It was fate that brought Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and his wife Madhulika Rawat together and it was fate that took them away at the same time, Madhulika’s brother, Yash Vardhan Singh said.
The couple met after CDS Rawat’s father, Laxman Singh Rawat – who was also an Army officer, sought for the hand of Madhulika for the late general. “He wrote to my father late Mrigendra Singh and that’s how the marriage talks began,” Yash told news agency PTI.
CDS Rawat and his wife Madhulika had their roots from two different states, with the late general hailing from Uttarakhand while she belonged to Shahdol district in Madhya Pradesh.
Reminiscing fond memories of his sister, Yash said their maternal grandfather lived in Lucknow, and that is where Madhulika was born in 1960s. The CDS got married to Madhulika in Delhi 35 years ago.
Yash’s daughter, Bandhvi Singh, who was present at the official residence of the CDS in Delhi on Friday to pay last respects to his mortal remains along with his wife Madhulika, is a national-level shooting player.
A graduate from Delhi University’s St Stephen’s College, the soon-to-be 21-year-old niece of CDS Rawat and Madhulika told PTI that she reached the national capital late Thursday night to be with the family.
Bandhvi said that she “somehow completed” her rifle shooting competition in Bhopal as the images of her “phua-phupha” (Madhulika Rawat and CDS Rawat) where “flashing” in her head. “My phuphaji (CDS Rawat) had always inspired me to be a fighter,” she was quoted as saying by PTI.
The CDS’ niece recalled a memory about the time she spent with him at his official residence a few months before. Bandhvi said that she had returned from Peru at the time after participating in a world shooting championship, and as it was Dussehra, the late General had taken her to see the festivities by the Gorkha Regiment soldiers. “As I shoot rifle as a sport, he wanted me to get blessings of the Goddess,” Bandhvi said, adding that she will “cherish” all these memories now.
The late CDS Rawat studied in St Edward School in Shimla, and then joined the National Defence Academy (NDA), Khadakwasla in Maharashtra. He was commissioned into the 11th Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army in December 1978, and took over as the chief of Indian Army in December 2016. He was appointed as India’s first CDS on December 31, 2019.
CDS Rawat and his wife Madhulika were killed on December 8 after the Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter they were on board crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu. Along with them, 11 other Armed Forces personnel, including the chopper pilot Wing Commander Prithvi Singh Chauhan, also lost their lives. In a statement, the IAF confirmed their deaths while mentioning that Group Captain Varun Singh was the only one of the total 14 people inside the helicopter to have survived the tragedy. Currently, Singh is undergoing treatment at Bengaluru’s Command Hospital and though he is maintaining vital signs, his condition is critical.