Retired Army doctor Maj Gen N K Manchanda and his wife Maj Gen (Mrs) Anju Manchanda, VSM, were a power couple.

One of the first couples in India to rise to the prestigious rank of major generals during the 1999 Kargil War, they were known not only for their heroic deeds but also for their partnership.

On the occasion of Kargil Vijay Diwas, their story is of immense significance.

Having joined the Army as a captain in January 1967, Manchanda says Anju joined just a month later. The two met when Manchanda spotted Anju on a verandah at the Army Hospital in Delhi Cantonment.

“At that time, I never knew she was going to be the person with whom I would spend my entire life,” he shares.

Over a period of time, the duo was introduced to each other through mutual acquaintances. They eventually fell in love and got married a year later.

In 1971, the newly married couple was just four years into their service when the Bangladesh Liberation War started.

Manchanda was deputed as a regimental medical officer to Tripura and Bangladesh, while Anju was posted in Delhi.

When the Kargil War broke out in May 1999, both generals were posted in Delhi.

Manchanda, the then deputy director-general of Medical Services (DGMS Army), trained medical personnel to be prepared for reinforcements in case of a bigger war at any time.

Whereas Anju was posted at the Army Research & Referral Hospital which handled most of the war casualties.

In fact, she was the braveheart doctor who accompanied the Pakistani prisoners of war on a flight and rescued their Indian counterparts imprisoned on the other side of the border.

“We had no idea when the war was going to end. We had to stay prepared at all times,” says Manchanda.

Their positions of responsibility forced the couple to live apart for five years due to their postings. “We have spent almost 50 percent of our careers apart from each other,” says Manchanda.

At home, the couple would spend quality time with their two daughters or indulge in hobbies like gardening.

Later, they both rose steadily in their profession to the exalted height of major-general, a rare achievement.

Post their retirement in 2004, the couple moved from Delhi to Bengaluru where they worked as medical officers.

Anju passed away on 20 December 2014, and her unfinished memoir ‘Bold’ was completed by Maj Gen Manchanda and his daughters.