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An Exclusive Glimpse into the Life of ‘Gobind’

Embark on a journey with Gobind by Harinder Sikka, a story filled with love, loyalty, and tough choices. Born in poverty, Gobind rises through the ranks of the Indian Navy, but his success is shadowed by unfulfilled promises and unresolved love. When faced with a new challenge and a tempting encounter in Russia, Gobind must choose between duty and desire.

 

Read this exclusive excerpt to get a glimpse into the early life of Gobind and taste the thrill of a love story, a saga of passion, and human endurance all wrapped in one!

 

Gobind
Gobind || Harinder Sikka

***

As the sun emerged from the distant horizon, the fields too began changing colour. The rapidly strengthening sun rays turned brighter with every passing minute, turning the dark and dense looking crops into a lush green landscape. Tiny golden-yellow flowers on top of the crops looked as if each plant had been knighted with a golden crown by mother nature. All kinds of birds emerged from their deep slumber and filled the atmosphere with a burst of chirpy sounds.
The entire village was soon bathed in different hues. Not to be left behind, the animals too began walking around their territories, marking, urinating on every pole, tree and bush. The farmers too began making a beeline on the snake-like thin track to their respective fields. Their farming tools hung from their shoulders like weapons saddled on the shoulders of soldiers enroute to the battlefield. Nature in its full glory was like a beacon of peace, love and tranquility all round.

 

Gargling and spitting the water out, Ranjit Singh accepted from his wife an old piece of cloth that was once a garment, re-stitched to serve as a face napkin. While handing it back to Amrita, he looked at her inquiringly, ‘Where’s Gobind?’

 

‘Oh, he has already left for the fields. Says he will come back in three hours and go to school afterwards,’ she replied.

 

The cloth napkin slipped out of Ranjit’s hand and fell on the wet floor between them.

 

‘Which fields?’ he asked, his face filled with shock and surprise.

 

‘To work in Bihari Lal’s field. Before leaving home, he told me that he wished to earn while he studied. I couldn’t stop him. He just left without discussing it further.’

 

Ranjit was speechless. His young, school-going teenage son had taken a decision to work part-time, without even consulting his father.

 

‘I don’t know what to make of all this. Working part time isn’t wrong. In fact, I am happy for this will inculcate discipline in him. But all of a sudden? I will ask Bihari ji what’s he up to.’

 

Amrita bent down to pick the cloth from the floor. Then, flapping it in the air repeatedly, she tried to remove the excess water it had absorbed from the wet floor and flung it on the clothesline to dry. She turned towards her husband and looked straight into his eyes. ‘Maybe we should leave him alone. Let him discover himself. He didn’t sleep well. He even sat up on the cot in the middle of night to say his prayers. He was unsettled last night after your stern talk. But he looked different this morning and very charged up when I met him, before he left quickly. There’s this visible change in him that I have never seen before. I am happy and worried.’

 

‘Prayer? Gobind? And how do you know he has changed?’ Ranjit’s face was now filled with confusion.

 

‘Because I am his mother.’

 

Ranjit’s eyes followed Amrita as she went inside the room. Then, wiping his hands on the cloth napkin that Amrita had just hung, he turned his attention outside. He lifted himself up on his toes and looked in the direction of the large haveli with vast green fields where his son was supposed to be working. His eyes scanned the horizon but couldn’t see Gobind. Turning back, he walked inside to find Amrita standing at the entrance, watching her husband.

 

‘Please stop worrying. You’ll get late for work. Get ready; I will get your breakfast. Your tiffin is also ready. Please don’t forget to take it along.’

 

Amrita’s affection-filled instructions relaxed Ranjit to some extent. Stepping into the room, he sat down on the floor while Amrita served him breakfast. It was the same food that he had eaten last night. He ate in silence. But his mind was racing in many directions while Amrita rotated the hand-held fan on its swivel. Before leaving home for work, he stood before the lord’s picture hung on the wall, joined his palms and murmured so softly that even his own ears couldn’t hear his own words.

 

‘With your permission, dear lord, I wish to go to work. It’s a new day, an amazing one at that. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Only you, dear Guru Gobind, can help my son, Gobind.’

 

***

Get your copy of Gobind by Harinder Sikka wherever books are sold.

14 Books About the Indian Armed Forces that Demand Your Attention!

Step into the world of heroism and sacrifice of the Indian Armed forces. From the untold stories of soldiers in the 1971 war to the daring anti-terror operations, these tales capture the courage of Indian forces. Join us in honoring the spirit of our brave defenders this Army Day.

