Brig. Ripu Soodan : Nation comes first
Serving the Indian army is previlege and honour of any individual, it is not just a job or profession. It requires lot of guts,courage and passion to lead a military life, willingly sacrificing wordly comfort and fight for the nation without second thought.
Alumni of prestigious MBM Engineering college have left thier trances in every possible profession, whether it is Corporate sector, Reasearch & Development, Politics,Social Sector, Sports or in beaurocacy. In this edition of MBM Story, we have chronicled the rivetting life journey of Brigadier Ripu Soodan Retd, an alumnus of the 1988 Civil Engineering batch who chose service of the nation above all life comfort. He was selected through the SSB exam and later was trained in Technical Graduate Course at Indian Military Academy Dehradun to be commissioned into the Corps of Engineers and devoted nearly thirty years in field and peace on many crucial assignments including the Chief Engineer in Border Road Organisation. His contributions and exemplary services with dedication and hard work will always inspire us and strengthen the love and pride for our country.
Early Life :
Ripu Soodan was born on June, 30 th 1963 in a small town Bhusawar (Bharatpur) Rajasthan in a lower-middle-class family and went through the struggles of village life and livelihood like any nominal person in the rural area. His experiences of childhood had a gentle mix of a farmer, businessman and religious person. As he spent his childhood days grazing his pet cows, farming in the field, running a small business, and simultaneously studying to keep his academics strong. Being a dedicated child he focused on studies in the classroom and studied at home under lanterns till VIII class, due to lack of electricity. His mother use to wake him up early in the morning for studies, followed by his daily routine. He was hard-working, intelligent from the beginning and stood first in the school merit. The teachers always liked him for his obedience, punctuality, discipline, good handwriting, good performance in academics and his active participants in extracurricular activities.
Ripu completed his primary education from Dr. Rangey Raghav Govt Primary School and Govt middle (Known as Kachehri) school in Hindi medium from Bhusawar . The school teachers always supported and encouraged him for sports and cultural events. He actively participated in inter-school tournaments at regional/district levels and won many prizes for his schools and himself. He was always a part of school prayers and central functions and focused on studies as well.
Higher Education :
Ripu received his Honours degree from the Alwar college and stood in the state merit of top ten. This merit provided him an opportunity to enter into his dream MBM Engineering College Jodhpur only to pursue regular BE (Civil). Although Brig Ripu also got selected in PWD Rajasthan as JE Civil, despite many compulsions and against many odds he chose to attend a regular BE degree course from MBM.
Despite BE civil degree with Honors division, he was worried due to unemployment in his branch. The saturation was such that it was very difficult to find Govt jobs and the civil infrastructure sector was not so blooming those days. So he started preparing for the competitive exams, which he regretted to give a kick start in college days itself, but he didn’t get any guidance regarding it in the college days.
After joining the army he thought of pursuing higher studies and cleared a departmental competition exam and got selected as Army-sponsored student for Masters of Engineering in Geotechnical branch of the civil engineering department, Indian Institute of Science Bangalore. It was very challenging to overcome the time gap in studies and catch up with fresh IITian students who qualified GATE with 99 percentiles. It was sheer determination, grit and hard work that Er. Ripu passed out from IISc Banglore with distinction and stood amongst the toppers.
Professional Journey :
Ripu got selected as Adhoc Asst Prof in MREC (MNIT Now) Jaipur, but he was still not satisfied with the profession he was working for. He applied for the Army Service Selection Board with his friends in a common envelope, received an interview letter and attended an interview along with his friends but only Ripu got selected from the entire batch for the Army TGC entry.
The Chetwode motto which Brig Ripu Soodan always remembered is read as follows:
Brig. Ripu also acquired professional memberships e,g, Fellow Institute of Engineers FIE, Fellow Institute of Indian Bridge Engineers IIBE, Chartered Engineer IEI, Project Management Level D from IPMA, Member Indian Roads Congress MIRC, Member Indian Concrete Institute MICI etc.
