The scion of the erstwhile Patiala royal family is a ‘fauji’ at heart, literally.
His resignation as the Chief Minister of Punjab has probably brought an end to the five-decade political career of Captain Amarinder Singh. The maverick lawmaker is seen going nostalgic at the reunion party he was hosting for his Indian Army batch mates.
After months of infighting within the Congress, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, the politician in ‘uniform’, had submitted his resignation on September 18, which was accepted by the Governor.
In the videos posted by his media advisor Raveen Thukral, the former ‘Captain’ of Punjab can be heard singing the popular Bollywood yesteryear song “Gorey gorey o banke chore” from Hindi movie “Samadhi” at a dinner on Saturday.
Also the former Chief Minister, who is proud of his legacy, and his batch mates were crooning the popular Punjabi folk song “Idhar Kankan Udhar Kanka” by Asa Singh Mastana.
According to Thukral, after a week of hectic politics Amarinder Singh is hosting a nostalgic weekend with 47 National Defence Academy (NDA) course batch mates of 23rd and 24th course along with their spouses in Chandigarh from September 24 to 27.
He had hosted a similar event in October 2017 that revived ties that went nearly 58 years back. At that time 57 batch mates from NDA Khadakwasla came together.
The former Chief Minister hosted the dinner at his Mohinder Bagh farmhouse in Mohali on Saturday where the batchmates shared memories and experiences of their days of training.
At the dinner, Lt. Gen. Kamal Davar, the first Chief of Defence Intelligence Agency, presented his book, ‘Securing India’s Rise: A Vision for the Future’, to Amarinder Singh.
Thukral said in a tweet, “Together forever, this emotion, formed the essence of the jackets Amarinder Singh had arranged for all his batchmates with their names and course embossed.
“A memorable gesture that will create even more precious memories for them all,” he added.
Just days before he resigned, the state government hiked the annuity payable to the Armed Forces’ gallantry and distinguished service awardees by 80 per cent despite the state is paying the highest annuity to its awardees.
In his interactions, Amarinder Singh didn’t miss an opportunity to fondly remember his father Maharaja Yadavindra Singh by saying his contribution in unifying India post-Independence made him proud.
And he was the one who inspired him to join the Armed Forces.
Two-time Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, a military historian, has authored several books on the Indian military. He had served as an Army captain during the 1965 India-Pakistan war.
The former Chief Minister is often quoted as saying it is a matter of pride and honour for him and his family to have served the nation as a soldier of the Indian Army, which has always been his first love and would remain so.
He served in the second battalion of the Sikh Regiment from 1963 to 1969. Though he left for a short period in between, to take over his family responsibilities, his love for the Army brought him back when the India-Pakistan war broke out in 1965, an Army officer close to him told IANS.
His father, Lt. General Maharaja Yadavinder Singh, served in the regiment in 1935 and was the Colonel of the 2/11 Royal Sikhs from 1938 to 1950 and of the 2 Sikhs between 1950 and 1971.
Amarinder Singh’s grandfather, Major General Maharaja Bhupinder Singh was the Colonel of the 15th Ludhiana Sikhs from 1918-1922 and then of the 2/11 Royal Sikhs from 1922-1938.
Amarinder Singh distinctly remembered the moment when in July 1959 he joined the George (now Delta) Squadron at NDA, located on the banks of the serene Lake Khadakwasla.
“For all these years, Amarinder Singh’s love for the army has stood the test of time and remained at the heart of his fondest memories,” recalled a batch mate.
“For the fauji-turned-politician, as for his batch mates, the reunion is a moment to cherish about 62 years later when we all joined the NDA as young lads,” he added.
(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at email@example.com)