Srinagar: He fought during World War II in Burma, became the 13th chief of army staff, was Punjab’s governor during militancy and also India’s ambassador in Indonesia. And on Saturday, 90-year-old Gen (retd) Om Prakash Malhotra returned to the place he was born and brought up.
“It was my desire to come to Kashmir and visit the place where I was born, grew up and was educated,” said Malhotra, former president of the National Association for the Blind and founder of the Equestrian Federation of India.
To mark the visit, his alma mater, SP College, honoured the old student whose father was seven decades ago the college’s principal.
Malhotra was born in the Abi Guzar locality adjacent to Lal Chowk on Aug 6, 1922, and grew up with his elder brother and sister in the city.
“When I became the chief of the Indian Army in 1978, the first place I visited was Kashmir — the place of my birth. Late Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah (then Jammu and Kashmir chief minister) and his wife were happy to receive somebody who had become the country’s army chief and had his roots in Kashmir,” he said. Malhotra said the role of the army had now changed.
“The army is now trained more efficiently to act with heart and compassion. I met the local corps commander who informed me about their public welfare programmes,” he said.
On the current army chief Gen VK Singh getting embroiled in an age row, Malhotra said: “Authority has to be respected without question even when there is confusion in the records.”