In the service of nation
Er. Ripu Soodan was from a non-army background so it created many doubts before joining the academy, Brig Ripu Soodan resigned from MREC Jaipur and joined IMA Dehradun. It was extremely tough for him to go through such hard military training but he sustained and successfully passed all the physical and mental endurance tests, tactics, weapon training, sports and adventures with his strong willpower to become an Indian Army Officer. The training encompasses the overall development of a cadet who is prepared to face any situation during war and peace and lead his troops to emerge victorious. It is established to make sure that the Indian soldier’s fitness and capacity are as good as one can think of. It was an interesting part of life. The grand passing out parade (PoP) pipping ceremony of the course at Indian Military Academy Dehradun was attended by his proud parents. The oath and words of Chetwode credo always echoed in the heart and mind of military officers, especially when any crucial decision is required by a military leader. Brig Ripu Soodan was commissioned into a Bengal Sappers ‘Chak-De’ Engineer Regiment and first got deployed along the Pakistan border in Akhnoor sector of J&K. His first commanding officer instituted bold salutation with loud shout Jaihind and it became a habit! During his three-decades-long military service, his experiences covered all walks of Army life, be it at LoC or LAC. Brig Ripu Soodan has been fortunate to have gone through a balanced and diverse service profile. He was deployed in counter-insurgency operations, peace and field units, high altitude areas, highly active field areas, directing staff in the college of military engineers, foreign mission and for development of defence infrastructures worked as an Engineering professional including the Chief Engineer of Border Roads Organisation Project and Commander Works Engineer in Indian Airforce.
Winning the hearts of people
When insurgency was at the peak in Punjab, Brig Ripu was just promoted as Captain and got deployed as column commander in the most sensitive district of Punjab under OP RAKSHAK. He had very interesting experiences of winning the hearts and minds of the local public and dominating the area of terrorists infested territory effectively. This was the time he had to learn Guruvani/Punjabi language to read and speak for communicating with locals. The terrorist’s activities were reduced drastically in that area due to his fearless patrolling, ambushes and area domination operations on daily basis and also captured a dreaded terrorist alive in a joint operation conducted at midnight. There were several occasions when the risk of life was real but fearlessly kept as part of daily routine. While considering the interests of society , mutual conflicts came into the picture.The commitment on duty as column commander was such that even when their son was born, it took a month before Brig Ripu could see their newborn baby.
Working in tough and trying conditions:
As the infrastructure for the ammunition depot was to come up, Brig Ripu with the engineers task force worked tirelessly in the scorching heat of deserts, where the temperature was soaring up to 50 degrees Celsius. He also revised the foundation design of security cum watch towers for sand dunes, the knowledge gained from MBM professors was applied in the field. After completion of a training course, Brig Ripu was posted as an instructor in the Faculty of Nuclear, Biological & Chemical (NBC) warfare of College of Military Engineers, to train officers and men of Army, Navy and Airforce on NBC warfare. He had a privilege to train his seniors as well as peers and juniors. In the wake of a chemical incident that happened in the Japan metro, one fine day CME Commandant called Brig Ripu in the office to discuss NBC training and equipment standards. He tasked Brig Ripu to take charge of the National NBC quick reaction team (QRT) in case of any casualty and be prepared for it. He further said that “You may fumble before the incident during training, but not at the time of National crises! “Ripu, be ready to respond to any NBC incident if it happened in the country and all available resources shall be made available for the same”. Fortunately, Mr. Ripu got associated with a research program on the usage of waste ‘Fly Ash’ which was later on accepted as construction material. It helped the environment and the thermal plant’s hazardous waste become a useful by product. He was the in-charge of the field test lab and quality control at Airfield resurfacing work at Bagdogra. He also grabbed knowledge of modern design techniques on STAAD III software. The importance of earthquake zone v resistant building was primitive in design. In a yet another privilege Brig Ripu was deputed as liaison & protocol officer for the visiting guest speakers to NBC faculty that included Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, who was scientific advisor to Raksha Mantri ji and chairman DRDO. His professional integrity, humble and simple approach touched the heart so deep that it had left permanent marks in life. His quality of work, checking things personally and eagerness to finish a task with perfection was worth immolating by everyone. This period gave a boost to Ripu’s career as he got opportunities of NBC field trials and exposure to BARC, DRDO and many premier institutions of the country.
ADVENTUROUS AND MEMORABLE INCIDENTS :
At the time of Kargil war, Ripu volunteered to participate and requested his unit commanding officer to get him back to the Regiment. Initially, his request was turned down due to his full strength in the unit and design workload at the Zonal office. But fortunately, he was soon posted back to the unit on the occurrence of the vacancy and again his unit got deployed in the Ladakh. Brig Ripu was deployed in the Batalik sector as field company commander for the execution of engineer tasks in a mountain brigade of high-altitude areas. In this period he saved an important bridge from floods in the Indus River and developed infrastructure to support locals under Op Sadbhavna for a pure Aryan Village.
He worked with vigor and zeal to construct a motorable track up to the heights of more than 18000 feet on a very steep slope within a single working season, where even survival itself was a challenging task and work was executed in a highly active field under enemy observation. Ripu was subsequently mobilized with the unit for OP PARAKRAM, for any action on Western borders. The mobilization of the unit was swift, ordered at night and Ripu took the advance party of the Brigade within hours.
