BIKRAM SINGH was at the RIMC from 1935 to 1941. He later went to Aitcheson Chiefs College at Lahore and joined the board of the reputed Lahore-based newspaper Civil and Military Gazette. After partition, Biki joined The Statesman, retiring from a top management position. A keen sportsperson, he played cricket at the Ranji level and has been Captain of Delhi Golf Club.
SIDHARTH MISHRA joined RIMC in January 1979. After school he joined the Delhi University, and did his Masters in English, Literature. In 1990, he went to Bihar to work with an NO0 involved in historical, archaeological and tribal research, and took up journalism as a career in 1992. He is currently with The Pioneer.
When initially the offer to edit the history of the Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC) was made, I thought, like any other quintessential hack, that I would be burdened with some very mundane stuff and required to cut, prune and paste a headline. How wrong I was.
Executing this project has proved to be an exhilarating experience for varied reasons. One, I rediscovered myself as a Rimcollian (as the old boys of the school are called). Having left the RIMC in 1983 with hardly any contact either with the school or the RIMC fraternity, I had forgotten even the taste of lovely scotch eggs we ate with so much gusto at the school, and the chill of a cold January morning which went into our bones while we did exercises in the pine-lined drill square.
On 11 March, 1995 I received two telephone calls; the first was from the secretary of the Rimcollian Old Boys Association (ROBA), Col Harjot Sehgal, and second from ROBA newsletter editor Col Jasbir Khurana. I do not know how they were able to fish me out from a world totally different from theirs. The little conversation I had with them ensured that I was in Dehra Dun for the reunion two days later.
At Dehra Dun I was to make a commitment, which I shall be proud of all my life. The project has provided me with a certain amount of self-esteem and instilled confidence to take up much larger projects of such nature.
When did we begin? 8 September, 1995, when the first meeting of the book sub-committee was held under the chairmanship of the legendary liberator of Goa, Lt Gen KP Candeth. Held in the office of Maj Gen Sarnir Sinha, who was then at the helm of the United Services Institution, the meeting was attended by two other delegates, incidentally both from the field of journalism, Maj Gen Ashok Mehta and myself. We had with us a long letter from reputed author on defence affairs, Brig HS Sodhi.
At the two-and-half hour long meeting, attended by four generations of Rimcollians, a stock of what we had as research material and historical inputs was taken. The meeting passed a unanimous resolution-we had to begin from scratch as we had nothing to build upon!
From there on it was like clearing the rubble at every step, to find what made RIMC so unique an institution. Meeting old-timers, cajoling them to pen their memoirs, repeatedly bothering the school commandant with my trips to Dehra Dun, and numerous sittings I had with Surojit Bannerjee of Allied Publishers to decide on the layout, designing and editing aspects of the book.
Four 'hardened' Rimcollians greatly influenced the project-Maj Gen Virendra Singh was there "to set the things right", Maj Gen Samir Sinha provided us access to the USI library, Col Jasbir Khurana used his network to insure a large flow of articles from the old boys, but it was the vituperative tongue of Bikram Singh which always kept me on my toes. Biki came out of his retirement to hold the pen once again. He went through each and every word of the text matter and gave some excellent suggestions on the presentation.
Though we had initially planned a book of a very high academic nature, and historical in contents, we woefully ran short of time and material. Therefore, what we are presenting is a panoramic view of the school during the past seventy-five years, including references to the national and international events of the time. ROBA president Gen VN Sharma, however, has promised me that we would endeavour to bring out a much larger edition of this book sometime in the near future.
I am much indebted to three persons for the great support they provided to this project-ROBA secretary Col SVP Singh, RC Singhal and my wife Dipti. Dipti agreed to accompany me to our country home just after our marriage, and it was there that the whole text was rewritten.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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