Wednesday, April 24, 2024

War Heroes and Widows Gather at Chandimandir Military Station for Triennial Convention

by Saloni Poddar

In a heartening display of camaraderie and remembrance, aged war heroes and war widows from across the nation gathered at the Chandimandir Military Station for their triennial convention-cum-reunion. The event served as a poignant trip down memory lane, rekindling tales of valor, sacrifice, and the indomitable spirit that defines the military community.

Amidst the echoes of old-time stories of war and gallantry, personal bonds were reaffirmed, and experiences shared as members of the War Decorated India (WDI) came together to discuss matters concerning their welfare and well-being.

The inaugural session of the convention witnessed an inspiring address by Lt Gen Manoj Katiyar, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, who paid tribute to the acts of gallantry and sacrifices of soldiers, assuring unwavering support to the WDI.

Among the distinguished attendees were 32 recipients of gallantry awards and 28 widows of decorated soldiers, including descendants of two Victoria Cross winners, Ram Sarup Singh of the Punjab Regiment, and Nand Singh of the Sikh Regiment, both decorated during the Second World War in the Burma Theatre.

Highlighting the changing dynamics within the WDI, Lt Gen GS Sihota (retd), President of WDI, noted a decline in membership over the years, with the average age of members, including those from the 1999 Kargil conflict, standing at 75 years. Despite this, the resolve to uphold the legacy of gallantry remains steadfast.

With a nod to the spirit of solidarity, Brig SS Ahluwalia of the Grenadiers reminisced about the capture of territory from Pakistani control near Those in Ladakh during the 1971 Indo-Pak war. His vivid recollection of capturing an enemy post under intense fire serves as a testament to the valor ingrained in every soldier.

Equally poignant was the account of Commander KS Panwar, who served aboard INS Vikrant during the 1971 conflict. His narrative of the aircraft carrier’s operations on the eastern seaboard and the daring bombing missions carried out by its aircraft paints a vivid picture of bravery in the face of adversity.

Established in 1991, the WDI serves as a beacon of support for war heroes and their families, providing assistance and resolving challenges they encounter. Lily Bawa, one of the founding members of WDI, reflected on the association’s humble beginnings and its evolution into a pillar of strength for the war-decorated community.

As the convention draws to a close, the echoes of shared experiences and unwavering camaraderie linger, reaffirming the timeless bond that unites these heroes and widows in their journey of remembrance and resilience.

Saloni Poddar

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