ACHIEVEMENTS WITH THE TROOPS:
Brig Ripu participated in the field exercises , where his Field Company and regiment provide combat engineering support to leading fighting forces e.g. track-laying, mine-field laying & breaching, water supply, NBC decontamination, bridging, occupation of defenses, etc. His company won most of the sports and combat competitions and lifted the commanding officer’s banner. When tasked, he also ensured safe demining of the fertile land of the western sector benefitting civilians, farmers, and the civil administration. Brig Ripu Soodan was amongst the selected colonels nominated for Higher Defence Management Course from the College of Defence Management. It reflects his overall performance and merit for the next promotion and tenanting higher appointments. Here simultaneously, he also qualified a management degree of Master of Management Sciences from Osmania University Hyderabad with first division.
As director works technical coordination, Brig Ripu Soodan implemented a new establishment to act as a single contact point at Engineer-in-Chief’s Branch, Army HQ to monitor all types of works under planning and execution by 34 MES Zonal Chief Engineers pan India. It was a herculean task to identify and list out the status of all works under MES. Brig. Ripu formulated the criterion and format of the performance parameters which could give a glance status of all works and the performance of a Chief Engineer Zone. The targets and performances were presented to the defense minister who himself being an IITian desired the project monitoring mechanism and appreciated the implementation. The policy implementation, vigilance and technical examiner’s audit reports, critical analysis of works projects were carried out to mitigate their hindrances, optimize resources and expedite their timely execution.Brig Ripu was also instrumental in planning for the development of the modern military station at Jaisalmer and security infrastructures, schools and hospital buildings, etc. Brigadier Ripu Soodan was awarded the Chief of Army Staff Commendation for his dedication and distinguished service to the Army. Chief Engineer: On promotion to the Brigadiers rank, Ripu was posted as Chief Engineer Project in Border Roads Organisation to provide support on Western borders of Gujrat, Rajasthan and Punjab. He ensured more than 100% target achievement in the development of bridges, strategic roads, helipads and other infrastructure works. A strategic bridge at Hussainiwala Barrage, which was blown off during the Indo-Pak 1971 war, was rebuilt under his leadership.
The bridge was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Defence Minister and the challenge was to ensure no disturbances in the existing Barrage; accordingly, the work was executed with precision. The infrastructure created could facilitate faster movement of civil transportation, trades, tourists and security forces. He conducted a visiting parliamentary committee on defense and received appreciation from Hon’ble members for the better development and upkeep of more than 4000 km length of roads. He also provided the requisite support to NHAI for the development of roads under the Bharatmala project in his sector.
Brig Ripu Soodan retired from service with stellar achievements, many feathers in the cap, and a sense of pride. His sacrifices would inspire many youngsters to serve selflessly and provide service for their country. His outstanding contributions are gigantic but Brig Ripu as a humble and down-to-earth person always maintained the service before himself and termed his contributions as a duty, a service like only a drop in the ocean of the Indian Army. His contributions will go a long way in the history of the Corps of Engineers and Army.
MBM days :
Adjusting to a new environment is never easy and so it was with Brig Ripu, adapting to the MBM culture was a hard row to hoe. He lived as a day scholar, shared his accommodation with friends who were experiencing a financial crisis. Interest in his domains was developed and subjects seemed to be more engaging and easy because of the some prominent professors like Prof Alam Singh, Prof BC Punamia, and many such stalwarts. The professors imparted high quality of knowledge with references to practical aspects and implications. He recalled when Prof Alam Singh himself came to the soil lab explaining the intricacies of soil samples and carried various soil tests under his guidance to explain the right process and analyzed the test results with implications on structure’s foundations etc.
Delayed exams and strikes were the another name of atrocities in his college days .The main concern in MBM was, the strikes were called at a drop of a hat by various college groups and the final exams were delayed for every academic session. Brig Ripu with his new friends went through such situations and started with their late-night studies. In-depth conceptual studies and practical knowledge were always handy not only for college exams but also while applying it on the ground in the professional career.
Improving English language and vocabulary, making learning easier with group study, stressing out by playing sports and Billiards were made part of his daily routine. He also played in the University volleyball tournament from college as part of the winner’s team and participated in a billiards tournament held at Ummed Bhawan.. He got graduated with Honours Division and was meritorious in the University. He practiced Theodolite Surveying during his college days and later it helped him in Army career for Airfield Construction Works. Brig Ripu always wore a pressure of performance and placement since he left a permanent job in PWD before joining MBM. Overall the pressure was good in a way which motivated him to stay focused on academics and ensure better performance.
