By Dr. B.N. Sharga
Chief Marshal S.K. Kaulís ancestors were originally the residents of Habba Kadal
area of the Srinagar district of the Kashmir valley. His ancestor Pandit Maharaj
Kaul "Dattatreye" came out from the Kashmir valley in the beginning of the 19th
century during the rule of Mughal Emperor Shah alam-II (1759-1806) around 1804
via Mughal route and finally settled down in Bazaar Sita Ram of Delhi. After
witnessing the growing influence of the British over the administration at Delhi
and lack of proper opportunities to secure a good job his son Pandit Ram Chandra
Kaul then migrated to the nearby Gwalior state to try his luck there. After
sometime he got the job in the Gwalior State Service. The name of his son was
Pandit Sri Krishna Kaul.
Pandit Sri Krishna Kaul had his traditional education in
Urdu and Persian language under the supervision of able and learned Maulvis in
the Gwalior state. After completing his education he got a job in the Gwalior
State Service but later on he came to Lucknow in search of a job around 1842
where his cousin (Mausera Bhai) the famous Urdu poet Pandit Day a Shanker Kaul "Naseem"
was employed in the court of Nawab Amjad Ali Shah (1842-1847) as a Bakshi. He
started living in Kashmiri Mohalla with "Naseem".
After some time Pandit Sri Krishna Kaul got a job in the
court of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah (1847-1856) and was made a "daroga" of some
department. He was popularly known as "Bhaiyyaji" among the community
members in Kashmiri Mohalla. After the Mutiny of 1857 he joined the police
department under the British rule and was made a Sub-Inspector at Lakhimpur
Kheri. He again came back to Kashmiri Mohalla around 1875 after his retirement
from the active government service. In recognition to his loyalty towards the
British Crown, he was made an honorary Magistrate and then a Municipal
Commissioner by the British and the title of Rai Bahadur was conferred upon him.
He was also an Urdu poet of repute and used to compose his Urdu couplets under
the pen name of "Takhallus", "Yes" like his father Pandit Ram Chandra
Kaul who was also an Urdu poet. Pandit Sri Krishna Kaul used to take the
guidance in Urdu poetry writing from his cousin "Naseem" who was an
established Urdu poet at that time with a very sharp intellect. Some of the Urdu
couplets composed by Pandit Sri Krishna Kaul are there in Bahar-e-Gulshane
Kashmir, Vol-II which was published in 1932.
The idea about the style of Pandit Sri Krishna Kaulís
poetry writing and his selection of words to express his feelings can be formed
from the following Urdu couplets composed by him.
jalwai yar dil mein hai,
mein aya hoon mein, mushtaq uski surat ka,
Na dar roz jaza ka hai, no andesha kayamat ka
Tarsa hoon uski baksheesh ko, bharosa hai inayat ka,
behkhoob tak mein hai, dukhtare raz ki,
Dilhi khair ho
ab to hafiz uski, hurmat ka,
Fidaye naz ho kar, mar gaya zere kadam uski,
payenaz kab nishan hain meri turbat ka,
nikalte hain jo ashk garam aakhon se,
Asar baki abhi
hai sozish dil ki hararat ka."
His son Pt. Shyam Krishna Kaul after completing his
education went to Calcutta (Kolkata) and got a job in the Calcutta-Nagpur
railway section of that time. He subsequently became an audit officer in the
same railway division. Pt. Shyam Krishna Kaulís son Pt. Kunwar Krishna Kaul
after the death of his father got the job in the same railway division with its
headquarters at Calcutta. Pt. Kunwar Krishna Kaul was married with Roop Kumari
who was the daughter of Pt. Triloki Nath Kaul, a leading criminal lawyer of
Bahraich and grand daughter of Pt. Baij Nath Kaul "Chungi" of Kashmiri
Mohalla, Lucknow. He had three sons Pratap Krishna, Hari Krishna and Swaroop
Pandit Kunwar Krishna Kaulís brother Pandit Brij Krishna
Kaul "Bekhabar" was also a reputed Urdu poet of Kashmiri Mohalla, Lucknow.
Pandit Brij Krishna Kaul did a monumental work of compiling the poetic
compositions of the Kashmiri Pandit poets in the form of two volumes of "Bahar-e-Gulshane
Kashmir", He later on migrated from Lucknow to Jaipur where he died in 1927.
Pt. Kunwar Krishna Kaulís eldest son Pratap Krishna Kaul
was born in 1930. P.K. Kaul after completing his education became an I.A.S.
Officer. He was posted in Lucknow as a city Magistrate around 1954. After
working in various posts in the various districts of U.P. and in the secretariat
at Lucknow, he ultimately become a Cabinet Secretary in the Central government
around 1984. He then became Indiaís ambassador to the United States of America
in 1986. He retired from active government service in 1990. He is married with
Usha who is the daughter of Pt. Krishna Narain Channa and grand daughter of Pt.
