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 ‘Ámar 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 !
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.
Link for the First Veterans day Parade in India.