Message for youngsters:
“There is no shortcuts to the hardwork. An early goal setting is a must for MBM youngsters and consistent efforts are essential to achieve these goals. Explore opportunities, strive for the best performance with positive attitude. Believe in yourself, you are the best and you can do it. Help and enable yourself to help others. Remember, so shall you sow, so shall you reap” advises Brig. Ripu.
“Sow an action, it becomes a habit.
Sow a habit, it becomes a character.
Sow a character, it becomes a destiny.”
Giving Back to alma mater:
“Giving back to the Alma mater is a duty of every alumni and not a favour. One may derive a pleasure by contributing towards mother institutions in any form to glorify it’s standards, enhancing the infrastructure and academic laurels. As an executive committee member, I am confident that each MBM alumni is contributing in either of many ways such as motivator, donor, worker, volunteer, organiser, leader, manager, guide, mentor or inspirer etc towards the betterment and glory of our great MBM University Jodhpur.”
Brig Ripu is well connected with his friends and very much alive to the happenings around him. Brig Ripu Soodan is blessed with two sons. The elder one is serving in Army as a Major; presently a pilot in army aviation and the younger son is working in MNC abroad. Brig Ripu Soodan has always shouldered social responsibilities whenever situations demanded. He has set an example by looking after his ailing, aged parents despite personal constraints and his commitments on military duty. All his achievements could not have been possible without the support from his wife. Her positive support and sacrifices are praiseworthy. She looked after all domestic affairs and supported Brig Ripu to perform his duties with sincerity.
Brig Ripu Soodan retired from service on 30 Jun 2019. He laid a wreath on the final day of retirement at the Sapt Shakti war memorial. Extremely contented and satisfied Brigadier , with humble and emotional expression on his face , generously thanked his superiors, peers, subordinates, and each one who helped him in the entire journey of life that he will never forget.
This is such an inspirational and motivational journey of Brig. Ripu Soodan. Entire MBM community is proud of his achievements and contibutions in nation building. Team MBM Stories We wishes happiness and good luck to Brig. Ripu Soodan.
Vaibhav Agarwal is a 1st year student of MBM college pursuing his degree in Information & Technology branch. He is a tech enthusiast, interested in development field and always love to take part in events and works of different domains. Besides studies he loves to read and write poems and stories of Hindi literature. He’s also serving as a community volunteer for technical club (DSC MBM) of college. He happens to be grandson of Brig. Ripu Soodan.
Very nice n inspiring
What a briiliant and commendable journey of Brig Ripusudan sir. These stories helps in nurturing today’s generation with good deeds and also importance of hardwork and consistency .
Kudos to the author and entire team of MBM Stories for enlightening such a inspirational journey.
Brig Ripu is such a pleasing person that he not only feels us proud for being our alumnus but also brings loads of positivity …. Great article on greatest personality….
Brig. Ripu sir story inspired us to always be consistent in life and keep working hard untill you get satisfied with your job
This is a very inspirational story and we get to learn a lot from his story……He has achieved his success even by coming out of difficult situations and now serving for our country 🔥……. behind his success their is only one reason which is his hardwork and dedication towards his field🙇🏻♀️🔥
So inspiring story. Jai Hind Sir
Great life journey. The story is a perfect example of hard work and determination in life. Kudos to the writer for presenting it in a beautiful way.
Very encouraging and tremendous efforts for serving the Nation and humanity
Brig. Ripu Sir story inspired us to always be consistent & keep hardworking untill you achieve satisfaction level
This story inspired me a lot 🔥🔥🔥🔥
Congratulations. Brig Bhai Ripu we are proud of you.stay blessed and healthy..God bless you forever. Jai Hind
Excellent article on Brigadier Ripu Soodan sir. May his story inspire many MBMites to join Armed forces and serve the country.
We all proud of you Ripu
Our inspiring class mate
Brig Ripu soodan is nice person and always helping to all, he is my class mate ,roommat
An inspiring real life story. Proud of Brig. Ripu Soodan. His contribution towards our Nation is fantastic.
Great Ripu Sudan. .You have done extra ordinary work and devote full time for serving nation. one more thing I want to add for Mr Ripu and his family that they have done full care of their parents for long time . We are classmate, friend and hostel mates We feel proud on MR Ripu S.
Love to read this.
What a Legend..!
Great article to mention the few of many heroics of the wonderful personality.
So proud of your achievements and grooming Sir.
Honoured to be related to you and Proudest to your Son
Great job compiling this article Vaibhav!
Amazing achievements all around Papa, inspiring us to be the best version of ourselves every step of the way! So much more to learn from you Papa 🙂
Great job compiling this article Vaibhav!
Truly inspiring journey, so lucky to have your guidance every step of the way papa. 🙂 So much more to learn from you.