General Sinha: Great Soldier-Scholar
General NC Vij, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM

In passing away of Lieutenant General Srinivas Kumar Sinha, PVSM, on 17 Nov 2016, at the ripe age of 90 years, the nation has lost one of her most celebrated soldier scholar.

Born in 1926 in Gaya (Bihar) in a family of distinguished civil servants, Gen Sinha, having graduated with honours from the famous Patna University, joined the Indian Army at the age of 17 and continued to maintain his meritorious academic and professional record by securing the top positions in the Officer’s Training School, Belgaum, the Defence Services Staff College and then at the Joint Services Staff College, United Kingdom. During his early service, he fought in Burma (Myanmar) and Indonesia during the World War II, and at the time of Independence saw through the transition from the Army Headquarters. As the representative of the Operations Directorate of the Army Headquarters, he was also responsible for overseeing the air-lift of first Indian soldiers to Srinagar when Kashmir was invaded by Pakistan’s irregular hoards.

Later, he commanded a battalion in Ladakh, a brigade in Manipur and Nagaland, and went on to command two divisions in Assam and Akhnoor (Jammu). Having commanded a Corps in Punjab, he was appointed as the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of India’s Western Command. Subsequently, the General then served as the Adjutant General and Vice Chief of Army Staff at the Army Headquarters.

Described by Stephen Cohen as one of India's most outstanding post-independence Generals, Gen Sinha was an epitome of soldierly culture, and was renowned for his plain speaking. That might have been the reason that in 1983, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi superseded him at the appointment of the Army Chief. Following that and notwithstanding the wave of criticism against the step coming from all walks of public life, Gen Sinha, making it clear that he recognized the Government’s prerogative to do so, gracefully resigned from service. For the next seven odd years, Gen Sinha took to visiting lectures and writing in national daily’s and journals. In 1990, in recognition of his highly regarded statesmanship skills, he was appointed as the Ambassador to Nepal during with Indo-Nepal relationship was elevated into familial levels. In 1997, Gen Sinha was appointed as the Governor of Assam when he handled the tumultuous times of militancy and illegal immigration with commendable foresight and fortitude. Later, in 2003, taking over as the Governor of Jammu & Kashmir, Gen Sinha promoted the sublime features of ‘Kashmiriyat’, much to the chagrin of the separatists who felt threatened by his approach to their machinations. After taking leave of public life, Gen Sinha took to perspective writing and contributing his wisdom to India’s strategic community.

As one of the stalwarts of its Advisory Board, Gen Sinha had been associated with the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) since its very beginning. Till his last days, he took active part in all of our important events, guiding the Foundation and explaining the events related to India’s independence and thereafter.

Gen Sinha was an impeccable historian of military matters and has authored many a book. He was also an encyclopedia of military campaigns and man management aspects. Even at this ripe age, his memory continued to be his forte. With his passing away, the not only India and the Indian army, but the Foundation also has lost a valued mentor and a role model.

May the General’s soul rest in sublime peace.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
11 + 5 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.
Contact Us