Maj General Abhijit S Pendharkar takes over as 28 Infantry Division!
This is a storyteller’s story:
=‘In the history of warfare General George S. Patton was perhaps the most outspoken of the Generals and at times boisterous too and this is he said once to his troops and trust me whatever he said holds fast even today in warfare which today is dominated by technology, not that it was not in the World War-II era! This was what he said, A man must know his destiny… if he does not recognize it, then he is lost. By this I mean, once, twice, or at the very most, three times, fate will reach out and tap a man on the shoulder… if he has the imagination, he will turn around and fate will point out to him what fork in the road he should take, if he has the guts, he will take it’
-‘The Indian Generals too have set a great legacy aas ever since independence the illustrious Indian Army went to war many times and emerged as victors in each of them. 1962 was a debacle but it was due to the typical Chinese betrayal which will not be the case any more since plenty of hard lessons have been learnt and also taught to the men on the other side of the LOC!’
-‘Written in my own heart’s blood, I will say that every Indian general will always say, successful generalship involves first figuring out what to do, then getting people to do it. It has one foot in the intellectual realm of critical thinking and the other in the human world of management and leadership. General Pendharkar knows the same and thus he has taken over the elite 28 Infantry Division’!
-‘Major General Abhijit S Pendharkar, YSM took over the reins as General Officer Commanding, of the elite Vajr Division from Major General VMB Krishnan, who moved to the prestigious appointment of Commandant, Counter Insurgency Jungle Warfare School, Vairengte. Maj Gen Abhijit S Pendharkar, was commissioned on 09 Jun 1990 from IMA, Dehradun into 6th Battalion, the Assam Regiment.’
-‘The area of Gurez valley is generally used by terrorists and their couriers to transship arms, ammunitions and stores for sustenance of terrorists in depth areas of Kashmir valley. The picturesque Gurez Valley is the northernmost dale of Kashmir, north of the Shamshabari Ranges part of erstwhile Dardistan, now in POK. For 6 months every year beginning November, this valley is cut off from the rest of Kashmir and India. People survive on their own meagre harvest and the Army units.
-‘Their options of livelihood are very limited. They work in their fields and are employed as porters in the Army Posts. The Army here goes out of its way to help the locals. Rations, kerosene, electricity, medicines and even evacuation by air in AF helicopters are provided by the Army. ‘We wouldn’t survive one winter here but for the Army’, say the people of Tilel. It’s the 28th Division Indian Army that ensures that winters full of warmth come down each and every time to Gurez! They do indeed!
-‘I told you about the strong links in the chain of command. The new man has been entrusted with the same job as the previous one was doing and that’s for sure!’
-‘I never quite made it to the rank of a general but trust me I have read in plenty about them and I have come to the conclusion that his success is largely due to his great human qualities: his sense of humor, his common sense and his essential honesty and integrity. He has inspired love and unfailing loyalty; he has a magic touch when dealing with conflicting issues or clashes of personalities; and he knows how to find a solution along the lines of compromise, without surrendering a principle. He is, in fact, a great leader, I mean General Pendharkar, one more great link in the chain of command, 28 Infantry Division Indian Army!’
‘Who can overestimate the progress of Kashmir if all the money wasted in superstition could be used to enlighten, elevate and civilize mankind and the back hunch caused because of Pakistan unloaded from the backs of an ordinary Kashmiri? Every new born kid in Kupwara wants that and this was from one of my dead soulmates Rehana (killed in a fight that had no meaning)’
-‘When every Madrasa becomes a school, every mosque a university, every Maulvi a teacher, and all their hearers brave and honest thinkers, then, and not until then, will the dream of poet, patriot, philanthropist and philosopher, become a real and blessed truth in Kashmir and you can do it my friend….Rehana (I tried and I’m still trying and I will keep trying… 25 years is still a long time to stop attempting it…. Is my reply to my friend who is no more but I still remember her beaming face!’
An alumnus of National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, the General Officer has attended all important career courses including Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, Higher Command Course and National Defence College. He has an MSc in Strategic Studies and Master of Philosophy to his credit. In today’s world the military leaders ought to have the wholesome knowledge in fact a bit more than a person you are speaking to because comparisons would be enunciated by the locals! It is a child’s love in an insurgency torn countryside that makes generals says the tribe of children with an echo ‘we need you to lead us’. None in the chain of command has failed thus far! It can never happen since it has not!
The General Officer has vast operational experience having served in intense Counter Insurgency/ Counter Terrorist operations in North East & Jammu and Kashmir. For his distinguished service, he has been awarded GOC-in-C Central Command Commendation Card in 2002, COAS Commendation Card in 2007 and Yudh Seva Medal in 2018 while commanding a challenging brigade on the Line of Control.The General officer brings with him a rich experience of various Command, Staff and Instructional appointments including the prestigious command of an Infantry Brigade on the Line of Control, Chief of Staff of an Infantry Brigade Group in MONUSCO, Congo and an extremely important appointment in Directorate of Military Operations at IHQ of MoD (Army) prior to assuming the command of the prestigious Vajr Division!
Anyway the story of chain of command will continue but we poor tellers of tales have our moments too, it seems. Like great generals (as we consider ourselves to be) sitting upon horses upon the tops of hills and throwing troops into the arena, we throw the little soldier known as words into our battles with pen, ink and papers. This is a story teller’s story but do not forget, anyone can act strategically, it doesn’t take much to make a plan. The skill of a general is his or her ability to react strategically when plans fail. Here the Indian Generals are specialists! So is Abhijit Pendharkar!