Thursday, May 28, 2009

Inheriting the Soldierly Spirit

I would like to share a response from Mr. Neerav, who responded after reading my blog. Mr. Neerav is the grandson of Col HKS Babbar about whom i had made a mention in the comment window of my earlier post "So Far SO Good"

Mr. Neerav's response :-

Dear Sir,

I am very grateful to you for holding my grandfather in such high regard. I feel that he belonged more to his regiment than to us. Thanks so much for your kind words for my grandad. He has been my role model since childhood, but to my misfortune just when I was a grown up boy and wanted to learn and take a lot from him, we lost him. He left for heavenly abode in 2002. I have heard a lot about him from various people. It was an honour for our family when General NC Vij along with other senior officers flew from Delhi to attend his funeral at Meerut.The fact that the Chief of the Army Staff came to an officer's funeral who had retired almost 25 years back as a Colonel made me realise how much he is/was respected in the army. All funeral arrangements were made by a Dogra TA Battalion stationed at Meerut. It was somewhat like a state honour. We owe a lot to the Dogra Regiment which gave him so much of respect and honour during his last rites. My grandmother often told me as a child of my grandfather's experiences in Nagaland, and also about the true story of an award on his head by the naga chief. My grandad was full of humility and was such a humble man that he never made me or anyone in the family feel of his greatness that he had earned. We always heard of him from others acquainted to him. He was a man of principles and belonged to a breed that is rare to find today. There is a small article published in The Tribune by an officer who was known to my granddad. The title is 'Soldierly Spirit', here's the link to this article
I once again thank you sir from the bottom of my heart for your kind words about my granddad on your blog. I look forward to a correspondence with you.

Warm Regards,


I was so much impressed by his response that i wanted to share the same with my blogger friends and therefore asked for his permission to do so. I once again received the following reply from him :-

Dear Sir,

My granddad once said to me that the biggest daan(in hindi) is Gupt Daan. If you do some thing good never boast about it. Keeping in view his principles, I am, as his grandson a little hesitant to boast about him on your blog. I'm comfortable talking about him to people who knew him. As far as you are concerned, you were known to him professionally, and u are completely free to write about him as you shared a strong regimental relationship with him.

Warm Regards


I was so much touched by his responses that i decided to publish them here. Reading the replies of Mr. Neerav, one can certainly conclude that this young man has truly inherited the "Soldierly Spirit" of his Grand Pa and is sure to emulate Col Babbar's principles in his own life.


BK Chowla said...

Neerav,truley has prroved to a Fauji's grandson.However,I wish Forces officers are generally given such respect which is visibly missing these days.They deserve better.

Renu said...

Neerav can set an example for today's youth, he himself is most fitting tribute to his grandfather.

J P Joshi said...

An absolutely fantastic read, and inheritance. Read the original comment too in your linked comment. Yes, such officers are legends and such legends are respected while in uniform and even after hanging up the uniform, even by the so called enemy. May his soul rest in peace.

Indyeah said...

This is such a beautiful , heartwarming post Sir..

like Chowla Sir said truly a fauji's grandson and as JP sir says what an inheritance!

thank you for sharing Sir..

Reflections said...

Thank for sharing this....

Beautiful & touching....a fitting tribute!!!!

Swaram said...

Lovely read. So nice to see such youth today. :)

Though Neerav has written that his grandpa was no more when he wanted to learn, he has got it all in blood and has grown to be a wonderful grandson. Hats Off!

How do we know said...

Neerav's second email says a lot more abt him than the first.. what a privilege to know of such people in these times!

Mampi said...

Neerav, But for Balvinder's post, we would never have known what a fine young man you are and what a great soul your grandpa has been. But for Balvinder's blog we would never have known what fine men our army has had.
salutes to you and your grandpa and many such men like him who have given us reason to feel proud of them all.
Thank you Balvinder, for posting it here.

Da Eternal Rebel said...

After reading the blog I went and read the article in The Tribune.

My salute to Col. Babbar

and cheers for Neerav !

Balvinder Singh said...

Mr. Chowla
Da Eternal Rebel

Thanks for your encouraging comments. Though I had published this post against the wishes of Mr. Neerav but i am sure he will appreciate my purpose of doing so which is echoed in all your comments above.

This post highlights the following:-

Firstly, that the true inheritance is not in the material wealth but in following the high values and principles of our elders.

Secondly, that we worship wrong heroes who merely enthrall the audiences/spectators on the silver screens/sports fields. They are actually doing it for earning money or name and fame. In the bargain we forget our real heroes who have or are ready to sacrifice their lives or comforts so that their countrymen can live in peace.

Thirdly, that there are great but very humble people who may be around us without our being aware of them.

And lastly that blogging is a great means of discovering and knowing about such present and past unsung heroes.

Capt N.S.Bisht said...

Hi Balli,
Great post (and related comments) about a 'larger-than-life' legend ! Who hasn't heard about Col Babbar ? Keep blogging man.

LazyKing said...

This is lovely and touching! We are proud of you both

my space said...

Balvinder its so heartening to read about such legends...and Neerav humility is one trait thats hard to find these days...You must be so so so proud of your grandpa na??

Jaideep said...

Dear Balvinder, your blog post on Col. HKS.Babbar brought back a flood of memories, very happy & pleasant ones at that. I stumbled upon your blog while Googling for HKS.Babbar. Lt.Col. HKS.Babbar was my Sqdn.Cdr. in 'Bravo' Sqdn, National Defence Academy Jan '65 - Jun '65. As a greenhorn first term cadet, he came across to my young mind as a father figure, someone who could be depended upon for guidance & help when needed. He was such an upright, smart & fair disciplinarian with a golden heart. He organised many social events, hikes & excursions during his tenure where his kind & benevolent qualities came forth. His 'Price on his head' reputation in Nagaland & his exploits in the 1960 Goa liberation operations made us very proud of him. I have never forgotten him over all these years & will never ever. I am saddened to hear of his demise in 2002. May his great soul R.I.P.