Iwas posted as an ADC to the governor of Punjab, Amin-ud-din Ahmad Khan, erstwhile Nawab of Loharu in January 1982. He was an honorary officer of our Regiment (7th Light Cavalry). He was very fond of the Army and went to great lengths to attend army functions and call on or invite officers of formations stationed in Punjab and Chandimandir. He had done a stint as ADC to the President Dr Rajender Prasad, so he was careful about do’s and dont’s. I remember one such occasion when he didn’t bother about etiquettes. The Governor was to visit Bhatinda for an official function. The corps was commanded by Lt. Gen Himmeth Singh of the Guards whose father had been an intimate friend of the Governor of Jaipur.
Singh had called the Governor to visit his formation in Bhatinda. He asked me to get two silver trophies made for presentation at Bhatinda. One for the formation mess and the other for the General and the other for his wife. We were to stay at the residence of the General if he sent an invite for the same but since no invite came we were slated to stay at the resthouse and have lunch at the residence of General. During the journey, the Governor told me he was really looking forward to meeting and he would ask the General to travel in the Governor’s car from the resthouse to the General’s residence for lunch. So, sure as he was that the general would be at the resthouse to receive him that on getting down from his car at the resthouse in Bhatinda he said, “Let me meet the General before I take the salute of the guard of honour.”
On enquiry it was revealed that the General had sent two of his staff officers to receive the Governor with a pilot jeep. It was a little over 1 pm and we were to go for lunch at the General’s residence. On this, he told me, “I am a father figure for him besides being the Governor of Punjab and still he felt it is below his dignity to come and receive me.” He had felt quite hurt. After taking the ceremonial salute by the police contingent he told me, it was Friday and he would offer namaaz at the local masjid. The police SP got into a tizzy looking and locating the local masjid. The Governor changed his clothes for prayers and went for prayers. The staff officers of the General were getting jittery saying we were getting late for lunch. The Governor got back at past 2 pm changed clothes and got ready to leave at 2:30 pm. Meanwhile the Col. MS told me that my lunch was scheduled at the mess and I would be escorted there by some staff officer. I told this discreetly to the Governor and little did I expect that he would lose his cool. He said, “Do I need to have lunch at someone’s place who can’t offer lunch to my ADC?
I have never seen this happen before.” I prevailed upon him to go for lunch to the General’s residence as it would be in very bad taste if he did not go. He reluctantly agreed but told me to make sure only the police pilot was used and army pilot was sent away. Holding the rank of only a Capt it was a difficult task to relay this to the Col MS, who kept asking me “But why?” Any explanation would have been too dicey to offer. Enroute to the General’s residence the Governor told me, “You have to have lunch with me don’t pay heed to any other instructions.” I said, “Yes Sir.” After lunch was over I spoke to the Governor about the presentation of the silver bowl but he paid no heed and the trophy was brought back.
In the evening there was a function and the Governor asked me, “Is it necessary to make a presentation?” I said, “Sir, if we have made the effort and spent money, it is a good gesture to make the presentation.” He said “I think you are right”, and went ahead. Ahmed Khan was a gentle person and agreed to suggestions. On the way back, I enquired the reason behind his act. He replied, “Having known the General since he was a young boy I expected better from him, but I found him to be thoughtless and I wanted to tell him I too can be unreasonable.” I told him “Sir, you should pardon mistakes.” He later sent the trophy for the General and his wife.
— The author was a member of the Haryana Legislature