KERALA

Souvenir on war hero released

Staff Reporter

Colonel Neelakantan Jayachandran Nair had died fighting insurgents in Nagaland

Thiruvananthapuram: Manju Nair, the wife of the late war hero Colonel Neelakantan Jayachandran Nair, was a dignified presence in front of the dais when General J.J. Singh, Chief of Army Staff, released the souvenir in the name of her husband at Sainik School here on Saturday.

The souvenir, `Tribute to Dear Jayan,' was brought out by the Sainik School Old Boys Association.

Colonel Nair, who passed out from Sainik School in 1967, had died fighting insurgents in Nagaland on December 20, 1993.

A recipient of the Asok Chakra and the Kirti Chakra, Jayachandran Nair was cadet number 71 in the 1967 rolls of the school. He was commissioned into the Maratha Light Infantry, the regiment of Army Chief. The General described Jayachandran Nair as a gallant soldier who displayed immense bravery in the face of great odds. He garlanded the bust of Jayachandran Nair in the school courtyard.

`Back to school'

The occasion was also a `back to school' moment for three Lieutenant Generals who were present. The officers were Gen Thomas Mathew, Adjutant General, Lt Gen Isaac John Koshy, Director General Discipline Ceremonial and Welfare and Lt Gen S.P. Sreekumar, Signal Officer in Chief. The three were batch mates in Sainik School and currently hold top positions in the Army Headquarters. They paid respects to K.M. Nair, physics teacher and "house master," who was at the school to see his old boys. Lt Gen Koshy later told journalists that K.M. Nair's tutelage had made them what they were now.

The Chief of Army Staff put on record his appreciation for the Principal, Col. B. Ajith Kumar, and the student and teaching fraternity of the school. He wrote in the visitor's book "I am deeply impressed with the high-level of motivation espirit-de-corps of their Sainik School. I compliment the Principal and staff whose dedication stand out, God Bless."

Army officers at the function also shed light on some of the personality traits of General J.J. Singh. The Army Chief is a linguist with mastery over French and Arabic. He is also an accomplished golf and polo player and presides over both the sporting unions.

The Army Chief, known for leading his men from the front, had been seriously wounded in an anti-terrorist operation when he was Brigade Commander in Jammu and Kashmir. The injury won him the War Wound Medal. The General has done the entire top in-service courses in the Army, including the Defence Services Staff Course, Senior Command, and Higher Command and National Defence College courses. He was also the first Indian Defence attaché in Algeria.