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Dear Members of the Corps of Signals fratenity,
With grief we are posting details of our colleagues who leave for their heavenly abode. We request members to forward their "shradhanjali". Kindly share with us the photographs, fond memories and association.
We await tributes from associates/ course mates for publication.
Blog Team

RMS Tributes
  • Amar Jawan: Roll of Honour of the Indian Armed Forces
  • The Kargil Memorial
  • Tuesday, January 19, 2010

    Brig SK Datta

    A belated obituary to Brig SK Datta by Col PK Gautam (Retd) Gunner

    It is only on 15 January 2010 that I came to know that Brigadier SK Datta has passed away in 2008. Brigadier Sukhwindar Singh (Retd) happened to come to the IDSA for a seminar. On being introduced and coming to know that he is from the Corps of Signals my first reaction was to enquire if he knew Brigadier Datta? Surely he did and he then informed me that he was no more.

    From a former army officer of the Regiment of Artillery this was one unforgettable gap in information and communication technology. However I hope the readers will pardon this delayed response and I wish all strength to his wife and daughter Diviya. We only served together for about nine months but that was enough to record his sterling qualities.

    Brig SK Datta joined HQ 28 Infantry Division as Colonel Q in its temporary location at Nimu in Ladakh in 1988 after having commanded 1 Armoured Divisional Signal Regiment. Those days the division was responsible for both Siachen glacier and Kargil sector. Logistic responsibility involved both air and road maintenance by fixed wing aircraft and helicopters of both the army aviation and air force units– in total a tonnage of 720 tons per year to be delivered on helicopter maintained posts by 15 of the army with another 20 of the air force helicopters of the Cheetah variety. Lower altitudes were looked after by air dropping or landing by MI 17 helicopters and transports aircraft of the AN -12, AN- 32 and Il-76 types. Road tonnages were by hundreds of army trucks beefed by civil hired trucks. Concepts like daily tonnages, daily off take , advanced winter stocking, movement, maintenance, accommodation were terms we had to deal with inclusion casualty evacuation on a daily basis mostly from the glacier or road accidents.

    Those were the high intensity artillery fire days in the glacier. After recapture of Bana top and in successfully having repulsed attacks on Saltoro glacier till 1988 by India, the central glacier was the next area of action in Operation Ibex where Pakistan was attempting to capture some heights. Constant artillery duals with movement of men, material and ammunition was the norm.

    The then Colonel Datta setup a logistic command post and with help from mathematically inclined personnel from the artillery brigade the cell became the hub of all activities. Rather information was at times sought even by the General Staff Branch from this cell. In one sense it was very much like a modern “ call centre” . Colonel Datta used to say “good staff officers first have to be good regimental officers”. Under the generalship of the then Major General VR Raghavan, we thus performed our silent service with our Colonel Q who looked more like a regimental officer than a staff officer as was also borne out by his tall and well built figure and handle bar moustaches. He was the least bureaucratic the way some military officers take pleasure in being one. The atmosphere in the division was also different. It had only one mess for all officers and all officer transients were welcomed for meals in the mess.

    Movement by road was also vital as 80 per cent of tonnages were involved from Pathankot till Base camp. That time the relations between Ladakh Buddhist Association with muslims of the valley was showing signs of strain due to local politics. The manifestation of this was frequent clashes and assault by Buddhist on Muslim truck drivers who were bringing supplies up. Colonel Datta was the first to reach those sites and facilitated conflict resolution.

    He motivated his staff to undertake weekly visits in a 4 ton vehicle to negotiate Khardungla to keep the Border Roads Organisation aware that their good job is being checked and appreciated by staff at Divisional HQ. Rather, unlike a stereotypical staff pushing files in their “bukharied” offices, what he showed was the importance of being practical and visiting scene of logistic action for a better grasp. It is on his initiative that the div staff also accompanied MI-17 dropping sorties to get the feel. Facing hardships as those of the troops was message that he gave and we as Staff respected his leadership in being outward bound and not chair bound or not being commanded by our chair comfort and telephones. Frequent visits to Khardungla also made me understand deployment of RR – which “ fires” a beam much like gunners “fire” the gun.

    He also understood the need for rest and recuperation for his staff. He urged us to take one day off and visit various Buddhist monasteries and natural spots of interest in the region. This gave his staff a good opportunity to know the local culture. Due to his initiative I with the ADC could walk down the frozen Zanskar river to Chelling village and see for myself how artisans in remote villages inscribe the Buddhist mantra on stones “Om Mani Padme Hum”.

