Flt Lt Tanmaya Singh Dandass, Indian Airforce

Flt Lt Tanmaya Singh Dandass

During his high schol years Tanmaya Singh Dandass was an outstanding athlete and won State colours. He was declared Best NCC Cadet for two years running. After passing out from High School in 1962, he joined the Indian Air Force.

During the 1971 Indo-Pak war, Flt Lt Tanmaya was based with 26 Squadron "Warriors" flying the Sukhoi-7 fighter aircraft.

On 16th December, the last day of the war, Flt Lt Tanmaya was part of a four aircraft strike mission on the Norowal Railway Yard in Pakistani territory.

The strike formation flew into very heavy enemy air defences near the target. Flt Lt Tanmaya's aircraft was hit by the ack-ack barrage and was seen exploding on the ground. He is believed to have ejected safely and taken POW. He was only 25 years of age. Officially, Flt Lt Tanmaya Singh Dandass was killed in action.

On June 20, 2000, the Indian Air Force honoured its martyrs who had laid down their lives in various operations since independence. At a solemn function held at the Headquarters of Western Air Command in New Delhi, an "Emblem of Honour", a citation and an amount of Rs.1 Lakh each was presented to the next of kin by Air Marshal S. Krishnaswamy.

Amid the solemnity of an early morning Air Force ceremony, images of the past flashed through Ms Suman Dandass's mind as she recalled the days when such functions were part of her life as the wife of an Air Force officer.

Ms Dandass alternated between hope and despair for five years before learning that her husband had been killed during the war. She had no regrets about having married a serviceman. And while she was happy to be part of the ceremony to honor the dead personnel, she said "It has come after a long period. They should have kept in touch with us for all these years".

The pain and agony associated with the loss of her husband had taken its toll over the years. "They may be gone, but their faces seem to be frozen in time," Dandass said looking wistfully at the photographs of the 12 IAF personnel who were honored. "They all look so young and handsome," she said.

Every year the IETE-Flt Lt Tanmaya Singh Dandass Memorial Award is given to a person or group of persons for outstanding contributions in the field of Avionics, covering education, research, design, development and/or production.

The award, which consists of a medal and citation, is the result of a donation made by Col(Retd) A.S. Dandass in memory of his late son, Flt Lt Tanmaya Singh Dandass.

In 2001, A team of Aeronautical Development Agency(ADA) Scientists bagged the award. Mr R. Srinivasa Rao, Mr M.P. Reddy and Mr Ajai Vohra of ADA were selected for their contribution in avionics. The scientists are working on the LCA's avionics system.

Official 26 Sqn site