Colonel Ajit Datta, the youngest son of late Major S.C. Dutta and Labanya Prava Dutta of Shillong, passed away of cardiac arrest in Delhi on April 21. He was 78. Mrs Anuradha Datta, daughter of late Pratul Saikia and Renu Saikia of Guwahati, passed away from cardiac arrest in Delhi on 24th April.
My best epitaph of Colonel Ajit Datta nee Nanu and Anuradha Datta nee Bhonti is that of two shining stars in heaven.
I would rather celebrate their time and lives than mourn their passing away because much too reminiscent with love and pride and they left a legacy for those that were left behind. As for now, I can only say "Let their soul rest in eternal peace". The only consolation for us who are left behind in this mortal life of ours is neither Bhonti nor Nanu were not in any pain and passed away in sleep. Theirs is like a fairy story when looking back at their lives. They knew each other since they were children. Both Nanu and Bhonti were born in Shillong, played and grew up together, fell in love with each other, got married with their parents' blessings and then became parents of two daughters, nicknamed Babli and Ripli and son Shivalik.
My brother-in-law achieved his permanent commission from Indian Defence Academy, Dehra Dun, became a full Colonel at an incredibly young age, served the country in overly sensitive and highly dangerous border spots along the Indo-Chinese border, Indo-Pakistan border in the Western front and notably in a highly explosive border along the Line of Control in Kashmir. Many do not know he was due to be promoted to be Brigadier, but his hope of promotion was cut short by an unexpected heart condition. However, his most daring exploit as a young Indian Army officer was in the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war on the Western front. He led a platoon of crack Indian troops, infiltrated into Pakistan behind the border and blew up a strategic bridge. Without that courageous and intelligent exploit, Pakistani Patton tanks could have rolled easily into India and capture Amritsar. He was highly decorated for this courageous and intelligent accomplishment, but I do not think a lot of people knew about it. My point of writing all but not distracting from the essence is, all these years he served his country with distinction and valour risking his own life and yet like so many of our compatriots in India succumbed to COVID-19 infection but that is another story. It was untimely death at a relatively young age of Nanu and Bhonti, the two exceptionally loved and talented people and we like so many are mourning their passing away and for how long the pain and anguish will be felt, I honestly do not know. Many knew Nanu as a military officer of distinction which seems to overshadow all his other qualities of head and heart. Had he not joined the military, early in his youth he showed a promising career as a cricketer and such was his talent, he could have represented India internationally specializing as a fast bowler. He was feared by even well-known batsman in Ranji Trophy matches for speed, aggression, and ability to hurt. Looking at his tall athletic frame, one may be excused for assuming he was only good at sports but contrary to expectations he was almost like a scholar and historian when it was an opportunity to discuss military history, the famous world wars especially World War II and the events that shaped the history of countries, the leaders, and the people. One of the supremely soft side despite being in the military and all that is involved was his kindness and generosity to all those who were not as fortunate as him. It was said that he was popular than his superior officer because of his kindness and readiness to protect the interest of his junior officers and soldiers with compassion and conviction and that reached the ears of his generals and that was well appreciated.
Dr Nilmoni Sikdar