Life sails full circle for this Navy veteran in 50 years span

Shashwat Gupta Ray
Thursday, 25 January 2018

Panaji: Life came full circle for retired navy Petty Officer NG Murthy when on December 14, 2017 Prime Minister Narendra Modi presided over the commissioning ceremony of the indigenously built diesel-electric attack submarine INS Kalvari. It was 50 years ago when Indian Navy inducted its first submarine also named INS Kalvari from erstwhile Soviet Union (now Russia). Murthy was part of India’s first-ever submarine crew.

Panaji: Life came full circle for retired navy Petty Officer NG Murthy when on December 14, 2017 Prime Minister Narendra Modi presided over the commissioning ceremony of the indigenously built diesel-electric attack submarine INS Kalvari. It was 50 years ago when Indian Navy inducted its first submarine also named INS Kalvari from erstwhile Soviet Union (now Russia). Murthy was part of India’s first-ever submarine crew.

“It was Golden Jubilee celebration of INS Kalvari. On the occasion, a new submarine with same name was commissioned into the Navy. I attended the programme and was accorded a warm welcome by the senior officers present on the occasion. I met some of my old colleagues and got emotional. It seemed as if yesterday we set sail in the first submarine,” said Murthy, who is settled here in Goa.

Murthy joined Indian Navy as a Navy Boy at an early age of 16 in 1954. He got trained as a submariner and served as a Petty Officer in INS Kalvari. He was in charge of one of the compartments of INS Kalvari, the Soviet Foxtrot-Class submarine, which was commissioned in the Indian Navy on December 8, 1967. It was decommissioned in May 1996.

‘The toughest thing for a submariner is to remain submerged in water for more than 10 days. There was problem of water shortage inside the submarine and often we used to take bath by getting drenched in the rain,’’ Murthy reminisced.

According to the Navy veteran, to become a good submariner, one needs to have good health and very sharp ears.

“You must be able to detect and analyse the nature and source of various sounds around. Once a wire got entangled in the propeller of the submarine, as a result of which I could hear a distinct sound of weird nature. Realising that there is some problem in the smooth functioning of the submarine, I informed it to my officials and the matter got sorted out in the right time before any complications could occur,” he said.

Although five decades have passed, his presence of mind and prompt action is remembered by his compatriots even today.

“Even now, I receive a lot of praise for preventing potential damage to the submarine,’’ said a proud Murthy.

Murthy was part of a British submarine and also a Russian submarine. He however lamented that though the Navy has progressed in terms of technology and other facilities, there was a distinct lack of discipline in the force.

“The recent spate of accidents that have occurred in Navy submarines is a result of indiscipline. This is a serious issue, which needs to be addressed,” the veteran submariner said.

A soldier always serves the nation in his own way, with or without the uniform. Same is the case with Murthy, who continues to serve the society through various charity works such as participating in leprosy camps, helping visually impaired people amongst other such social
activities.

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