Yes, I am the Soldier’s Beret, by Lt Gen Mukesh Sabharwal, Retd

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The first time you

connected with me

was when you joined

the Academy


To most people,

I am a virtual stranger

but known to the military,

worn by a Ranger


Not only a matter

of custom or form

crown on the head,

adorn a uniform


Yes, I am the Soldier’s Beret.


In several shapes

and hues I come

single or two piece

as chosen by some


Made from fibres

synthetic and cotton

the erstwhile wool

not to be forgotten


Wear me straight

or style me in tilt

its my character that stays

firmly built


Yes, I am the Soldier’s Beret.


My features vary

from country to nation

by colour, size and

military tradition


What does not change

one bit for the team

is my prestige, significance

and self esteem


For a trooper,

a guard, a scout or a guide

always and forever

wears me with pride


Yes, I am the Soldier’s Beret.


Fun and banter

till the beret he does adorn

but change in demeanour,

the moment it is worn


In automatic mode,

the chest simply swells up

tummy tucked in and

both eyes light up


Appears a spring in the step

of the military boot

smartly and crisply,

hands go up in salute


Yes, I am the Soldier’s Beret.


Is it a mere headgear ?

Nay, it is not

along comes responsibility

on the trot


For the casual admirer,

its glamour and beauty

but for the serious soldier,

its a call for duty


An ingrained sense of

purpose filled to the core

care and countrymen’s

protection comes to the fore


Yes, I am the Soldier’s Beret.


The badge on the beret

pumps the Soldier’s morale

the Regiment, the traditions,

history et al


Spurs him forward

to capture the hill

spilling blood and guts,

all his toil and till


Mission successful,

following orders and plan

for Namak of the Paltan,

Izzat of Motherland


Yes, I am the Soldier’s Beret.


Looked up with admiration

and genuine pride

on parade or battle,

a cynosure of eyes


A fallen comrade with

buddy as his shield

always carried home,

never left in the field


A martyr’s casket,

bedecked with the Tricolour

crowned with the Beret

and medals of valour


Yes, I am the Soldier’s Beret.


For my wearer though,

it is sad but true

where is the respect,

that is rightfully his due


Day and night,

he struggles and he strives

applaud him dear citizens,

while he’s still alive


Be assured that his Karma

he will gladly perform

for the love of his

country and the uniform


Yes, I am the Soldier’s Beret.

Author : Lt Gen Mukesh Sabharwal PVSM, AVSM**, VSM (Retd.) was former 15 Corps Commander, Srinagar , J&K and Adjutant General, Indian Army. The views in the article are solely the author’s.

Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the respective author/ speakers and do not necessarily represent the views of the organisation that they belong to or of that of STRIVE

Music – Courtesy Ben Sound