The mortal remains of Vice-Admiral(retd.) of the Naval Staff, Gulab Mohanlal Hiranandani who died here on Tuesday evening, were consigned to the flames at `Gurucharan’ premises on the banks of river Pampa at Malakkara in Pathanamthitta district on Thursday.
The funeral was held at the residential courtyard of his son on the banks of the Pampa with full naval honours in the presence of Banu Hiranandani, his wife, Manik Hiranandani, son, Meera Sanyal, daughter, Helen,daughter-in-law, grand children and other family members.
Dr. Manik lit the funeral pyre.
The 78-year-old former Navy vice-chief who had mentored several generations of Naval officers was given a gun salute by INS Dronacharya.
The funeral was attended by Rear Admiral S.S.Jamal, Chief of Staff of Southern Naval Command as well as Mr. Hiranandani’s shipmates, friends and local residents. Rear Admiral S.S. Jamal placed a floral wreath. Captain Sanjiv Issar, Commanding Officer of INS Dronacharya, led the funeral ceremony.
The rites were performed as per the religious custom of both Sikhs and Hindus.
C.K.V. Namboodiri of Thiruvalla Cholamon Mana, family priest of the Hiranandanis and Kulwant Singh, Grandhi at the Gurudwara in Kochi, supervised the rites.
Hiranandani served the Navy for a long stint of 40 years. Following this, he served with distinction at the Union Public Service Commission and retired as its Acting Chairman. He authored three books on the official history of the Navy.
He joined the Navy in 1949 and had received training with the Royal Navy till 1965, specialising in gunnery and missiles.
His senior shore appointments were as Director Combat Policy and Tactics (1974–77), Chief of Staff Western Naval Command (1981–82), Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff (1983–84), Commander in Chief Southern Naval Command (1985–87), and Vice Chief of the Naval Staff (1988–89).
He was awarded the Nau Sena Gallantry Medal in the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War, for his role as the architect of the missile boat attack on Karachi harbour, as Fleet Operations Officer.
In 1979 he was awarded the Ati Vishist Seva Medal for his services as Director, Combat Policy and Tactics and the Param Vishist Seva Medal in 1986 for re-vitalising the Navy’s training institutions.
After retiring from the Navy in 1989, Hiranandani was appointed Member of the Union Public Service Commission for six years and retired as its Acting Chairman.
In 1995, he was appointed the Official Historian of the Navy.
He had authored a trilogy commencing with “Transition to Triumph” covering the period 1965 to 1975 published in 1999 and “Transition to Eminence” covering the period 1976 to 1990 published in 2004.
He completed the final chapters of the third volume “Introspection & Consolidation” just before his death and the book will be released by President Pratibha Patil on Navy Day on December 4.
Vice-Admiral Hiranandani held a master’s degree in Military Science and a doctorate in Political Science. His doctoral thesis was ``Manning of Future Hi-Tech Military Systems in India – The Political and Economic Challenge.’’
Association with Kerala
Admiral Hiranandani had a long association with Kerala. His daughter Meera Sanyal, who recently stood as an independent candidate for South Mumbai was born in Cochin when he commanded the Naval Battery INS Dronacharya in 1961.
From 1985-87 he served as Commander-in-Chief of Southern Naval Command where he initiated the Naval Academy at Ezhimala and the new Indian Naval Base at Karwar.
His son, Dr. Manik Hiranandani has set up a clinic at Malakarra where he is a renowned practitioner of integrated medicine.