In 1965, while I was a student of Human Anatomy at Kurnool Medical College, I had the opportunity to know about Dr. J. C. B. Grant (1886-1973), the author of Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy. The 5th Edition of his Atlas was published in 1962 and was available in India in our Medical College Library.
Born in Loanhead (south of Edinburgh) in 1886, Grant studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh Medical School and graduated with an M.B., Ch.B. degree in 1908. While at Edinburgh, he worked under the renowned anatomist Daniel John Cunningham. I graduated with an M.B.B.S., degree in 1970 and it is the same as the M.B., Ch.B. Degree awarded by the University of Edinburgh Medical School.
John Charles Boileau Grant (1886–1973)
Grant became a decorated serviceman of the Royal Army Medical Corps during the First World War before moving to Canada.As a medical student, I used Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy, the seminal work of Scottish-born Dr. John Charles Boileau Grant, who would become the chair of Anatomy at the University of Toronto in 1930 and retired in 1965. I was granted Short Service Regular Commission in the Army Medical Corps during September 1969 and participated in the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971.
Sangram Medal 1971 – A story that I shared with the Director General of Armed Forces Medical Services
Special Frontier Force – Operation Eagle – Gallantry Award – Liberation War of Bangladesh 1971:
Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India initiated Liberation of Bangladesh with military action in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. The battle plan of this military action is known as Operation Eagle.
Sangram Medal 1971
This medal was awarded for service during the 1971/72 War with Pakistan. This medal was given to all categories of personnel who served in the military, paramilitary forces, police, and civilians in service in the operational areas of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Gujarat, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram or Tripura between 3 December 1971 and 20 December 1972. A lot of people were awarded with this medal. I had an opportunity to narrate my story and spoke about my War experience to The Director General of Armed Forces Medical Services during my interview for the grant of Direct Permanent Commission which was conducted during the Army Medical Corps Examination of 1972.
I participated in the INDO-PAK WAR of 1971 while serving in the Indian Army after getting selected for Short Service Regular Commission in 1969. After the War I had applied for the grant of Direct Permanent Commission and there were over 3,000 doctors who had applied for the few vacancies that were available at that time.The AMC Examination for the grant of DPC was held in September, 1972 in New Delhi. The selection process includes an examination to evaluate the professional skills and an interview hosted by The Director General of Armed Forces Medical Services who was assisted by a large panel of specialists and other experts. In 1972, I was posted at Hq D Sector, C/O 99 APO and my Commander, Colonel Iqbal Singh had earlier served as the Chief of Staff at the Formation Headquarters, Operation Eagle during the 1971 War. My Commander was acutely aware of the fact that I was recommended for a Gallantry Award for my role in the War and that I did not received the Award. On my application for Direct Permanent Commission, Colonel Iqbal Singh, MC (the Military Cross), MiD (Mentioned-in-Dispatches), while giving his recommendation, wrote about my operational role and my performance in the War. The Director General while commencing my interview took a brief look at my application and the remarks given by my Unit Commander. The first question that I was asked was to describe my War experience. As I spoke, the entire Selection Committee listened to me with great interest and the Director General was so fascinated with my story and he directed his second question to me, asked me to give him more details of the operation. I was a Medical Officer who had witnessed the War like a front row spectator and that was a very unique situation and only a very few get that kind of chance to witness a military operation without being a fighting soldier. He got totally engrossed with my story and he even forgot that all the time that was allotted for the interview had been used up. Since, the Selection Committee had to interview several more candidates on that day, the Director General concluded my interview with openly congratulating me for my performance during the War and he graciously asked the other members of the Selection Committee if they would like to ask me any more questions. They unanimously announced that they have no other questions to ask and I was permitted to leave. A Major of Army Medical Corps who was designated to usher in the candidates for the interview and escort them out of the Conference Room was a witness to my performance during the interview. He briefly spoke to me as I was leaving the venue. He assured me that I am granted the Direct Permanent Commission and the confirmation letter would be a mere formality. A few weeks later, I did receive the confirmation letter and I was granted Direct Permanent Commission in Army Medical Corps with effect from 07 March 1973.
The Phantoms of Chittagong: The Fifth Army in Bangladesh:
Major General( Retd) Sujan Singh Uban, AVSM, the former Inspector General of Special Frontier Force is the author of the book titled ‘The Phantoms of Chittagong : The Fifth Army in Bangladesh’. He had narrated the military exploits of his Force while operating in Chittagong Hill Tracts during Indo-Pak War of 1971. He did not describe the story that I had shared with the Director General of Armed Forces Medical Services. My story was witnessed by hundreds of independent eye witnesses, for example, the Border Security Force Personnel who were manning the Post at Borunasury in Mizo Hills celebrated my arrival with Battle Casualties at their Camp.
Dr. R. R. Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,
Service Number: MR-03277K MAJOR AMC/DPC & MS-8466 CAPTAIN AMC/SSC
Medical Officer, South Column, Operation Eagle 1971