sooner had I uploaded the War Memorial photos on NFMC WA group, I got a video call from Cdr Vadhera, President NFMC, who interacted with all Veterans and Veer Naris present and conveyed them Best wishes of the Republic Day.  The Potluck to follow was a sumptuous and delectable spread brought in by each one and supplemented by host Indira Ma'am. The Gajar ka Halwa was a relishing treat to top it all. All in all, an evening we shall remember and cherish till the next Republic Day meet, same time same place.... Three Cheers to Lt Srikant and Mrs Indira Bhende.... We should meet again in near future for a similar Pot-Luck treat....A sentiment that was echoed by the 26 Jan WhatsApp Group, created by Senior Veteran who's young at heart, Lt Shrikant Bhende.


Sam No Varuna.

Jai Hind !   












































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Wednesday, 20 January 2021

 NFMC SOLEMNISES VETERANS DAY 2021

       Yes, NFMC did celebrate Veterans Day 2021, third year in a row, notwithstanding the wrath of Pandemic. President NFMC’s signature statement, “When the going gets tough…..” aptly comes to the fore, not only for NFMC but for India too.  In the past year’s COVID crisis that gripped the nation and the World, India has performed remarkably well compared to other countries considering the casualties per million.


       Although the 2019 Veterans Day was a little subdued as Cdr Vadhera had been in Australia with his elder daughter settled there, but he monitored the proceedings of the NFMC Committee during the week preceding the Veterans Day,14th Jan. Hoisting of Veterans Day Banners at prominent places in Mumbai City, motivational lectures by CMs at  various Schools and TV and Radio interviews by Veterans that were conducted with elan. The Wreath Laying at the Colaba War Memorial was followed by a get-together of Veterans at Sailors Institute for tea, where the C-in-C interacted with Veteran personnel of all three forces.   

      To make Veterans Day more vibrant, NFMC amalgamated additional events in Jan 2020. Besides the TV / Radio broadcasts, Veterans Cricket and Sailing championships were included. The highlight of festivities and the show-stealer was the First ever Veterans Day Parade organized in grandiose style at the Marine drive on the morning of 12 Jan 2020, in which over 600 Veterans, spouses, Veer Naris, Hon Capt (IN) Rabi Ahuja's 250 SCC cadets along with their dynamic band including girl cadets, NCC cadets and Police personnel participated with great pomp and show, (Link for Veterans Day Parade placed below). The event garnered extensive media coverage. After the wreath laying by the serving personnel and Veterans of the three Services, a tea party was held at the Air Force Officers Mess, were the Chief Guest Shri Shripad Yesso Naik, RRM interacted with all present. This was followed by 17th Soman memorial Lecture in Asvini Auditorium, where Mr Nitin Gokhale, a renowned strategic affairs Analyst spoke on the burning Topic, ‘The new great game in the Indo-Pacific’.

      VETERANS DAY 2021

      In consultation with WNC, NFMC had planned events for Veterans Day in early Jan 2021 including the conduct of Cricket and Sailing Tournaments between the C-in-C Teams and the Veterans on 03 Jan and 06 Jan respectively and Veterans Day Parade was scheduled on Sunday 10 Jan 2021. However since there was no dilution seen in the severity of the Pandemic, it was decided to shelve these events. Cdr Vadhera promulgated to the 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.”  

        Having conducted the Veterans Day events in 2020 in a marvelous fashion, NFMC had planned similar events for 2021 in a more illustrious way, but the current ongoing Pandemic forced us to shelve the fanfare. Nevertheless it hadn't dampened our passion to observe the Veterans Day this year too, in our unique style. Two events were planned… One- a Surprise Gift to all Octogenarians and Veer Naris of Mumbai…Two-18th Soman Memorial Lecture. This apart from Wreath Laying that was planned and executed by HQ WNC at ‘Gaurav Stambh’, the Naval War Memorial in ND(Mb) at 0900 hrs on 14 Jan, by CinC, Senior Officers and Veteran representatives of all three services. This was followed by Ex-Servicemen E-Rally online from 1100-1230 hrs. The E-Rally was conducted for the benefit of Veterans, where in presentations were conducted by Officers of ECHS, NavPen and Canteen Services and queries addressed. LtCdr Farokh Tarapore, on behalf of President and all Veterans of NFMC laid the Wearth at the Naval War Memorial.     