Laxmi Narain Channa of Jammu.
Pt. Kunwar Krishna Kaul's second son Hari Krishna Kaul
was born in 1932. He got married with Subhadra who is the daughter of Pt. Jai
Narain Urga. He died quite young in July 1982 at the age of about 50 years.
Pt. Kunwar Krishna Kaul's third and the last son A.C.M.
Swaroop Krishna Kaul was born on 20th December 1934 in Kashmiri Mohalla, Lucknow.
He had his early schooling in Beasant College in Benaras (Varanasi) which is run
by the Rishi Valley Trust of the Theosophical Society of India founded by Annie
Beasant. He did his matriculation from this institution in 1949. He then joined
the Government College, Allahabad and did his F.Sc. from there in 1951.
After that he joined the National Defence Academy at
Kharakvasla in December 1951 and did his graduation course in military training.
After passing out from N.D.A. in December 1952 he joined the Air Force Academy
at Jodhpur and then did six months extensive training course in flying jet
aircrafts at the jet Training Wing of the Air Force at Hakimpet in Secundarabad.
He then got his commission in the Indian Air Force in December 1954 as a Pilot
Officer in the Squardon No: 17 of the Air Force at Adampur.
It was only in 1954 that the Indian Air Force had its
first Indian Chief when Air Marshal Subodh Mukherjee became the chief of the Air
Staff. As the top ranking British officers of the Air Force left for their
country lock, stock and barrel, so the junior Indian officers got quick
promotions in the Air Force after the independence of the country.
During the Indo-Pak war of 1965 Air Chief Marshal S.K.
Kaul was based at Pathankot. He flew mystery air craft and took a very active
part in these operations. He was a part of the 28 aircraft strike formations of
our Air Force which struck the Chamb-Jourian sector on 17th September 1965 and
which was mainly responsible for successfully thwarting and blunting the
Pakistani Armour thrust in our territory. Throughout this conflict he undertook
many offensive strikes and air support missions to provide air cover to our
marching troops in the Pasrur Bulge Sialkot sector of the war front. Our armed
forces gave a crushing defeat to the Pakistan army in this war and moved up to
the outskirts of the Lahore city. After this the government raised the rank of
the Chief of the Air Staff from Air Marshal to Air Chief Marshal.
Air Chief Marshal S.K. Kaul after this war got the
promotion and was made a Commanding Officer of a hunter bomber squadron at
Hasimasa in the eastern sector.
India came to the rescue of "Mukti Bahni" in 1971 to
provide it logistic support in their freedom struggle and at the same time to
stop the massive influx of refugees from across the border into our territory.
Though actual Indo-Pak war started on 3rd December 1971
but prior to that Air Chief Marshal S.K. Kaul who was Wing Commander at that
time started under taking photo reconnaissance missions over erstwhile East
Pakistan since October 1971. These missions were specially carried out deep into
enemy territories covering heavily defended sectors of Comilla, Sylhet and
Saidpur. The photographs obtained through these drae devil missions of the
fortified enemy positions helped our armed forces to finalise their assault
plans accordingly to minimise the casualty figures.
Throughout 1971 war Air Chief Marshal S.K. Kaul carried
out strike missions with top precision on military targets of the enemy covering
practically the whole area of the erstwhile east Pakistan. He also led some
important missions such as an attack on the Dhaka Government House. This mission
was a great success and ultimately forced the Pak army to surrender before our
armed forces. For this gallantry, determination, professional skill and
leadership of a very high order the then President of India V.V. Giri honoured
him with Mahavir Chakra (M.V.C.).
His citation reads "on 4th December 1971, he again
volunteered for another task to photograph the Tejgaon and Karmitola airfields.
His reconnaissance flights over these two airfields in the face of the most
sustained and heavy enemy ground fire, stands out as acts of heroism, extreme
gallantry and devotion to duty, in addition to his reconnaissance exploits, he
led the very first eight air crafts strike mission over Dhaka. In this raid his
formation encountered enemy aircraft near the target areas. With exemplary
leadership, he maneuvered his force in such a manner that two of the enemy
aircrafts could be shot down and the other two fled away. The target thus became
clear for attack and all through the war he led his squadron boldly and
courageously in the face of the enemy. "
After this war A.C.M., S.K. Kaul became chief operation
officer at the Pune Air Force station which is one of the major flying base of
the Indian Air Force. He was then made the Wing Commander and group captain in
the directorate of Air Intelligence at the Air Force headquarters at New Delhi.
After completing this important assignment A.C.M., S.K.
