Sunday, July 25, 2010
Adieu Lt Colonel (Retd) VG Sowani, SM (1920-2010)
On 01 May 2010 Lt. Col (Retd) V G Sowani, SM passed away. At the age of ninety he was the seniormost surviving veteran in Mhow. He was also one of the few surviving veterans who had joined the Army in the pre-independence era. According to a blog of the Corps of Signals these are some of the details about him:
1. Date of birth: 11 Sep 1920
2. Date of Seniority: 04 Feb 1942
3. Date of retirement: 03 Feb 1970
He had settled in Mhow after retirement. I do not remember seeing him in my childhood though my parents knew the family. I remember him from 1979 onwards when I was in my late teens. He and I would often meet on our evening walk. We both would be with a dog. My father had been allotted an official quarter on the Mall which was known as Burmah Shell ka Bungla by the locals of Mhow. And the Sowanis lived diagonally across the road in a house they had purchased after the Colonel had retired from the Army. I also remember him for the side car attached to his Lambretta scooter. And for his impeccable manner of dressing - something very characteristic of officers commissioned in the pre-independence Indian Army.
We left the Burmah Shell Bungalow in 1980 when my Dad retired but we were always in touch with the Sowani family. There is a feeling of sadness when I think of veterans like Colonel Sowani and my dad. These are soldiers who were born in the nineteen twenties and and had served during historic times.
Mrs Vasundhara Sowani and their daughter Dr Abhijeet were kind enough to let me have access to the old photographs in the family albums. I am uploading some of them in this post as a tribute to the deceased soldier.