To commemorate twenty years of ‘Operation Vijay’, we decided to talk to someone who has fought the Kargil war and our search led to a rich find based out of Pune; exactly twenty years ago, then Major Samir Rawat unfurled the National Flag atop icy peaks after recapturing enemy held positions in Batalik sector of Kargil in 1999 and was conferred a President’s gallantry award for bravery in face of the enemy.
Now a renowned military psychologist, Lt. Col. Dr. Samir Rawat is a combat veteran who still holds the tricolour aloft with pride and is an ardent contributor in the military psychology space and travels all over the military world which recognises his exclusive and unique competencies as a combat soldier and a military psychologist.
Interaction with the Kargil hero revealed that more recently; he has conducted workshops and been a keynote speaker in military institutions in Romania, Serbia, Norway and Poland as well as for NATO in 2018. The ‘icing on the Kargil cake’ is that Dr. Rawat has just been invited as an eminent keynote speaker at the 32nd International Congress of Psychology 2020 (ICP) in Prague which is the most prestigious and biggest international event in the psychological world with over 8000 delegates participating in ICP. When asked about this enormous transition, he said his academic journey began twenty years ago only after an injury sustained in the war that put an end to his battle hardened soldiering journey in Siachen, Kargil and Counter Insurgency/Anti terrorism in Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir. He acknowledges his personal and professional growth were a result of fleeting opportunities that the military provided and considers himself extremely fortunate and lucky to have survived so many near-death experiences in battle, just as he was plain lucky to have come back alive after two volunteer tenures in Operation Meghdoot in the Siachen Glacier.
|Lt. Col. Dr. Samir Rawat|
When asked about his memories of the Kargil operations, Lt. Col. Dr. Samir Rawat said he was proud to be part of the ‘Kargil Dream team of Ladakh Scouts’ and was privileged to have served under an able, competent and committed Brigade Commander, Brigadier Devinder Singh and his deputy, late Colonel Vinoo Thomas (of Maratha Light Infantry), both of whom he eulogises as ‘war heroes the Nation forgot’; he paid rich tributes to not only those who fought the war and laid down their lives in line of duty, but all those as well who fought gallantly and are still alive, especially those who were injured in operations and, along with, their families, still endure the stressors and trauma of war. In an effort to create an awareness about military psychology as an emerging area of study and encourage psychology students to work in the military environment to address problems, needs and concerns of the soldier, sailor and airman, Dr. Samir Rawat organises WARMCAMP International military psychology conference as an annual event and this year, the fifth WARMCAMP is scheduled in Mumbai at the Hotel President, Cuffe Parade from 15-18 August 2019 with keynote speakers from six countries participating. So far, WARMCAMP delegates have come from 18 different countries, and other than students and professors of psychology, practioners and mental health professional, has invited the attention and active participation by representatives nominated by Army Training Command (ARTRAC), Army and Naval HQ, Northern Command, Naval Training Institutions and Military Hospitals, Para Military Forces, BSF, Police from different states and special commandos, Officer Training Academy, National Police Academy as well as civil society.
Just back from Bosnia in June 2019 where he and his team had participated in a military psychology conference and presented a paper on ‘Role of military spouse in post deployment reintegration of the soldier’, he is amidst finalising release of two of his books during Independence Day 2019. Incidentally, one of the books is about the military spouse and highlights her contribution and immense sacrifices that this unique and special population makes in service to the Nation, sacrifices that often go unnoticed by society at large. Dr. Rawat said that his book ‘WAG’s: Psychology for the Military Spouse’ is a tribute to all military spouse who silently take on the task of providing and caring for the soldier and his parents on one hand, and on the other, also creating a second rung of military leaders as we see that many a military children join the profession of Arms, influenced by the way she/he was brought up by his/her mother while the soldier parent was away serving in different parts of the country and across the globe in multinational operations and in non family stations/operational areas. Besides, Dr. Samir Rawat has edited six books on military psychology with authors from over sixteen different countries and has also contributed book chapters in over a dozen military psychology books which have been published in six countries.