Kaul became the Air Officer Commanding of the Air Force station at Bareilly,
which is a very important Air Base of the Central Command. It houses two
squadrons with highly specialized role of strategic reconnaissance and
When Mrs. Indira Gandhi became the Prime Minister of the
country for the second time in 1980 after the fall of the Janta Party
Government, she sent A.C.M., S.K. Kaul to Moscow in 1982 as the Air Attache in
the Indian embassy there. He held this post upto January 1986. During this
period there was an unprecedented procurement and induction of a large number of
air crafts and other weapon systems from the erstwhile Soviet Union for the
Indian Air Force to make it one of the best in the world. These included MiG-29,
AN-32, 12-76 aircrafts and Mi-17 and Mi-26 helicopters. Apart from all this
A.C.M., S.K. Kaul successfully co-ordinated the induction of Radar and Missile
systems for the IAF as well. While at Moscow he was also instrumental for the
co-ordination of first Indo-Soviet joint space venture very successfully in
which Squadron leader Rakesh Sharma carried out his historic space journey to
become the first Indian consmonaught. During this period he also arranged, the
training in U.S.S.R. of a large number of Indian Air Force personnels for the
newly acquired weapon systems from that country.
After his return from Moscow he was posted as the
Director of Personnel (Officers) at the Air Force Headquarters at New Delhi. He
was then made the senior Air Staff Officer at the South Western Air Command at
Jodhpur. During this two years stint at the Jodhpur Air Base apart from
conducting the routine air exercises, he reorganised the total Air Defence
environment of that important region, which included the integration of the Army
Radars with the Air Force for providing proper Air Defence to the Bombay high
region from any strike by the enemy.
Around 1989 he was appointed as the senior air staff
officer in CAC at Allahabad. He again rearranged the operational air exercises,
which were conducted in this command to give it a total thrust towards the task
oriented training. Under this command a large scale air borne operations
involving a battalion group, paradropping and heliborne operations, dropping two
company groups were organised and very successfully conducted, thus enhancing
our capabilities in this field.
In February 1991 he became AOC-in-C of the Central Air
Command and he remained on this post up to 30 April 1992. During this tenure he
devoted his special attention towards optimization and utilization of the
resources and simultaneously identifying the areas for effecting economy, both
in manpower and materials by taking effective steps to curtail the unproductive
expenditure. Apart from all this he also gave special attention towards the
welfare of the air personnel. Under his command greater efforts were made and
due emphasis was given to improve the quality of life at all the stations of the
Air Force by providing a better and healthier environment in them with improved
In order to project and identify the Air Force with our
countrymen, particularly those living in the rural areas, a scheme was launched
to adopt a village continguous to the Air Force camps. For carrying out all this
work and for his distinguished record of service of the most extraordinary
nature the then President of India Mr. R.Venkataraman awarded him with Param
Vishisht Seva Medal in 1992.
On 18th May 1992 he was appointed as the AOC-in-Chief of
the Western Air Command, which is the largest and one of the most important
operational command of the IAF to keep a constant vigil on the western border of
our country. In order to promote closer co-operation and better integration of
joint planning between the Army and the Air Force he institutionalised bi-annual
conferences with both Northern and Western Command of the Army with active
support of the two GOCs-in-C. These conference, helped a lot in building up a
better understanding between the two wings of our armed forces, the Army and the
Air Force thus paving a way for integrated joint planning for future wars.
On 31st July 1993 he was appointed by the government as
the chief of the Air Staff. He retired from this post on 21 December 1995 after
putting in 42 years of active service in the Indian Air Force. In November 1994,
he was also appointed as Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. In this
capacity he gave great impetus to joint planning and co-operation in conducting
Air Chief Marshal S.K. Kaul got married on 11 December
1962 at Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh with Nita the daughter of Pt. Chand Narain
Raina "Chand" of Lahore who was a reputed Urdu poet. Mrs. Nita Kaul is a very
active social worker. She has contributed a lot in the field of adult education
by regularly organising various adult education programmes at the places where
her husband was posted from time to time. She has also worked for the
institutions for the handicapped children at most of the Air Bases. She also
made the Air Force Wives Welfare Association meaningful by involving a large
number of wives of the Air Force personnels in various ventures and social
programmes. This couple has two daughters Shivani and Devyani. The former is
married with Sanjay Tikku while the latter is married with Barmali Agrawal.
Air Chief Marshal S.K Kaul is a charming personality. He
was a keen sportsman during his young age. Golf and Tennis are his most
favourite games. He loves reading books on various subjects and listening Indian
Classical music. He is popularity known as Supp Bhai among his relatives and
close friends. He is humble and highly cultured . He has over 3700 hours of
accident free flying record to his credit which is a very remarkable feat
indeed. He had flown various types of fighter and bombar supersonic aircrafts
held out in the inventory of the Indian Air Force from the Vampires in the 1950s
to the latest MiG-23, Jagaur, MiG-29, and Mirage-2000 aircrafts. After his
retirement from service he settled down in the Gurgaon.