Remembrance of a Legacy: The Life and Times of Shri Sukhdev Raj Channan

A courageous visionary whose journey from a humble Narowal District village to the world stage exemplified bravery, tenacity, and enduring values.

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Lt Col Manoj K Channan
Lt Col Manoj K Channan
Lt Col Manoj K Channan (Retd) served in the Indian Army, Armoured Corps, 65 Armoured Regiment, 27 August 83- 07 April 2007. Operational experience in the Indian Army includes Sri Lanka – OP PAWAN, Nagaland and Manipur – OP HIFAZAT, and Bhalra - Bhaderwah, District Doda Jammu and Kashmir, including setting up of a counter-insurgency school – OP RAKSHAK. He regularly contributes to Defence and Security issues in the Financial Express online, Defence and Strategy, Fauji India Magazine and Salute Magazine. *Views are personal.

Today, we take a moment to reflect on our loving, courageous, and honourable father, Shri Sukhdev Raj Channan, who passed away many years ago. It is a credit to his bravery, tenacity, and the ideas he held dear and passed on to future generations that he was able to make it from his tiny Narowal District village all the way to the world stage.

Shri Sukhdev was born in Jiwan Bhinder in 1932, and throughout his life, he faced challenges that many people would find difficult to comprehend. In his early years, when children were typically protected from the harsh facts of life, he was forced to bear witness to the brutal slaying of his father, Shri Lakhmi Das Channan. They were forced to leave their ancestral home and seek sanctuary in Jullandhar since the terrible occurrence not only resulted in the loss of the primary provider for their family but also posed a direct threat to their very survival.

The stories they tell about their time spent in the refugee camp are resonant with accounts of adversity, fortitude, and the unfaltering spirit of mankind. But young Sukhdev could find refuge in the pages of books and the depths of his education. Academic success directly resulted from his dogged drive to get his family out of their pit of despair and into a better life. While at Jullandhar School, he went from being a small boy living in a refugee camp to being a young man with a mission. His exceptional academic record and his one-of-a-kind talent for language learning did not go unnoticed.

After finishing his education, he joined the Punjab Police, and then sometime later, due to the unique set of skills he possessed, he was transferred to the Intelligence Bureau.

The year 1957 was a landmark year in his life since it was the year that Dad tied the knot with our mother, who was then known as Miss Santosh Sharma. Their marriage was not just a combination of two different souls but also a merger of their hopes, ambitions, and core beliefs that they held in common. They overcame the challenges of his professional life together as he was deployed across varied geographies, ranging from Srinagar and West Pakistan to international destinations such as Ankara, Kathmandu, and Nairobi. They did this while he was in West Pakistan, Nepal, and Kenya. Each new position enriched the individual’s life journey with new experiences, meaningful interactions, and valuable lessons.

In addition to his illustrious career, Shri Sukhdev had a strong passion for the world of sports. Whether it was the exhilarating 100-meter dash, the rhythmic rallies of badminton and lawn tennis, or the meditative domain of Yoga, he demonstrated dedication, discipline, and an ever-enthusiastic spirit. Not only did these athletic hobbies help him maintain a healthy body and match how he approached life, which was always to be prepared to meet problems head-on.

After he retired, Shri Sukhdev pursued a new kind of devotion than before. He devoted much of his time and energy to community work, becoming an integral part of the Greater Kailash II Resident Welfare Association. Because of his leadership, insight into practical situations, and empathic approach, he won the hearts of many. Those individuals who had the opportunity of working alongside him during his time as General Secretary and, later, Vice President of the organisation continue to think kindly of him and his time spent in those roles.

In addition to Dad’s public praise, we, his children, remember him as a model of how to live a good life. The characteristics of honesty, humility, integrity, and perseverance were not merely words, but rather, they were seen in action on a daily basis. He instilled in us the idea that the means by which we attained our objectives were just as important as the accomplishments themselves.

It gives us great joy to reflect on our late father and notice that his legacy lives on in our family. From his difficult voyage from Pakistan to our following journeys to Australia, the United States of America, Canada, and Kenya, the Channan name has stood firm, echoing the principles, teachings, and unconquerable spirit that Shri Sukhdev instilled in his disciples.

It is not the emptiness of his absence that we feel today as we recall and celebrate the life of Shri Sukhdev Raj Channan; rather, it is the overpowering presence of his teachings, ideals, and memories. His life narrative will always serve as a beacon for us, illuminating our road and the path that future generations will take. He was a genuine patriarch.


  1. Moving tribute of that generation which bore the partition scars stoically cycled to destinations and new routes without the GPS. I recall my parents sharing such experiences too . God bless


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