Soljer Soljer is a story based on an imaginary infantry battalion of the Third Gorkha Rifles — the Sixth battalion. The composition, training, camaraderie, and duties in all the other infantry battalions of our Army are almost the same except that certain customs undergo a change as they adapt to the ethnicity of the troops in that Regiment. So the visible changes would be the manner of the battle cry, salutation, greeting, decorum in festivity with the troops, or ceremonials in the Officer’s Mess.
There is no difference in the dogged determination or the ferocity in the will of troops of these troops in completing any mission allotted to their battalions!
Colonel Mahip Chadha, whom I have not only known from our training days, but served with; has very clearly brought out the joys of the simple infantry life and the deeply embedded love, affections and stoic ethnic involvement that officers enjoy with their men. This is brotherhood in its purest form.
The story is of Surinder Singh Sahni and his son Jaskaran who as father and son serve in the same battalion. Brigadier Sahni resigns from the Army due to domestic issues while his son enjoys a brief and very modern marriage thanks to considerate parents. Brigadier Sahni has to face terms with reality when he reads about the Indian POWs and later when his son is declared missing believed killed after a skirmish with militants from POK. His misery is compounded when his daughter in law has to suffer further privations, till she decides to fight the establishment by becoming a lawyer. The sacrifices made by the cowherds in rescuing Jaskaran are poignant and are noble.Jaskaran returns home as his amnesia wears off in another accident. His mother like all mothers refuses to believe that he is dead.There is a God in heaven who reunites the family.
The question which plagues Jaskaran is--whether his countrymen recognised his loss--
The book has a sprinkling of humour and the reader laughs at the follies of life. Mahip has told his story as an infantry officer would — straight, to the point and without beating about the bush which makes enjoyable reading!
Lieutenant General G S Negi PVSM AVSM* VSM
Erstwhile Colonel The Third Gorkha Rifles
The Indian Army