Friday, June 12, 2009

The Legend Lives On

In continuation of my previous post, let me share some more interesting facts about Col Babbar's life as sent to me by his grandson Mr. Neerav.

Col HKS Babbar was born in a hindu family in Lahore, now in Pakistan. His mother often visited the city Gurudwara(a Sikh shrine). Once she fell very seriously ill and a Granthi (a Sikh priest) from the gurudwara came to see her. He told Col Babbar's father to devote the eldest son to the Gurus. Col Babbar, aged 14 or 15 years at that time willingly became a sikh and grew his hair. He studied at Khalsa college Lahore where he was elected as the president by the students. The principal of his college was so impressed by the persona of this young man that one day, while addressing the students of the college, he called him on to the stage and gave him the title 'BABBAR' (synonymous with LION). Thus he changed his name in the official records from Hari Krishan Singh Dewan to Hari Krishan Singh Babbar. The principal was the one who persuaded him to join the Indian Army. Before leaving for the military training his mother took a promise from him that he would never drink and gamble. He was known to be a staunch teetotaller in his friends' circle. No one ever dared to force a drink on him. When he joined Indian Military Academy he would find it rather difficult to manage his hair. He would take a lot of time in tying his turban and would always get late for the morning drill (as he was not born in a sikh family so he was not trained properly in tying a turban). One day he took permission from his mother and went to the Gurudwara, apologised before the Granth Sahib and got his hair cut. Despite that he didn't change his religious belief and remained a true Sikh and lived a life based on the principles of Sikhism. His wife and children remained the followers of the Hindu faith.

Mr. Neerav says that he was told this story by his grand mother when one day, many years back, they all were going through the family album. The album contained Col Babbar's photographs in turban during his initial days in IMA.


Reflections said...

I love to read the life-stories of the courageous men who fought for our country. Different backgrounds, different Faith, different ideologies but ONE protect our country.

Thank U for telling us more abt Col Babbar's life!!!!!

Mampi said...

THanks again Balvinder, for bringing to us Col Babbar's story. The facts are touching, and so inspiring-a babbar, a devoted son and an inspiring life-we are proud to know you who knew him.

BK Chowla said...

Such faujis are the ones we should be proud of

Aparna said...

The army life is so fascinating. Every person has so many priceless stories to tell. Thank you for bringing this story to us. Looking forward to more.

Ash said...

...a very nice post indeed, thanks for posting these unknown facts about Col Babbar. Post commissioning,when I had visited Faizabad, people in the regimental center had great regard for his good deeds. At that time also he was selflessly serving the society by practicing homeopathy and providing medical aid to the needy..
A salute to the great soul.

Anonymous said...

This was beautiful and touching to Read..

What lies behind the persona one sees..fascinating is the word for it..
and what a story behind the name Babbar!:)

a salute to this great soldier in the olive green!:)

How do we know said...

Wonderful! He was a man of integrity, as most men in uniform are.. except a few..

Happy said...

Hi Bhaji,
It looks like u faujis have problem with long hair and Turban or just excuse :). Although i remember mummy was not that happy and i doubt she gave u permission happily. Take care. Still waiting what happened after Trivendurum or bhabhi is not giving u enough time to write ;).

Balvinder Singh said...

Nancy, yes when the mission is protection of the country the boundaries of caste ,creed , clour and culture just vanish.

Mampi, i was fortunate enough to have worked with Col Babbar, though for a very brief period.

Mr. Chowla, you are right. such men do us proud.

Aparna, Army experience is a unique one and i am fortunate enough to have gone through it all. Yes i will continue writing about that here.

Ashwani, officers of Col Babbar's stature are very rare. He had iron will but a golden heart. He can be appropriately called a 'saint and a soldier'.

Abhilasha, fascinating is the correct word for the life stories of such legends.

HDWK, Col Babbar, a man of integrity beyond doubt. And yes, exceptions are every where.

Happy, God has exempted the faujis from following rituals like keeping long or short hair. For a fuaji 'karma' is 'dharma'.

Yes parents were never comfortable with my keeping short hair so, as you know, the first time i got a 'hair cut' during college days i had to grow hair again

but during my commando training i had to convince them to allow me to keep short hair.

Yes Happy, not getting enough time to write on my blog these days. No, your bhabi is not the reason rather having her here with me is a great relief from forced bachelor hood. I think God read my poem.

'तुम हो एक हवा का झोंका'

and arranged our staying together.

Yes, very interesting stint of Ladakh coming ahead and fortunately i have the photographs too. Will advance shortly.

my space said...

It is so so inspiring to read about such I wish that working in the defence is made mandatory for all young would be so inspiring for them..

Gazal said...

This reminds me about the tradition followed by many Sikh families i.e sending their first borns into the army.In an age when pay packets dictate the choice of profession,its amazing to see such traditions still breathing somewhere.

Balvinder Singh said...

Arti you are right. If the service in the Army is made mendatory for the young adults then not only the youth of the country would become physically, mentally and morally strong before joining their regular jobs but the job market will also be benefited by getting readymade leaders.

Balvinder Singh said...

Gazal, you are right, not very long ago almost every family in a Punjab village had at least one member in the Army. That is the very reason that Punjab has contributed three infantary regiments (Sikh Regiment, Sikh Light Infantary and the Punjab Regiment) to the nation.

But sadly the trend is changing and the young Punjabi boys are headed towards, Canada, Australia, or the Gulf.

sonal said...

if we cud know more bout him....m just being curious