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21 Corps / XXI Corps / 1 Strike Corps Sudarshan Chakra Corps

An Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) was deployed in Sri Lanka's northeast following a July 1987 bilateral peace pact aimed at ending Tamil separatism. But the troops ended up fighting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) from October that year, losing nearly 1,200 men until the last of the soldiers left Sri Lanka in March 1990. HQ IPKF was re-designated as HQ 21 Corps in April 1990. This became the offensive corps of Southern Command and established itself at Bhopal in July 1990.

On 31 August 2002 Lt Gen PPS Bhandari took over as General Officer Commanding of 21 Corps. Commissioned in the famous Hodson's Horse in the year 1966, General Bhandari commanded 72 Armoured Regiment and later an Armoured Brigade and Armoured Division that formed parts of Strike Formations of Indian Army. He has also been Brigadier General Staff of a Strike Corps. He has also been a Brigade Major of an Armoured Brigade and Col GS of a Division in Jammu & Kashmir. Known as a Mechanised warfare expert the General officer is an alumni of Defence Services Staff College, Higher Command and Royal College of Defence Studies (UK). He has held a number of important instructional assignments that include tenures at the Indian Military Academy, Armoured Corps School, Defence Services Staff College and Senior and higher Command Wings of College of Combat. Before assuming the Command of 21 Corps Lt Gen PPS Bhandari was Additional Military Secretary at Army HQs.

The renovated Shahbaaz Sainik Institute (SSI) was dedicated in February 2008 to the PBOR and their families by Lt Gen Pradeep Khanna, GOC 21 Corps at Saugor in the presence of Maj Gen JS Kataria, GOC, 36 Infantry Division, PBOR and families. The institute had been tastefully furnished and equipped with a cyber café, library cum reading room, crèche with toys for tiny tots, TT table, a basketball court, badminton court and a cricket Pitch with all the cricket gear. The excellent ambience, diffused lighting and well-manicured lawn was appreciated by the GOC 21 Corps and the President Sudarshan Chakra AWWA.

In February 2008 the army mobilised over 37,000 troops, part of a strike corps, and fielding its cutting edge weapon systems in the in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan, around 100 km from India's border with Pakistan. Exercise Dakshin Shakti [Brazen Chariots], carried out from March 3-14 by Bhopal-based 21 Corps, encompassed the entire spectrum of armament and military equipment currently in service with the army and air force. Dakshin Shakti is a collective effort of the army's Southern Command and air force's South-Western Air Command. It featured modern combat aircraft like Su-30 MKI and MiG-29, unmanned aerial vehicles, T-90 tanks, new command and control systems, the newly-inducted Smerch and Pinaka multiple rocket launch systems, long range reconnaissance and observation systems and many new communications and surveillance systems. On 26 May 2008 Lieutenent General Arvinder Singh Lamba took over as General-Officer-Commanding of the Bhopal-based 21 Corps. Lamba who fought in the 1971 Indo-Pak has also commanded a Mountain Brigade in Nagaland, Manipur and in 'Operation Parakram'. He was awarded Ati Vishisht Seva Medal in 2006 after he commanded an Infantry Division on the western border.

Sudarshan Chakra Corps

Lord Shiva is the Deity of destruction and the whirling effulgence at the end of the universe is Sudarshan Chakra, hence the shape of Sudarshan has been taken as Lord Shiva. Swetaswatar Upanishad (1:4) reveals that the whole Universe is a wheel. At the end of a Kalpa (four Yugas) the created universe finishes into fire. All the scattered celestial illuminations in the endless space come closer together in a whirling manner spirally and unite to form a Chakra in motion. This is described in the Deluge chapter of Sri Vishnu Purana.

Sudarshan, one weapon in the hand of Lord Vishnu is regarded as a deity in Brahma Purana and Skanda Purana. Both the wheel and pole shapes of Sudarshan have different mythological backdrops. Subhadra is the symbol of energy or power. Also Sudarshan is energy or Power. Sudarshan is the symbol of knowledge in the hand of Sri Vishnu.

How Sudarshan was created is described in Brahma Purana, that to get rid of the wicked demons all Lords prayed to Vishnu. He asked all Lords to combine all their energies. Lord Shankar shaped this combined energy into a wheel. He handed over this wheel to Lord Vishnu to kill the demons. In another volume 'Pasupata Darshan' it is described that the Universe is a wheel and Lord Shankar is moving around sitting on this wheel. During the Car Festival, Lord Sudarshan comes first to the Chariot during 'Pahandi' and placed in Devadalan, the car of deity Subhadra. Hence both perform their journey sitting on the same chariot.

Sudarshan is worshipped as Sun. It is described in Markandeya Purana that on the Nilagiri the Lord of Universe is existing in four forms named Brahma (Subhadra), Vishnu (Jagannath), Ishwar (Balabhadra) and Sun (Sudarshan). Lord Sudarshan is the symbol of immense effulgence.

Sudarshan is also worshipped as Chakra Narayan. There is a temple of Chakra Narayan near the western gate of Srimandir just opposite to Niladrivihar, inside the flower garden. The statue of eight handed Narayan sits at the center of a wheel made of black granite stone. The eight hands are full of weapons such as conch, wheel, lotus, mace, bow, arrow, sword and lightning.

Lord Vishnu throws Chakra to kill some demon or evil doer. When the Chakra revolves round, it either creates some mysterious clue or finishes some existence. At the end of the Mahabharat war, Belalsen replied that only one wheel has killed every body. It is the great wheel of time that finishes the creation and that too, it is a rotation. The creation begins again and again. Hence it is cycle of creation and destruction. It is the supreme wheel (Sudarshan Chakra) in the hand of the Creator / Preserver / Destructor of the Universe.

XXI Corps
Bhopal 23°16'N77°24'E

U/I Artillery BDE
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U/I Air Def BDE
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U/I Heli Sqn
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31 Armored Division
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Sagor 22°36'N75°36'E
115 Infantry BrigadeJaffna
5 Bn The First Gorkha Rifles
72 Infantry BrigadeJaffna
4 Bn./5 Gorkha Regiment
13 Sikh LI Bn
41 Infantry BrigadeJaffna
5 Rajputana Rifles

54 Infantry Division
Hissar 29°10'N75°43'E
47 Infantry Brigade (Trincomalee
76 Infantry Brigade (Munnar
91 Infantry Brigade (Jaffna)
1 Maratha Light Infantry Bn
5 Madras Bn
8 Mahar Bn

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:41:12 ZULU