Nowhere Man
Nowhere Man || Shivalik Bakshi

Capt. Kamal Bakshi fought in the 1971 Indo-Pak War and went missing after the Battle of Chhamb–the bloodiest battle of 1971. Although no one from his battalion had seen him get killed, no one had been able to locate his body. And so, the military declared him ‘Missing, Believed Killed’–the ambiguous status assigned to soldiers when their death cannot be confirmed.
However, six years after the war, the Indian government changed its mind. The Ministry of External Affairs announced in Parliament that Indian intelligence agencies have reason to believe that Pakistan had not been truthful when it handed over the list of Indian POWs in its custody. It went on to state the names of at least forty Indian soldiers still believed to be in Pakistani custody and one of the names was Kamal Bakshi’s.
This book has been written by his nephew Shivalik Bakshi. It is his story, recreated from his letters, diaries, recollections of those who crossed paths with him and published accounts of the Battle of Chhamb.

 

Beyond Fear
Beyond Fear || Ian Cardozo

The stories featured in Major General Ian Cardozo’s book Beyond Fear, inform the reader that fear is not exceptional. It is common to all human beings. The question is: Do we face fear or run away from it? Through these thirteen stories, he reveals to the reader how military personnel conquer fear. He calls it ‘biting the bullet’.

 

India's Most Fearless 3
India’s Most Fearless 3 || Shiv Aroor, Rahul Singh

India’s Most Fearless 3 features ten true stories of extraordinary courage and fearlessness, providing glimpses of the heroism Indian soldiers have displayed in unthinkably hostile conditions and under grave provocation.

 

Kitne Ghazi Aaye, Kitne Ghazi Gaye
Kitne Ghazi Aaye, Kitne Ghazi Gaye || Lt Gen KJS ‘Tiny’ Dhillon

Anecdotal, candid and evocative, Kitne Ghazi Aaye, Kitne Ghazi Gaye brings to light the true stories from Lt Gen. K.J.S ‘Tiny’ Dhillon (Retd)’s life. It focuses on the personal, professional and, most importantly, family life of a soldier in the Army, and will not only provide an insight into the trials and tribulations he faced but will also inspire a wide spectrum of readers, especially young defence aspirants.

 

India's Most Fearless
India’s Most Fearless || Shiv Aroor and Rahul Singh

The men who hunted down terrorists in a magical
Kashmir forest where day turned to night. The Army major who led the legendary September 2016 surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the LoC. A Navy officer who sailed into a treacherous port to rescue hundreds from an exploding war. A bleeding Air Force pilot who found himself flying a jet that had become a screaming fireball. An e xclusive first-hand account of the 2020 Galwan clash.

 

Naam Namak Nishan
Naam Namak Nishan The Ultimate Indian Armed Forces Quiz Book

Do you know why the Indian Navy counts ‘One, Two, Six’ instead of ‘One, Two, Three’ while doing group tasks?
Or that the Intelligence Bureau was set up in response to an assassination?
Or that a Frenchman who had served three nations before turning thirty eventually rose to become the most powerful general of the Marathas?
Or that an army man gave his name to the highest mountain without ever having set foot on it?

Find out the answers to these and more as a team of quizzer-doctors from the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) Pune takes you on a journey across 250 questions, exploring trivia that connects the Indian Armed Forces to topics ranging from mythology, history and art to geography, fashion and sport.

 

India's Most Fearless 2
India’s Most Fearless 2 || Shiv Aroor, Rahul Singh

Untold accounts of the biggest recent anti-terror operations

First-hand reports of the most riveting anti-terror encounters in the wake of the 2016 surgical strikes, the men who hunted terrorists in a magical Kashmir forest where day turns to night, a pair of young Navy men who gave their all to save their entire submarine crew, the Air Force commando who wouldn’t sleep until he had avenged his buddies, the tax babu who found his soul in a terrifying Special Forces assault on Pakistani terrorists, and many more.

 

Crime, Grime and Gumption
Crime, Grime and Gumption || O.P. Singh

From the dusty plains of Gaya, Bihar, to the swampy and terror-infested wetlands of Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh, Crime, Grime and Gumption is an honest and hard-hitting account of law enforcement and governance in the Hindi belt of India. As the ‘policewallah’ gives you a peek into the world of the khaki in this memoir, you will be left thirsting for more.

 

Cyber Encounter

Cyber Encounters delves deep into this nebulous cyberspace, to bring twelve fascinating accounts of cybercrime. Ashok Kumar, DGP, Uttarakhand Police and a veteran in the systematic fight against cybercrime in the state, and OP Manocha, an ex-DRDO scientist, unfold a specific type of cybercrime in each tale, based on a true story. Packed with information on the crime, its investigation and the apprehending of the criminals, this illuminating insider account is a must-read.

A General Reminisces
A General Reminisces || Satish Dua

The son of a modest famer, Nazir tried his hand at carpet weaving, a traditional Kashmiri craft, as a young boy. Teenagers those days heard strident voices, fiery speeches, and more than occasional gunfire. Some were scared, some swayed. Nazir strayed on the wrong side as a teenager, starting with running errands for terrorist groups to more. Fortunately for him, Ikhwan, a rehabilitation programme that allowed young Kashmiri men to convert from militancy and work with the Indian Army, was started just then.