      During the weekly VCons on Thursday, it was decided to courier a packet of rich American Almonds wrapped in a classic nautical paper, along with a greeting card from President and managing committee of NFMC. The Committee members contacted the Octogenarians and Veer naris in respective areas to update their addresses. Lt Cdr Farokh Tarapore designed the wrapping paper and the Gift Box and arranged to courier the boxes to 68 Veer Naris and 47 Octogenarians of NFMC. Additionally, the Gift Boxes were also couriered to the OICs and Doctors of the 4 ECHS in Mumbai and suburbs. It was a noble task well executed on the eve of Veterans Day. Cdr Vadhera’s mobile Inbox was flooded with messages of appreciation on the Veterans Day. Apart from running the Courier, Cdr PS Rawat personally handed over the Gifts packets to OIC and medical officers of ECHS Malad. Similar goodwill was extended by Cdr SK Patnaik for ECHS Kanjur Marg. Veer Nari and NFMC lady CM, Dr Kanta Mukherjee personally handed over the Gift Boxes to Senior Veterans of Anchorage Juhu. (Pics below)

     The 18th Admiral Soman Lecture was held virtually on MS Team at 1900 hrs on *Thursday 14 Jan 2021.  Invitation Cards for the lecture were designed by Ms Shikha Kohli and She was presented with a Gift Hamper by Cdr Manjul Mayank for her noble gesture. The invitation cards were forwarded to 60 Senior Officers by Whats App. Although the invitation for the Chief Guest had been extended to FOCinC West, our Patron NFMC, but due to CinC’s pre-occupation RAdm V Srinivas, NM, Flag Officer Maharashtra Naval Area presided over the function. The Guest Speaker was *Cmde Srikant Kesnur, Director Maritime War College, who by his well-researched and thought-provoking engagement with our esteemed Veterans, escorted them down memory lane on a topic that’s so close to our hearts, *Memory & Remembrance-Ties that bind Veterans with Navy and Nation*

        Besides MSc and MPhil obtained as part of courses attended, Cmde Srikant Kesnur is a PG Diploma in Journalism, MA in History and also holds a PhD in African Studies. He has been the lead author/Chief Editor of nine books and many journals brought out by the Indian Navy. Over the past few years, Cmde Srikant Kesnur has been deeply involved in Navy's outreach initiatives through his articles in various publications and lectures at various institutions, forums and seminars. He has played the role of maritime evangelist and influencer with great zeal and dedication. This has led him, in recent years, to study and examine the nature of Memory and Remembrance and how it relates to threads between the serving community, the veterans and general public.

     His engagement with Veterans, including former CsNS – Admiral L Ramdas and Admiral VS Shekhawat, had drawn huge applause from the audience.  Cmde Kesnur spoke on the elements that construct the Umbilical cord connecting the serving with the Veterans. He spoke on the genesis of the Forces and Navy in particular, the Naval museums, the lack of teachings of Naval History in Academies and courses. He dwelled at length on memory makers- History books, Photo essays, Coffee table books, Heritage walks, Exhibitions during- IFR, PFR, Milans, Art Festivals, Documentary films, TV serials, movies, First Day Covers/Stamps, Open Air exhibits etc. Challenges of Vikrant/ Viraat, need of serious historians and Academicians to light and carry the torch. He suggested the Roadmap by formal teachings of Naval History at various levels and echelons, developing storages of resources, and mentoring partnership with Veterans, making Navy-books freely available within and outside.   The Qs/Ans session to follow did bring out the fact that the onus of strengthening the threads of Naval history, to a large extent lies with eminent Veterans who could script quality memoires seriously. 

        The enlightening talk was followed by the presentation of NFMC memento to Cmde Kesnur by LtCdr Farokh Tarapore, on behalf of President NFMC. RAdm V Srinivas, our Chief Guest then addressed the Veterans and thanked Cmde Kesnur for a well-researched enlightening talk. Cdr Vijay Vadhera, President NFMC extended the ‘Vote of Thanks’ to all the Veterans. The National Anthem to follow concluded the online 18th Soman Memorial lecture. Never in the past 18 years would have one visualised the conduct of a memorial lecture online.

 

     Capt R Agarawala, NFMC committee member of Central Mumbai, flagged off a Youth Marathon Run on Veterans Day in his locality and Lt Srikant Bhende paid homage to Martyrs at the ‘รmar Jawan’, the monument that he has raised and preserved at Borivali West.

 

      The Pandemic having dampened the passion of festivities this year, NFMC is certain to bounce back in celebrating Veterans Day 2022, with enhanced vigour and intensified dedicated spirit. The encouragement received from Veterans and Veer Naris acts like an effervescent catalyst for NFMC managing committee, aptly lead by its President.

 

Sam No Varunah

Jai Hind !

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PS :

Dear President,

Sudesh joins me in thanking you and the Managing Committee for the magnificent gesture of sending us a gift on occasion of the Veterans Day.

As you know, I was the Founding Secretary of the Mumbai Chapter and thereafter its President for 9 years. Prior to that I was the Founding Secretary of Anchor-hold which was founded by that incredible Naval Officer Cmde Jadhav Chatterji. I say this because throughout my 25-year association with Anchor-hold and the Navy Foundation, I had never come across such a splendid gesture on the part of any ex-servicemen’s organisation. BZ to you and the MC!

I must also commend you and the MC for selecting ‘badams’ as the gift. According to the Vedas, the Vedic badams induce certain ‘Shakti’ in aging couples. I’m glad that you have not gone for the American California brand which tend to create certain explosive situations which can potentially go out of hand!

 

With warm regards to you and all members of the Managing Committee.

Raj Mohindra

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Link for the First Veterans day Parade in India.

http://rajdutta26.blogspot.com/2020/01/maiden-indian-veterans-day-parade.html

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