Obituary General Bipin Rawat

A down-to-earth General, at times misunderstood

In the past two years, he was like a man on a mission to kickstart jointness of tri-services

A down-to-earth General, at times misunderstood

Sometime last year, in an informal chat, General Bipin Rawat said that on retirement he would like to settle down in his village in Uttarakhand, and go ?back to the roots?.

General Bipin Rawat, CDS (March 16, 1958 — Dec 8, 2021)

Ajay Banerjee

Sometime last year, in an informal chat, General Bipin Rawat said that on retirement he would like to settle down in his village in Uttarakhand, and go “back to the roots”.

Also read: General Bipin Rawat survived copter crash 6 yrs ago

Though General Rawat’s father had built a house in Noida, he never seemed keen on a post-retirement life in the Delhi suburb. Today, fate tragically willed otherwise. The often-misunderstood General Rawat wasn’t like the “officious” military officer who would not go beyond the strait-jacket approach. He could be informal and spoke his mind publicly, his words and actions were at times misunderstood and misinterpreted.

General Rawat faced flak from veterans on the social media over the integrated theatre command and jointness of the three services. The CDS’s plans on ‘cutting the flab’, that is reducing the non-essential manpower, or his orders as Army Chief asking young officers to use military guestrooms and not hotels for overnight stay led to debates. In the past two years, he was like a man on a mission to kick-start the jointness of the three forces. Often the General cited military operations in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, during the 1971 war to emphasise what joint operations should stand for. If anything rankled him, it was the archaic administrative structures and slow decision-making, and he brutally tackled these.

In 2016, General Rawat was appointed the Army Chief amid a controversy over his seniority. He had superseded two senior officers to occupy the Army Chief’s position. He then rose to become the first CDS towards the end of 2019. The government had amended the rules to extend the age of superannuation of CDS from 62 years to 65 years, paving the way for his appointment to the post.

The last I met him was four days ago on Navy Day (December 4) during an At Home by the Navy Chief. The formal ceremony had just ended, the President and the Defence Minister had left. The setting was somewhat informal. General Rawat asked: “How are you, when is the book coming.” He was referring to the book which The Tribune is producing to honour the war heroes of 1971. General Rawat had contributed a message to be incorporated in the book.

Just a few feet away was Madhulika Rawat with a group of officers’ wives. Like any wife of a senior ‘fauji’ officer, she called in the younger ladies for a group picture.

On seeing another journalist and I close by, Madhulika Rawat called out: “Could you guys please take a picture?” My reporter colleague took Madhulika Rawat’s phone to click the image. That was the last I saw of the Rawats.

Biggest military loss in crash since 1963 Poonch tragedy

New Delhi: In November 1963, an IAF helicopter was on its way to Poonch in J&K when it crashed, with distinguished officers on board, making it the biggest loss of military leadership in a single accident. Among the six officers killed were Lt Gen Daulat Singh, Air Vice Marshal EW Pinto, Lt Gen Bikram Singh and Maj Gen KND Nanavati. — TNS

Who could be next CDS? Gen Naravane is the senior-most

Chief of Defence Staff is a one-point adviser to the government on matters related to the three services. The government is expected to appoint a new CDS after Gen Rawat’s death. Of the present Chiefs, General MM Naravane is the senior-most military officer in the country. General Naravane is scheduled to retire as Chief of Army in April at the age of 62.

Tribune Shorts


Top Stories

Covid deaths in third wave majorly lower than second due to high vaccine uptake

Covid deaths in third wave majorly lower than second due to high vaccine uptake

Bed occupancy in Delhi stable despite rise in new and active...

Maharashtra to reopen schools from Monday as Omicron cases fall

Maharashtra to reopen schools from Monday as Omicron cases fall

Schools from Grade 1 to Grade 12 to reopen, says education m...

China's PLA abducts boy from inside Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh, says state MP Tapir Gao

Indian Army seeks assistance from PLA to locate and return missing Arunachal youth

Arunachal Pradesh's MP Tapir Gao said on Wednesday that PLA ...

Pregnant forest guard pulled by hair, kicked in Maharashtra; watch shocking video

Pregnant forest guard pulled by hair, kicked in Maharashtra; watch shocking video

Woman was beaten up by couple in, duo held; minister promise...

Cities

View All