National Security Guards commando Lt Col E.K.Niranjan was among the 7 martyrs slain in the ongoing gunfight against Pakistani terrorists who attacked the Pathankot airbase under the cover of darkness in 2016. He always nursed the idea of joining the Army since his childhood and worked towards his dream form his younger days. His joy knew no bounds when he got selected in the Army and joined OTA Chennai in Sep 2003. He got commissioned into the Corps of Engineers on 17 Sep 2004 and was posted to 10 Engineers Regiment at Tezpur in Assam. Subsequently, Lt Col Niranjan served in various units located at Udhampur, Vairangty Gate(Mizoram), Ranchi and Srinagar in J & K. Later he went on deputation to the elite NSG and worked in its Bomb Disposal Squad. Lt Col Niranjan got married to Radhika KG on 31 Mar 2013 and was blessed with a daughter on 04 Apr 2015. On joining the NSG, Lt Col Niranjan got inducted into the Bomb Disposal Squad and became the officer commanding of the unit on 24 May 2014.
On 01 January 2016, the Air Force Station Pathankot of the Indian Air Force was attacked by a heavily armed terrorist group. Disguised in Indian Army uniforms the terrorists infiltrated the base, after breaching the station security perimeter. the Bomb Disposal Team under the leadership of Lt Col Niranjan was launched to undertake Render Safe Procedure(RSP) and Post Blast Operations Analysis(PBOA). Lt Col Niranjan led his team by example and sacrificed his life on 3rd january 2016.
The following excerpts are by an Army wife Shobhita Singh Parmar who knew Lt Col E. K. niranjan personally and shares the lovely times spent together. We are publishing it as it is.
Last Holi (I wrote this 4 years back) was my first as a newly married Lady and also my first in the Bomb Disposal unit of NSG where my husband was posted. A lovely small campus with about four families from our unit, we proudly called our BD family. It was such a joyous atmosphere with all the Soldiers gearing up with colours and busy making puddles to play Holi with all the officers, an age old tradition in the BD unit. It is not my husband who shared these hilarious tales of who coloured whom on Holi, but his buddy Sudhakar Anna, as I used to fondly call him who would share all these funny incidents with me over a cup of chai. That year I learnt how to make authentic sambhar from him,”Madam, this is how Saab( my husband) likes it ” he said and he learnt how to make Gujiyas from me.
I sat down in the Dining hall with all my ingredients ready. Dough rolled out, dry fruits all chopped up and the sweetness of the stuffing filling the house with all the love I had for all my loved ones for whom all these Gujiyas were being painstakingly made.
A tradition I had learnt from my father, to give personalised gifts to family and friends on festivals. I decided on making home made Gujiyas. Two days and some twenty cups of chai later I saw those not so perfectly made, sugar coated Gujiyas and I jumped with happiness. I proudly showed them off to Anna and my husband who very lovingly took me out for dinner seeing how tired I was.
“So small hampers were made, gujiyas, a packet of colours and a handmade card. One for each unit officer. Our Officer Commanding was Late Lt.Col Niranjan.”
I clearly remember each and every detail of that evening when we went to meet him. We were greeted my Mrs Niranjan, a very sweet lady who I had interacted with a couple of times. We sat down, said our hello’s discussed our Holi plans and then came in Vismaya.
The little baby of the BD unit. I love children and I had a special corner for Vismaya because she was so little and generally a quiet and a well behaved child. I remember her smile. Oh, she was the life of her parents. While we ate some lovely snacks Mrs Niranjan had prepared for us the bell rang. It was Lt.Col Niranjan. He had just come back from his Kickboxing class. My husband would always tell me about his love for adventure sports and how he had been kickboxing for a while now. He greeted me with a very warm smile as usual and sat right in Front of us. Just a little chatter here and there and he was down to business. Vismaya jumped into his arms the moment she saw him.
“We sat there for about half an hour and Lt. Col Niranjan kept playing with his daughter, kept talking to her and all I thought to myself was what a loving father he is.”
There were two people in that room who were not interested in the ongoing conversation,Lt Col Niranjan busy pampering his daughter, and the second person was me admiring how much he loved her. We said our goodbyes, and the moment I sat in the car I had a big smile on my face. It was such a refreshing sight to see someone so involved with their children. That was and will always be my favourite HOLI memory. That holi when I met the entire family together, never did I know that it would be that last I would see Lt.Col Niranjan.
“We lost Lt Col Niranjan on 3rd January in the Pathankot blast and I had tears in my eyes thinking about Vismaya and Mrs Niranjan. I kept telling my husband, he had such a small daughter, he had such a small child back home. How did this happen ? How could this happen ?”
Vismaya, if you ever read this I want you to know you were his soul. We could all see and feel it. Even if people will forget your father’s sacrifice, I will never forget him, and how much he loved you. I will never forget my favourite Holi memory. Lieutenant Colonel Niranjan, wherever you are, you are always fondly remembered and we are so proud to have known you, and been a part of the same prestigious Bomb Disposal Family. For me Holi will always and always be about you.
Lt Col Niranjan was my husband’s OC in NSG. This was my first encounter of what loss felt like. Someone you know, you meet on a daily basis just gone. In these five years of being married to my husband , I have seen him loose 4 very close friends, his Brother in uniforms . Remembering all the bravehearts who laid down their lives for this nation. We are indebted to your courage and selfless spirit. We will keep telling your stories to the future generations so that they know, that you gave your today, for their tomorrow. Thank you .
Shobhita Singh Parmar writes about issues close to her heart which mostly include her journey from being an army kid to now an army wife. She was baptized into the organisation 5 years back. She is a mom of two and manages work and home. She is an Engineer by qualification, an entrepreneur by profession and a writer by choice. Her love for fabrics and styling led to starting her own Company , Do Darzi which reflects her love for sarees. Her mantra in life is to give back to this organisation which gave her everything.