Feel free to contribute on burning issues concerning the armed forces. Contributions would be acknowledged - Use the 'Comments' tab or email navdeepsingh.india[at]gmail.com. No operational/business/commercial matters to be discussed please. Legal advice/litigation related issues would strictly NOT be published or discussed or entertained. Information on this blog is opinion based and is neither official nor in the form of an advice. This is a pro bono online journal in public service related to issues, policies and benefits, and the idea behind it is to educate and not to create controversy or to incite. Be soft in your language, respect Copyrights.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

May I seek a minute of silence in the honour of….


…...Ex-Gunner Bachan Singh who passed away this morning. This gem of a soldier (Africa Star / Burma Star / Defence of India Medal) fought a long battle for his dues and received his pension arrears of about 60 years a few months back.. He got injured in North Africa, was treated in a Military Hospital in Cairo during WWII and then was medically boarded out in 1947. He was granted disability pension which was abruptly discontinued by the CDA in 1949 while holding that his disability had gone below 20%, this despite the fact that a duly constituted medical board by the Army had confirmed a disability of 30%. His pleas for a resurvey medical board fell on deaf ears. However, with the help of our ex-Vice Chief, Lt Gen S Pattabhiraman (then GOC-in-C WC), his case was taken up with the PCDA(P) as well as the Govt for re-consideration. A thorough medical examination of this 95 year old soldier was carried out in 2005 at Command Hospital Western Command and the board opined that the disability was such which could not have improved in any manner, and that it had remained constant / static all these years since 1949. Our persistence and Gen Pattabhiraman’s help resulted in the sanctioning of his disability pension with arrears with effect from 1949, a historical landmark, and something which goes to show that the govt is not always all that insensitive as it is projected to be. Of course the arrears were not much but still the spirit behind the gesture was symbolic, and the old fauji had something to look forward to, and a reason to thank olive green and some great souls like our ex-Vice Chief who ensured that he got his dues 6 decades after he was released. The battle did not end there, the bank which was to release his arrears made him and his relatives visit the branch numerous times but kept delaying his payment on flimsy grounds. It took some tough talk by representatives of the Army who visited the branch to get the ball rolling. Incidentally, just two days back I had written a letter to the bank asking them not to make the old veteran visit the branch every month for his pension – they were insisting on his presence in the branch every month in blatant contravention of MoD guidelines. But nature thought otherwise……sad but atleast I had the satisfaction of seeing his case through and I thank none other than Gen Pattabhiraman for it. Wreaths were laid on behalf of the Punjab Govt and the Army today, and by me on behalf of Gen Pattabhiraman who has personally conveyed that he be added in the list of mourners. Bachan Singh was one of those rare soldiers alive who had actively served both in Africa and Burma. May this gunner’s soul rest in peace.
The report of his death has been covered by 'The Tribune' - access it by clicking here.

There are many other Bachan Singhs out there who need us, so let us give all we can, it is because of them that we enjoy this richness of military tradition that we so very cherish.



K said...

Thanks Navdeep, for reminding us about our brethren we totally do not know about. Since GOI is not building any memorials for martyrs who have laid down their lives in line of duty, may I request you to start a website/blog which commemorates such heroes along with their names, calling and a brief bio-data? I would have loved to start such a site, but due to obvious reasons, am not able to do so. As regards financial constraints in running and maintaining such a site, we can think about voluntary contributions and I will be the first one to contribute. Please do let us know if it is a feasible idea and if you can take it on. Thanks.

pulveriser said...

Here is a gem that I found on the Indian Veterans Group site on the
Net today. It's worth reading and pondering over in the context of
the current scenario in our country..... ..
============ =
Some people still don't understand why military personnel do what
they do for a living.
This exchange between Senators John Glenn and Howard Metzenbaum is
worth reading, in my opinion. Not only does it make a pretty
impressive impromptu speech, but it's also a good example of one
man's explanation of why men and women in the armed services do what
they do for a living. This is a typical, though sad, example of what
some who have never served, think of the military.

Senator Metzenbaum to Senator Glenn: 'How can you run for Senate when
you've never ever held a 'real job?'

Senator Glenn: 'I served 23 years in the United States Marine Corps.
I served through two wars. I flew 149 missions. My plane was hit by
anti-aircraft fire on 12 different occasions. I was in the Space
Program. It wasn't my checkbook, Howard; it was my life on the
It was not a nine to five job, where I took time off to take the
daily cash receipts to the bank. I ask you to go with me ...as I
went the other day ... to a Veterans Hospital and look those men -
with their mangled bodies - in the eye, and tell THEM they didn't
hold a job!
You go with me to the Space Program at NASA and go, as I have gone,
to the widows and orphans of Ed White, Gus Grissom and Roger
Chaffee ... and you look those kids in the eye and tell them that
their DADS didn't hold a job.
You go with me on Memorial Day and you stand in Arlington National
Cemetery, where I have more friends buried than I'd like to remember,
and you watch those waving flags. You stand there, and you think
about this Nation, and you tell ME that those people didn't have a
I'll tell you, Howard Metzenbaum, (nay,the perpetrators of the
existing mess), you should be on your knees every day of your life
thanking God that there were some men - SOME MEN - who held a REAL
job. And they required a dedication to a purpose - and a love of
country and a dedication to duty - that was more important than life
itself. And their self-sacrifice is what made this country
I HAVE held a job, Howard! --- What about you?'

"When You Go Home
Tell Them Of Us & Say,
For Your Tomorrow
We Gave Our Today"
-Kohima War Cemetery

Anonymous said...

I Salute Ex-Gunner Bachan Singh

Rohit said...

And You, Maj Navdeep!!
It is a privilage knowing you.

kumar said...

Dear Maj Navdeep,
Thanks for the info. We deeply mourn the demise of the soldier who fought the odds throughout his life in the form of enemy(WW II) and the 'enemies within'. There may be hundreds of Bachan singhs in this thankless nation, Who is going to help them. God save this country.

Anonymous said...

May the Soul of Gnr Bachan Singh rest in peace - someday, hopefully, this NATION will remember its REAL fallen heroes and not the present set of REEL bollywood and cricket icons....lets just pray that this nation does not have to go through the humiliation of another 1962 to realize that - JAI HIND...

Anonymous said...

I deeply mourn for gunner Bachhan Singh
May his soul rest in peace
I only hope that our system doesnot make many more bachhan singhs to suffer as he had

Anonymous said...

This nation is really short sighted. Lets us stand up as united a Force and pay our respects to the "UNSUNG HEROES" of this Nation. Ex-Gnr Bachan Singh lived to the tradition of FORCES -fight till the LAST. whether it was en on battle field or the Very own Govt system. "May his soul rest in peace."

bv rao said...

I deply mourn the death of Ex-Gunner Bachan Singh; May his soul rest in peace. Also, I pray God to bless you for all that you are doing for the cause of members of Armed Forces.

Vikrant said...

A Salute from an Officer in Indain Navy To this Brave soldier who showed everyone and set an example that an armed force personnel would never give up whatever may come. and even if he has to lay his life he would achieve it. I dont mourn on his death but i am proud that now i have one more example in my life to look forward for achieving goals.

I applaud his efforts and i mourn for all those who cannot recognize his agony and his pain.

Thanks for sharing such a persons life with us!!

Anonymous said...

May I through this blog request all brother officers to give their views on course of action to be adopted if govt turns down our justified demands.
1.Be objective.
2.Keep org constraints in mind.