Col Manu Satti bid farewell to this world to be with his creator on January 25, 2023 at his home in Kakinada due to cardiac arrest. It came as a shock to me as I have been interacting with him through my blogs on various subjects.
He was a gentleman to the core who cherished great values, but was physically one among the toughest soldiers I came across.
Colonel Manu Satti graduated from Army Cadet College (ACC) and was a course senior to us at the Indian Military Academy. He was ever smiling and quiet. He was competing in the final bout of the inter-company boxing championship. His opponent was Gentleman Cadet (GC) Hamilton from Botswana. GC Hamilton was better built than GC Satti.
There was a psychological game being played against GC Satti – both by the GCs from the Hamilton’s company and by fellow GCs from Botswana – by claiming that GC Satti will not last the first round. Many made fun of him, teased him and he replied with his charming smile. GC Satti remained cool as a cucumber but was obviously boiling inside which everyone realised after what happened on the boxing ring.
Within five seconds of the gong sounding the commencement of the first round, GC Hamilton was on the mat, writhing in pain. Luckily the medical specialist at the Military Hospital Dehradun realised the seriousness of the injury suffered by GC Hamilton. He was immediately evacuated by helicopter to Command Hospital, Lucknow, and GC Hamilton’s life was saved. GC Satti’s punch was so powerful that GC Hamilton had a rupture of his small intestine and suffered heavy internal bleeding.
Colonel Satti was commissioned to 36 (Maratha) Medium Regiment in June 1982 when the Regiment was located at Meerut. We shared a good bonhomie as we were Second Lieutenants in the same Artillery Brigade. We competed fiercely on the games field and during various technical competitions, but our friendship was everlasting.
Generally, our Regiment, 75 Medium Regiment (Basantar River) used to comfortably win basketball and other games against 36 (M) Medium Regiment. But for a change, in 1985, 36 (M) Medium convincingly defeated 75 Medium. Colonel Satti was the Team Captain and the Marathas slogged for almost three months, practising morning and evening, ultimately to win the inter-regiment championship.
Colonel Mahavir Singh, our Commanding Officer played with our team. He had developed an immense liking for Colonel Satti – could be that he saw us, the Subalterns of our Regiment enjoying the company of Colonel Satti and that he was leading and coaching most sports teams of 36 (M) Medium Regiment.
In the year 1986, Colonel Satti’s father’s leg was amputated and required an artificial limp at Artificial Limb Centre (ALC) Pune. At that time, a vacancy for an officer to attend Field Engineering (FE) Course at College of Military Engineering (CME) Pune, was allotted to our Regiment. During a Commanding Officers’ conference, Colonel Mahavir came to know about his case and our Brigade Commander wanted a change of the course allotment from 75 Medium to 36 Medium.
Colonel Mahavir readily agreed once he came to know that it was Colonel Satti’s father. Such type of Commanding Officers is rare to be found. I was the nominated officer for the course and I was very happy that I could help Colonel Satti at a crucial time.
Now, Colonel Satti must be smiling at us from the heavens. Rest In Peace Buddy. We will cherish the memories and live on.