//Defence Express Correspondent//
The War veterans and serving soldiers drawn from various parts of the country gathered at Saugor for two days on 04-05 November to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of The Mahar Regiment to which they belonged.
Heels clicked and hands raised in smartest salutes as former army Commanders and a galaxy of other officers assembled to renew their association with Mahar Regiment which completed seventy five years of valiant existence. However, the absence of General KV Krishna Rao, former army Chief and Honorary Colonel of the Mahar Regiment, who left for heavenly abode this January leaving a void in the lives of the Mahar fraternity was deeply felt.
A glorious era of The Mahar Regiment came to a remarkable and stupendous end and gave way to another and brighter chapter on 1st October as the Regiment turned Seventy Five.
Before the start of the celebrations, wreaths were laid at the war memorial by the chief guest, Lieutenant General BC Nanda. There are 26 Roll of Honour pillars in the memorial on which the names of martyrs of various military operations have been inscribed. This was followed by inauguration of a Clock Tower by Colonel KS Bakshi, AVSM, fondly called Kit Bakshi, the longest serving Centre Commandant of the Mahar Regiment and of the Indian Army. The inaugurations continued with the New Gymnasium inaugurated by Colonel PS Ganapathi, a war hero of operation Pawan and recipient of Mahavir Chakra and New Education Block inaugurated by Lieutenant General BC Nanda,(Retired), dedicated to Late General KV Krishna Rao.
The high point of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations was General Dalbir Singh, Chief of Army Staff, presenting the ‘President’s Colours’ to 20 Mahar and 21 Mahar Battalion of the Mahar Regiment on behalf of the Honorable President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee.
To commemorate this historic event, the Chief of Army Staff released a“First Day Cover”. The Chief of Army Staff also released a pictorial Biography on Late General KV Krishna Rao, PVSM and comic book on Major R Parameswaran, Param Vir Chakra in an impressive Book Release ceremony.
The Army Chief also felicitated outstanding personnel of the Regiment during an award ceremony. Thereafter, Army Chief alongwith President AWWA, Mrs Namita Suhag interacted with the Veer Naris and Veterans during the ceremony.
The reunion celebrations saw veterans coming from all parts of the country to meet their brothers in arms and listen to the tales of glory and valour. During the reunion, some veterans had unique opportunity of meeting their old comarades after a long gap of 40-50 years. They were in high spirits and embraced each other with joy. Capt Bruce McIntosh, a 93 year old British veteran of the Mahar regiment traversed seven seas to form part of a history of seventy five glorious years. The Regiment had also held various regional reunions at the catchment areas of the regiment during the Platinum Jubilee year which culminated into a mega event at the Regiment Centre. The veterans appreciated the concept of regional get-togethers.
The reunion function left the guests mesmerised and enthralled with displays by Sky-diving, Para-motor, Daredevil motorcycle riders, Kalaripayattu, Bhangra, Lezium and Malkhamb teams displaying the true spirit of Unity in Diversity of the Regiment. A movie on the 75 glorious years of the Regiment “Vijaypath ke Sipahi” was also screened for the guests which took them down the memory lane reminiscing the glorious past and bright present of the Mahar Regiment.
A special Sainik Sammelan was held at the newly constructed Gymnasium where the achievements of the regiment were highlighted and outstanding achievers were felicitated, the major ones being the Mount Kamet expedition, Teesta White Water Rafting expedition and other individual achievements. As a unique gesture, the Regiment felicitated the three generation officers and men of the regiment by inviting them for the Jubilee and presenting them with a memoire scroll. Lt Gen BC Nanda, PVSM, AVSM (Retired) also awarded the scholarships.
The Mess function saw unveiling of a Crystal Trophy presented by the veterans of the Regiment on the occasion of Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
The Mahars which grew from being referred to as Robinhoods of the forests and acquitting themselves legendarily as the Mahar Machine gunners have come a long way scaling new heights of victories and creating records in extraordinary feats, celebrated their Platinum Jubilee with great pomp and panache which shall be archived in the glorious history of the Regiment and remembered in the years to come.