I heard the news first on my school WhatsApp group. Didn’t realise till a few hours later that CDS Gen Rawat was on board the chopper that went down….. Started scouring news portals, TV channels and Social media for updates. It was grim news from every source. 14 people onboard the helicopter that had taken off from Sulur.
Appa had been posted at Sulur for a couple of years. We went past the Air Force Station a few years back when we were in Coimbatore as part of the ShikshaDaan Yatra.
The wreckage didn’t give any hope but well, there is always space for a miracle. I guess, as a nation we held our collective breath and hoped for Gen Rawat to survive the crash.
Some of his ex-colleagues spoke of Karma, declared him gone hours before any official confirmation and celebrated with a cake. I don’t know what solace these actions gave them, but they lost respect and all the goodwill the Army uniform accorded them. I won’t sully my blog post on Gen Rawat by writing their names but everyone knows who they are.
Gen Bipin Rawat
The Wikipedia page Gen Bipin Laxman Singh Rawat doesn’t do justice to the 3rd generation soldier. Here is a infographic that explains all the honours and decorations that he wore.
Gen Rawat was inducted into his alma mater, The Command and General Staff College’s International Hall of Fame in the US in 2019.
Gen Rawat gets Veera Vanakkam
The dreaded news did come through later in the day… Gen Rawat, his wife and 11 others didn’t make it. Gp Capt Varun is critical. I don’t know why it feels like a very personal loss. We have never met Gen Bipin Rawat, didn’t know him personally, but he got noticed always. When he became Chief of Army Staff, he superseded two other Lt. Generals. There were a lot of murmurs about this being unprecedented and the Modi Govt playing favourites.
Neither was it unprecedented nor the Govt played favourites. The man just deserved it through and through. He was a star right from the get go. Won the Sword of Honour at IMA by graduating at the top of his class.
In a moving tribute to this great soldier and leader of the greatest armed forces in the world, people lined the streets of Ooty when his body was being taken to the airport. They gave a “Maveeran” a befitting “Veera Vanakkam”. Maveeran – Great Soldier; Veera Vanakkam – Respect, Shraddhanjali for a military hero.
Adding my Veera Vanakkam through this post to all the 12 armed forces personnel and Mrs. Madhulika Rawat who passed away in the helicopter crash on Dec 8th. 🙏🏿 🕉 Shanti.