by Veteran Colonel RB Gowardhan
I was commissioned into 75 Medium Regiment (Basantar River,) a great unit which participated in 1971 war with elan and earned laurels. The Regiment had a unique combination of soldiers, Brahmin, Jat and South Indian Class. Being a Medium Regiment, the unit had all tall and well-built gunners. The unit won most of the sports trophies and excelled in all training competitions. The unit had moved from J & K to Gurgaon. Due to its proximity to New Delhi, unit was posted with full complement of officers. During those days it was an honour and privilege to be the Adjutant of the Regiment.
Adjutant of the Artillery unit is responsible for administration and assist the Commanding Officer in administration, training and discipline. In the battle and training, the Adjutant’s duty is to control and coordinate fire of 18 guns of the Regiment.
I was lucky to have all three officer GPOs (Gun Position Officers) responsible to control fire of each battery and ready to assist me in all regimental duties. The first one was Captain Paramjit Singh Ralhan, a handsome sardar who graduated from IMA as Direct Entry. He had decent manners and a smiling face. Second was Lieutenant Koduvath Reji, Sainik School and NDA brat, who was enthusiastic and bubbling with energy, sometimes exceeded limit of his enthusiasm. The third one was Lieutenant Gulshan Rai Kausik, matured service entry officer with boxer built and red eyes. His looks were sufficient to make any soldier to behave. All three were josh machines and when ordered can produce anything.
Ralhan was of a great help to control discipline of Brahmin battery and to organize any event in the unit or officer’s mess. Ralhan with his diligence and demure resolved any kind of situation or indiscipline with his cool mind and report “Sir, no problem, matter is resolved.” I remember one incident, where the problem was created by a rogue soldier. Ralhan handled the situation exceedingly well and disciplinary action was taken against the defaulter.
Reji used to follow the dictum that as youngster commit any mistake but keep Adjutant informed. Therefore, it was quite often that I used to jump from the chair when he used to come and inform “Sir, chhotasa galati ho gaya.(Sir,I Committed a small mistake.)” The so-called small mistake used to be slapping Superintendent of Police or bashing up BSF Dy Commandant. It wasn’t for the wrong reasons, but we had to sort out the issues.
On 31 Oct 1984, Regiment’s column was ordered to move and take responsibility of security of Teen Murty Bhawan, where mortal remains of our late Prime Minister, Mrs Indira Gandhi were kept. Regiment was also responsible for controlling VIP visitors, who came there to pay homage to late Prime Minister. Reji, stopped Inspector General of Delhi Police, who along with family was sneaking through VIP gate. This resulted into arguments with the Police Officer asking, “What are you doing here and who are you to stop me?” Reji told that officer, “Had police been working properly, Army would not have come to control this.” This was being heard and observed by Minister-in-Charge there Mr Shivraj Patil and he appreciated Reji for his dedication to duty and rebuked Police Officer. Later, the Regiment received an appreciation letter and cash prize from the Minister.
Kaushik, with his presence of mind could handle any situation. Once the Regiment was playing final match of Kabaddi with Rocket Regiment, the hosts. They had arranged referees who were biased and obvious that they were helping Rocket Regiment. Our soldiers could not tolerate that injustice and warned referees. But referees again gave a wrong decision in favour of Rocket Regiment and our soldiers could no longer bear this injustice. They entered ground and caught hold of one of the referees. This resulted into commotion and big fight broke out between the soldiers of both Regiments. Adjutant of Rocket Regiment and I intervened to control the situation but we too faced the wrath of fighting soldiers. Lieutenant Kaushik fearlessly entered mob and with his commanding voice ordered Savdhan. To everyone’s surprise, we found all soldiers stood to attention. Then he ordered “Rocket Regiment dahine mood and Medium Regiment baye mood; tej chal.(Rocker Regiment Right Turn and Medium Regiment Left Turn; Quick March.)” Soldiers followed the orders and moved out of the field. The worst was averted.
All three officers were real assets in our Regimental life and during the training too. During firing of those monster 130 mm guns, I had to be careful and watchful as in Artillery they say that, once ordered and fired round/rounds of gun/guns cannot be corrected and result is depicted on the target. As an Adjutant, whenever all guns were ordered to fire together, I had to control my GPOs to ensure all guns fired accurately and in unison. As soon as I used to pass order for firing and report ready. Reji, who was most chatak(quick,) reacted and made his guns ready and report, thereafter, would not stop to point out mistakes of others if any. Ralhan, who was as cool as penguin checked, rechecked and took his time. To keep an atmosphere warm in his command post, I used to pass on heat online of fire control net. Kaushik, with good sense of hearing and watchful eyes used to take time and get ready. The end result was accurate and coordinated fire.
There is lot to write about them. I can never forget their contribution to maintain josh, discipline, and winning competitions. All three are now well settled – Ralhan in USA, Reji in Canada, and Kaushik in South Delhi. I wish them very best for their endeavours.