After sportspersons Kapil Dev, M S Dhoni, Abhinav Bindra and Sachin Tendulkar were conferred honorary ranks in the armed forces in recent times, actor Nana Patekar may be next in line to get the prestigious stars on his shoulders from the Territorial Army (TA).
Call to honour: Nana Patekar
According to a TA officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the home department approved the decision in early October and a few formalities now remain. The source said Patekar is likely to get the honorary rank of lieutenant colonel. "It is too premature to comment on the issue at this moment since no formal decision has been announced. The nod will be given after meetings between senior TA officials, including the TA Commander here," said the officer from the city. "This will encourage several youths who could not fulfil their dream of joining the regular Indian Army to join the Territorial Army."
Patekar happens to be a favourite amongst army officers for his apt portrayal of army life in the 1990's film Prahaar. Patekar is also said to have great respect for the defence forces and trained at an army camp during the film's shooting.
Cricketer Kapil Dev was given the honorary rank of lieutenant colonel in 2008 in the TA and was commissioned in the Punjab Regiment. Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar was also honoured with the rank of group captain in the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 2010 for his cricketing achievements and was also made the brand ambassador of the IAF. Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and gold-medallist rifle shooter Abhinav Bindra also became lieutenant colonels in the TA in November. While Dhoni was commissioned in the elite Para Regiment, Bindra was welcomed in the Sikh Regiment.
The TA, a part of the regular army, was established as a voluntary force that civilians can serve part-time.
The TA is also a reserve force which is called upon in time of contingencies. TA troops served during the Kargil war, where they assisted fighting soldiers in transporting supplies to bases.
Musical treat on 62nd anniv of TA
Puneities will get to listen to army men playing jazz, fusion and popular Hindi titles today with over 80 talented musicians at the SSPMS Grounds. Organised by the Territorial Army to celebrate its 62nd anniversary, the event is free for all. The Territorial Army Fusion Orchestra and Massed Pipe Bands will also play martial, Indian classical, popular folk tunes, instrumental and western music. The band is also called the Philharmonic Orchestra. The event will start at 6.30 pm and will have Tripura Governor D Y Patil as the chief guest and Additional Director General of Police (Prisons) Prakash Pawar as guest of honour.