Religeous Teachers in the Army.
The Indian Army is considered to be one of the finest patriotic fighting forces of the world.It is not mercenary force as many illiterate politicians think and act.It is a matter of great honour to serve in the Indian Army in any capacity.
We all know that the Army consists of teeth and tail, ie fighting forces and supporting forces.Welfare to troops is a function of command.As our Army consists of troops from all religions It is necessary to organise religious activities to motivate and also as an outlet for the religious feelings of troops.
It is with that intention Religious Teachers who are qualified in the cultural activities of the particular religion are employed in the Army. Their aim is to help troops in religious activities.It is worth noting that they are not to preach or teach religion.
The Madras Engineer Group of the corps of Engineers of the Army consists of troops of Hindu,christians and muslims. So generally depending upon the strength of troops Religious teachers are posted.
In the year 1982 ,then Major Ganesan was posted to 4 Engineer Regiment and the Regiment was located at Jullandar cantt,Punjab state.In the course of routine activity he went to Regimental temple for a saturday pooja.
It was there he met a young,very active and quite knowledgeble Religious teacher Nb/Subedar Sivarajan.
Sivarajan hails from Chidamparam,Cuddlore Dt of Tamilnadu and has done "pulavar"course and some experience in "saiva sidhantham".It is customery that on puja days some men sing few religious songs and Religious Teacher gives 2-3 minutes moral lecture followed by aarthi.
Ganesan had deeper and better knowledge about Tamil litrature and life history of many saints.So he was not impressed by the RT,but appreciated his sincere efforts.Ganesan also guided the RT about how to go about the weekly pooja.
As years passed Sivarajan became very capable RT and conducted all Regimental religious functions very well.
As time passed Sivarajan was promoted as Subedar.In the year 1984 Ganesan was promoted and appointed as Commanding Officer of 4 Engineer Regiment.
It was well known to all ranks that Ganesan attaches great immportance to physicalfittness and no one is exempted on this.He explained to subedar Sivarajan that he is a junior commissioned officer and he will have to do duties like all other JCOs including BPET (Battle Physical Efficiency Test) Range practices etc.
Not only Sivarajan did everythig but did much better than normalJCOs.
These whole hearted participation of Sivarajan earned appreciations from all ranks and he was promoted as Subedar Major. He has served with 4 Engineer Regiment in war and peace,in plains and mountains and perhaps under 4-5 Commanding Officers. With such an excellent record perhaps he was the first Religious Teacher to be promoted as Subedar Major and later conferred Honourery rank of Lt and then Captain.
Sivarajan retired and settled at Bombay as his wife and children were used to that style of living and working.But Sivarajan often used to visit Chidamparam and spend some time with his friends and well wishers.
It was one such occasion he came to Chidamparam during last week of june 2017.
30-6-2017 was very auspecious day at Lord Nataja temple. The diety gets sandle paste abhishekam only 6 times in a year and 30 june was "ANI THIRUMANJANAM" Sivarajan was so happy that he could make it. Perhaps hundreds and hundreds of times he might have seen this pooja during his childhood and youth.It was soul satisfying now as he was not well and thought that he may not make it.
The Divine plan was something different.Sivarajan suffered s massive heart attack on 03 July and expired right at Chidamparam,his birth place.
His wife and children rushed from Bombay for the last rights.
Many officers who came to know of this have paid great tributes to Sivarajan.one of the officer stated
"SIVARAJAN WAS A GREAT SOLDIER FIRST THEN ONLY HE IS RELIGIOUS TEACHER."
MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE.