Rustom K. S. Ghandhi
|Rustom K.S Ghandhi|
1 July 1924 [|
Vice Admiral Rustom Khushro Shapoorjee Ghandhi, PVSM, Vr.C., I.N. Ret., son of Khushro Shapoorjee Ghandhi and Dina Dhunjishah Amroliwalla, was born at Jabalpur, India, on 1 July 1924. He graduated from St. Joseph's College, Nainital, India, with an Intermediate Science degree in 1941. After a year of advanced studies at Allahabad University, he subsequently joined the Royal Navy with a permanent commission as an officer cadet on 1 January 1943.
He currently resides at Colaba, Mumbai, India. He was married to Khorshed "Bubbles" Kharegat (deceased 2011), daughter of Sir Pheroze and Lady Kharegat, née Dadabhoy, on 1 January 1949, and has three children. He is the oldest of five brothers, the others being Dhun, Sorab, Burzoe and Jamshed.
His Navy career included:
1957: Commanding Officer of the INS Cauvery
1961: Commanding Officer of the INS Betwa
1963: Assignment to the USA Naval War College, Newport R.I.
1965: Commanding Officer of the INS Khukri
1968: Director of Naval Operations
1969: Commanding Officer of the INS Mysore
1972: Naval Advisor to the India High Commission in London, U.K.
1974: Fleet Commander, Eastern Fleet
1975: Fleet Commander, Western Fleet
1977: Commander-in-Chief, Western Naval Command
1979: Retired with the rank of Vice Admiral of the Indian Navy
He was the only officer to have commanded ships in all 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 as Captain of the INS Khukri
- the 1971 war with Pakistan to create Bangladesh when he commanded the INS "Mysore," the flagship of the Western Naval Fleet
He was awarded the Vir Chakra for conspicuous gallantry for his role in the 1971 war with Pakistan. He played a decisive role in the 1961 annexation of Goa, which involved  a 36 hour "Operation Vijay" at Mormugau harbor, and ended 451 years of Portuguese rule. During this operation, he commanded the INS Betwa, which was the senior ship. Captain Antonio da Cunha Aragao was in command of the Portuguese destroyer "NRP Afonso de Albuquerque", which was anchored off Mormugao Harbour.
In the ensuing battle, the NRP Afonso took a direct hit on its control tower, injuring its weapons officer, killing its radio officer and severely injuring its captain. Subsequently, the order was given to abandon ship, and the rest of the crew, along with their injured captain, disembarked directly onto the beach after setting fire to the Afonso. Following this, the captain was moved by car to the hospital at Panjim. The destroyer's crew surrendered formally with the remaining Portuguese forces on 19 December 1961.
As a gesture of goodwill, the commanders of the INS Betwa and the INS Beas later visited Captain Aragao as he lay recuperating in bed at Panjim, and presented him with a gift of brandy, chocolates, and dried fruit, since it was just before Christmas. In return, Captain Aragao gave Commander Ghandhi the keys to his cabin as a token of surrender. Commander Ghandhi also sent messages via England to inform Portugal that Captain Antonio da Cunha Aragao was well.
Upon retirement from the Indian Navy, Vice Admiral Ghandhi enjoyed a short stint as technical consultant for the movie, "Sea Wolves," and played a cameo role as the Governor of Goa in it. He was appointed Chairman of the India Shipping Corporation in 1981 and served in that capacity until 1986.
During April 1986 to February, 1990, when Rajiv Gandhi was Premier of India, Vice Admiral Ghandhi was awarded the Param Visishti Seva Medal PVSM for meritorious service of the highest order, and served as Governor of the State of Himachal Pradesh, residing with Mrs. Ghandhi at Raj Bhawan in Shimla. This residence was built in 1815, and formerly known as Barnes Court. In addition to governmental duties, they made many improvements to the building, including a complete restoration of the billiard room and the Durbar Hall, as well as the construction of a gazebo on the premises. He was a Member of the National Commission for Minorities from 1993 to 1996.
- Personal Communication, provided by Commodore Satish Ghormade, Director of Naval Personnel, Naval Headquarters, New Delhi., at the request of Adm. Vishnu Bhagwat, Former Chief of Naval Staff (2012).
- "Jawaharlal Nehru: A Biography", Sankar Ghose. Allied, Mumbai (1993).
- One Hundred and Seventy five Years of BARNES COURT". (Ed. Tulsi Raman, Raj Bhawan, Shimla, 25 October 2007). The Director, Language and Culture, Himachal Pradesh, 2007