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Friday, May 29, 2020

Major Anuj Sood: School recalls teenager who dreamt of becoming an Army officer

Since the two generations shared a bond with each other, Anuj would visit the Chadhas whenever he would come from NDA on term breaks.

Written by Man Aman Singh Chhina | Chandigarh | Updated: May 4, 2020 3:37:56 pm
Handwara encounter, Major Anuj Sood, Major Anuj Sood Handwara encounter, Jammu and Kashmir encounter, India news, Indian Express Major Anuj Sood

He would have liked to go on a date with Angeline Jolie. His favourite movies were Om Shanti Om, Lakshya and Die Hard. And he dreamt of becoming an Army officer.

These are the thoughts of Major Anuj Sood penned by him in the diary of his classmate at Punjab Public School (PPS), Nabha, where he studied before he joined the National Defence Academy (NDA) in 2008. His teachers and classmates have been left stunned upon hearing that he had laid down his life in an encounter in J&K on Sunday.

Handwara encounter, Major Anuj Sood, Major Anuj Sood Handwara encounter, Jammu and Kashmir encounter, India news, Indian Express Maj Anuj with classmates in shirt signing just before passing out of Class 12

His classmate, Manjot Singh Chadha, had a special bond with Anuj. Their fathers too had been classmates. MS Chadha, Head of the English department at the school, recalls that Anuj’s father, Brig CK Sood, had been a ISC topper in the Class of 1978.

Manjot has a neat diary in which Anuj has penned down his thoughts in a neat handwriting before he left for the NDA. “He was always very clear that he wanted to join the Army. He had that aim in the back of his mind and which is why when he was in Class 12 he cleared the NDA exam,” recalls Manjot.

Handwara encounter, Major Anuj Sood, Major Anuj Sood Handwara encounter, Jammu and Kashmir encounter, India news, Indian Express Major Anuj Sood in farewell party where he was adjudged Mr Turn Out

Anuj’s dream of becoming an Army officer is reflected in his own handwritten words. In the column ‘One thing missing from my life’, he writes “My NDA joining letter in my hands!! (Not far off). In the column ‘I dream of becoming’ he writes “An Army officer”.

MS Chadha, who taught English to Anuj, said he was a well behaved student who was perfect in every respect. “There was nothing you could find fault with him about. Softspoken, obedient, friendly he had all qualities. He joined the school to fulfill his father’s aim of making him join NDA and he achieved that,” recalls Chadha.

Handwara encounter, Major Anuj Sood, Major Anuj Sood Handwara encounter, Jammu and Kashmir encounter, India news, Indian Express Maj Anuj Sood’s handwritten notes in his class fellow Manjot Singh Chadha’s diary made in 2008. (Express Photo)

Since the two generations shared a bond with each other, Anuj would visit the Chadhas whenever he would come from NDA on term breaks.

The Headmaster of the school, Jagpreet Singh, says PPS Nabha has been the cradle for the military ever since its inception. “We are proud of our students like Anuj who make the ultimate sacrifice for the country. Love for the nation transcends love for yourself and your family. And this is in the DNA of every student of PPS Nabha,” he says.

The Class 12 student of Nabha made the ultimate sacrifice in Handwara on Sunday morning. But his love for his nation was reflected that day on January 11, 2008, when he wrote down in his friend’s notebook “I am proud of our Indian spirit and above all the Punjabi spirit we all have”.

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