ONE: A Momento from An SL Army Officer
Lieut Commander Shanti Bahar was the son of late Col. BJH Bahar from the CLI and his wife was a German lady. Being of mixed parentage his natural interests were in outdoor life. He was an excellent marksman and a superb underwater diver spending most of his time either hunting or diving whilst being in the Navy he spent most of career at the Trincomalee Naval base. He was the pioneer of the Special Forces (Boat Squadron) concept in the Navy. He died during an attack on an enemy hideout in Alankerni, Muttur, Trincomalee in 1986.
B: A Note from Retd SL Navy Commander Somasiri Devendra, 18 August 2022
In 1961/62 I saw Shanti as a 8-9 year old boy whose father lived close to the Navy camp. He was already adept with his air rifle at that age. Ten years later, when I was recruiting young officer cadets, his application turned up and it was a fabulous CV. “Why did he not join the Army?” I wondered. I found that internal Army politics had a credo that Budge Bahar’s son would be blacklisted at Defence Ministry level. So, I took the application form to the Captain of the Navy who said, “Take him, of course, but why are you showing me this?” I told him to watch out at the Ministry. Good man, he dug in his heels and said, “No Bahar? Then, I don’t want any other cadets!”. The PM backed him and Shanti was in. I had no more to do with him – no training, no moulding – but I am glad to have been able to get him into the Navy and for the Navy to have had him.
I keep in touch with his wife, daughter of my senior officer, Capt. Wahid, a fine man.
ADDENDUM 21 August 2022, A SNIPPET from Dr Kamal Magdon Ismail, Ex SLN:
- Michael Roberts: “The SBS Marine Commandoes of the Sri Lankan Navy,” 13 April 2021, ……………………………………….. https://thuppahis.com/2021/04/13/the-sbs-marine-commandos-of-the-sri-lankan-navy/
- Thuppahi: “Cedric Martensteyn and the SBS Arrow Boats,” 19 April 2021, …. ……………………………………………. https://thuppahis.com/2021/04/19/cedric-martensteyn-and-the-sbs-arrow-boats/
One response to “Remembering Shanti Bahar: An Intrepid Naval Officer and a Man for the Jungles”
I serendipitously googled Shanti Bahar and came upon this blog. My father was an American Naval Officer and good friends with Budge Bahar. As a young kid in 1958 -1960 I would go hunting with my father and Budge, and we would visit the Bahar’s up at their place at an army base up in the mountains. I can say the name but cannot spell it. It was there that I met Shanti. I was 11 at the time and Shanti was 4 or 5 years younger and very rambunctious. My father stayed in touch with Budge and Sonya and that is how I learned of his death. Around 1978 Sonya came to visit me in the States and at some point I learned of Budge’s passing. In the 1980’s I visited Hawaii and met Shanti’s younger brother. I believe it was after that I learned of Shanti’s remarkable naval career and his death. If he was a great shot with the pellet gun I would like to claim some responsibility for that…another story. In the meantime I would love to communicate with anyone who knew him or his family