 

The Brave: Param Vir Chakra Stories
The Brave: Param Vir Chakra Stories || Rachna Bisht Rawat

21 riveting stories from the battlefield about how India’s highest military honour was won
The Brave takes you to the hearts and minds of India’s bravest soldiers, all of whom won the Param Vir Chakra, India’s greatest military honour. With access to the Army, families and comrades-in-arms of the soldiers, Rachna Bisht Rawat paints the most vivid portrait of these men and their extraordinary deeds.

 

Kargil
Kargil || Rachna Bisht Rawat

Kargil takes you into the treacherous mountains where some of Indian Army’s bloodiest battles were fought. Interviewing war survivors and martyrs’ families, Rachna Bisht Rawat tells stories of extraordinary human courage, of not just men in uniform but also those who loved them the most. With its gritty stories of incomparable bravery, Kargil is a tribute to the 527 young braves who gave up their lives for us-and the many who were ready to do it too.

 

Shoot. Dive. Fly
Shoot. Dive. Fly || Rachana Bisht Rawat

The book aims to introduce teenagers to the armed forces, unveiling both the perils-the rigours and the challenges-and the perks-the thrill and the adventure-of a career in uniform. Ballroom dancing, flying fighter planes, detonating bombs, skinning and eating snakes in times of dire need and everything else in between-there’s nothing our officers can’t do!

 

India's Secret War
India’s Secret War || Ushinor Majumdar

With access to classified records and through exhaustive interviews with surviving veterans, award-winning investigative reporter Ushinor Majumdar has crafted this first comprehensive historical account of the BSF’s role in the Bangladesh liberation war, which changed the course of South Asian history.

The Chief of Defence Staff who inherited dignity

People who serve in the army are revered by us all. They fight for our security and uphold the country’s peace by staying away from their families, living in tough conditions and often, even by sacrificing their lives for the nation. But there are a few men who are remembered through generations for the decisions they made, the work they did and the way they interacted with people around them. And one such man is Bipin Rawat.

Rawat is famously known to be the Army Chief who decided India would retaliate immediately and openly to every act of cross-border terrorism. But, he’s also known as the man who was once the Major with a leg in plaster who was carried up to his company post on the Pakistan border because he insisted on joining his men for Dusshera celebrations under direct enemy observation.

Here’s an excerpt from the extraordinary life of Bipin Rawat who was happiest dancing the jhamre with this Gorkha Troops. Here, author Rachna Bisht interviews General Sharma, who reveals how Bipin Rawat received a priceless dignity from his parents.

Bipin: The Man Behind the Uniformby Rachna Bisht Rawat
Bipin: The Man Behind the Uniform || Rachna Bisht Rawat

‘Gen. Laxman Rawat was a great man,’ he says. ‘Both he and Mrs Sushila Rawat had great honour and integrity, and were almost saintly in their attitude towards life. I have served with many Generals but never felt anyone coming close to them in my entire career.’

Gen. Sharma says he never saw Gen. Rawat lose his temper. ‘He was calm, collected, focused, dedicated to his work and had an uprightness that had passed down to Bipin as well. Bipin had imbibed the culture of his parents. He displayed exactly the same moral character as his father.’

Gen. Sharma says that in the following years, when he worked closely with Bipin Rawat, he often saw reflections of the father in the son. ‘In matters of honour and integrity, Bipin was the same as his parents. They would treat anyone who approached them with respect and so would Bipin. Even when he was Vice Chief and later Chief, with a dozen important issues playing on his mind, there was never an instance of anyone having to wait for taking an appointment with him. If someone wanted to meet him, he was always available. We never heard from his office, “Chief busy hain.”’

In fact, on what was to be the last day of their lives, Gen. and Mrs Rawat were leaving their house for the airport when the recently retired Subedar Major of 5/11 GR dropped by to meet them. Despite being in a hurry, the couple stopped to talk to the SM and his wife, and took out time for a photograph as well. That remains the last picture of the couple.

Just like his father, Bipin also genuinely cared about people. ‘There were instances when Bipin would be crossing a Defence Security Corps soldier on duty and would just stop by for a moment to ask, “Haan, kya haal hai bacche? Sab theek hai (Yes, how are you, kid? Everything all right)?” A soldier limping by would catch his attention. “Kya ho gaya, langda ke kyun chal raha hai (What happened? Why are you limping)?” he would ask, genuinely concerned about the welfare of the men serving with him.

 

He also did not make any unnecessary demands on anyone. He would never want to disturb a senior officer on his visits, always insisting that even a soldier or a youngster could be detailed to brief him or accompany him on official assignments. He firmly believed in being accessible and letting everyone have an opportunity to speak and interact with him. He was as much a soldier’s Chief as he was an officer’s. These were the qualities he had learnt from his parents, both of whom were extremely grounded people,’ says Gen. Sharma.

 

Intrigued to read more? Get a copy of Rachna Bisht Rawat’s Bipin: The Man Behind The Uniform.

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