Remembering Shanti Bahar: An Intrepid Naval Officer and a Man for the Jungles

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:

At a Navy officer’s wedding those days, attendees would only be those personally invited, and there was a restriction of 150 guests. Shanti wasn’t one of them but yet he turned up, and was welcomed with open arms. He was nd made to hold up a sword which he readily agreed.
This young handsome officer stole the hearts of many a girl on that day.

 

 

 

 

 

REFERENCES

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