The Autumn of a General
The Autumn of a General A staunch nationalist, a disciplinarian, a dedicated and committed statesman, General Cariappa was jewel among men. Dr P M Sundaram recalls memorable moments spent with the General at Command Hospital. Tanuary 15 is celebrated in good health, he was afevery year as the Army fected with problems associ Day. This is because, it ated with old age. He was (Left) Former President R Venkataraman, Mrs Venkataraman call on Field Marshal Cariappa. (Right) Field Marshall with friends from the Ar was on this day that an Indi suffering from Parkinson's, an officer, General Cariappa loss of memory, osteoarthri- treat the Field Marshal. One room would serve as his qualities. I have also given him, he told me that I was vailed. Fortunately, he took over as the Comman- tis of various joints and they had to carry various bedroom, whilst the other just a few personal experi- improperly dressed, as I did neither a diabetic nor hyr der-in-Chief of the Indian aches and pains in different instruments and equipment would be used as the draw- ences to bring out his metic- not have a cap. I learnt the tensive. So there were no parts of the body, needed for him. All this en ing room, where he could re-ulousness about dress eti- lesson and during the rest of strictions by and large. As we approach another tailed a lot of time for the ceive guests and also serve quette. my tenure, I would never were indeed happy that Army Day, I thought I would Stay in ASC Mess various specialists, nursing as his study room. It took In the Armed Forces, we venture to see him without a could have all meals nam pen down some of my recol- As he was a national fig. and paramedical staff. It in some weeks to get this suite do not wear the headgear cap. breakfast, lunch, tea lections dating back to 1986 ure and retired Army chief, volved logistical and trans- ready. Once it was ready, we whilst in a building. Howev- To look after his personal dinner mostly on all days 1 1990 when I was in c arge of it was my responsibility as portation problems. I debat shifted him to the "Cariappa er, if you go out you wear a needs, he was provided with Command Hospital, Banga the commandant of the Hosed these issues and since I Block” in the officers' ward. cap. During my rounds of an officer who functioned as The hospital family lore and Field Marshal Cari pital, to provide the best felt these would continue for He stayed in the Command the Hospital, I used to go his staff officer. In addition, We would get him to pc appa was a patient of the medical care to him. I ob- some time, I decided that it Hospital till his demise. around without a cap, as I we had a Nursing officer in side over various functid Hospital. I took over as Com served that that my special would be best to shift the It was my privilege to had to go from one ward to attendance around the in the hospital like the he mandant of the Air Force ists such as the senior advis Field Marshal to Command look after the Field Marshal. another within the hospital clock. The Field Marshal pital anniversary. He lov Command Hospital in mid er in medicine, orthopaedic Hospital. I had comply with his punc- campus. This was strictly was used to a western diet. to be amongst children. 1986. Field Marshal Cariap surgeon and other special tuality, discipline, sense of not correct. However, I had So we provided him with got him to come to sche pa, the First Indian Com ists had to visit him every Shifted to a ward humour dedication to the got used to this routine. So meals as desired by him. sports day and distribu mander-in-Chief of the Indi day in the ASC Officers' I made the necessary nation, compassion and when the Field Marshal was The hospital dietician prizes to children. On an Army was staying in the mess. In addition nursing arrangements in the offi- love, particularly to chil- shifted to Command Hospi- would take instructions birthdays, we would ha ASC Officer's Mess, at this staff as well as paramedical cer's ward of the Command dren. I have noted down var tal, I went to see him.