    Later I was in touch with him via snail mail new year cards for few years, but in 1995 when I got posted to Project Management Organisation, Artillery Combat Command and Control System in the EDP enclave I felt the need to quickly confide in him that how clueless I was about terms such as the “nine transportation layers, protocols and throughput's”. I rang him up and he said that he was an “unparh”. He had dealt with carrier quads, engineering and operations– grass root soldiering and only well educated officers could tell me what those esoteric terms mean. I was so happy to learn from him that digitization was then a new and emerging field. Though I privately thought that like Guderian who was a Signal officer, Brigadier Datta had all soldierly ingredients to be the new Indian Guderian of the networked centric warfare and RMA era as he was in an Electronic Warfare Group.

    On his practical advice, I then got hold of books from the CIDSS library. The work involved lot of theory. I did catch a few important concepts so much so that on Wednesdays when all were in civvies, some casual visitors in the EDP mess at lunch thought I was from the Corps of Signals.

    One lesson of camaraderie which he allowed me to carry the day in Nimu was passing instructions to the artillery brigade to organize Bara Khana for incoming and outgoing units in transit. I had learnt its importance during induction for the Bangladesh war. This became a big hit and later when I left the Div HQ to join my unit de-inducting I enjoyed good lunch as OC Advance party at Kargil, courtesy the local artillery unit.

    Thus Brigadier SK Datta with whom I served on staff was paradoxically to me a role model of a regimental officer- the bedrock of sinews of an army.

    Col (Retd) PK Gautam is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, IDSA, New Delhi.

    Saturday, January 9, 2010

    Mrs. I Jayakaran

    Brig G Natarajan has paid very apt and glowing tributes to Mrs. Jayakaran. I had the good fortune of being a student of Col Jayakaran during SODE. In later years we were posted as instructors at the same time at the MCTE. The Jayakarans became family friends. Ajit, Mrs. Jayakaran and the children jelled together.

    We spent many happy times enjoying Mrs. Jayakaran’s hospitality. She was a very gracious hostess and brought cheer where ever she was. A very popular lady amongst the Signallers, who so ever came in contact with her felt so happy and at home.

    Her passing away is a great loss for all who knew her and in particular for Col Jayakaran, the children and the extended family.

    We pray for her soul to rest in peace and for the Family to be strong and bear this immense loss with fortitude.

    Harbhajan Singh
    Lt Gen
    Former SO-in-C and Senior Col Comdt

    Friday, January 8, 2010

    Mrs I Jayakaran

    Mrs. Jaya Jayakaran remains one among the most noblest of the ladies whom I had the good fortune to meet in my young days. The most stressed appointment in Corps History Will remain that of the ADSO’s who served in Army HQ Signal Regiment during 1960-63. Jaya remained a stress reliever. She made it a point to lighten our burden with her sweet smile, innocent jokes and wholesome tasty food. She made special cakes and sweets for us during Xmas and festive occasions. She helped us and guided us in Signals Mela. The burden of “non working Tape Relay” and the “never Getting Through HF” were barred from entering her house in Parliament Street.

    Later I was lucky to meet her at MCTE Mhow in 1975. A very short stay, but left a very deep sense of attachment to her for she carried her self with the same unassuming, warm and generous outlook to life.

    Her departure will remain a very personal loss to all those who came across her. What cannot be cured has to be endured. May GOD give strength to Col Jayakaran and near and dear ones to bear the irreparable loss .

    I always felt that Jaya believed strongly “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    Brig (Retd) G Natarajan, Signals

    We the Chandigarh Mercury Circle are grieved at the sudden demise of Mrs Jayakaran. Kindly accept our heartfelt condolences. We pray for peace to the departed soul.
    Baldev Dhillon

    Monday, January 4, 2010

    Mrs Israel Jayakaran

    Dear Signallers,
    I am sad to inform you about the demise of Mrs Israel Jayakaran, wife of Col Israel Jayakaran, Signals, at 2300 hrs, on 03 Jan 10, in hospital at Chennai.
    She was 78.
    Next of Kin: Col Israel Jayakaran, Veteran.
    Funeral: In the forenoon on 05 Jan 09.
    Please see the email received from Col Israel Jayakaran appended below.
    Those of you who wish to write a "Shradhanjli", may kindly send it for being posted to our weblog -
    We pray to Almighty to give peace to the departed soul and strength to all near ones and dear ones to bear this irreparable loss.
    Chander Kamboj

    My wife passed away in the hospital at 2300 hours on 03 Jan 10. She was 78. Funeral in the forenoon of 05 Jan 2009. Request inform all concerned.
    Israel Jayakaran