THE ONLY OFFICER TO HAVE COMMANDED SHIPS IN ALL NAVAL WARS FOUGHT BY India…
Vice Admiral Rustom “Rusi” Khushro Shapoorjee Ghandhi, PVSM, Vr.C., I.N. Ret. (1 July 1924 – 23 December 2014) was an Indian Navy Admiral.
He remains the ONLY OFFICER to have commanded ships in all naval wars fought by India:
– the 1961 war to annex Goa as Commander of the INS Betwa,
– the 1965 war with Pakistan as Commander of the 14th frigate squadron and Captain of the INS Khukri and
– the 1971 war with Pakistan to create Bangladesh when he commanded the INS Mysore, the flagship of the Western Naval Fleet.
Rustom Ghandhi served with Lord Louis Mountbatten from 1947-1948, and was his Aide-de-camp when Mountbatten was the last Viceroy of India. Ghandhi was present with Mountbatten at Viceroy’s House on 15 August 1947 when India’s independence was declared.
Vice Admiral Ghandhi was awarded the Vir Chakra for conspicuous gallantry for his role in the 1971 war with Pakistan.
Upon retirement from the IN, Vice Admiral Ghandhi enjoyed a short stint as technical consultant for the motion picture The Sea Wolves, and played a cameo role as the Governor of Goa in it.
He was appointed Chairman of the Shipping Corporation of India in 1981 and served in that capacity until 1986.
From April 1986 to February 1990, while Rajiv Gandhi was Premier of India, Vice Admiral Ghandhi served as Governor of the State of Himachal Pradesh, residing with Mrs. Ghandhi at Raj Bhavan in Shimla.
During this period, Vice Admiral Ghandhi was awarded the Param Visishti Seva Medal PVSM for meritorious service of the highest order.
Vice Admiral Rustom Khushro Shapoorjee Ghandhi, nicknamed RKS or simply called Rusi, wished to return to the sea which had given him so much.
He jested: “I enjoyed fish all my life; now let the fish enjoy me.”
Admiral Ghandhi died peacefully in his home in Navy Nagar of Colaba, Mumbai on 23 December 2014, aged 90, and was buried in the Arabian Sea on 27 December 2014 from INS Vipul.
4 days after his passing away on December 23, 2014 at age 90, his immediate family and a few friends sailed from Lion Gate on INS Vipul, 40 miles into the Arabian Sea. The Navy acknowledged him with three rounds of gunfire when white uniformed officers stood at attention, the Last Post played. With synchronized precision the naval pall bearers carried the nailed coffin and then slid it into the sea and Ghandhi went into the waters forever.
Characteristically unconventional, Ghandhi was the first naval officer to return to the ocean and the Navy had to do research as a precedent was created.
They don’t make ’em like you any more Sir…but you will live on in the hearts of so many you touched with your personality extraordinaire.
Salute to this Hero! He rests in comfort of the very waters, he once protected. Rest In Peace Sir.