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A tribute by Raj Kanwar – Army veteran Col Prem Sibal passes away

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DEHRADUN, 26 Mar: Army veteran Lt Col Prem Sibal of 2/8 Gorkhas died here at his Old Mussoorie Road residence VASUNDHARA, at 5.20 this morning. His devoted wife Padma of 62 years and his personal attendant were at his bedside. A Lahore native, Prem Sibal has had a distinguished career in the Indian Army from which he had sought premature retirement. How he married Padma makes an interesting reading. Youngest of the three sisters and a brother, Padma then lived in Srinagar. As a friend of her brother, Prem would often visit their house. Padma and Prem too became friendly. Her parents also liked the young officer. Thus, in due course, the two were married in 1958. Their only son Anupam who was born in 1968 is today the Group Medical Director, Apollo Hospitals Groups and is one of the most respected medical professionals in the country. After retirement from the Army, Prem Sibal had become a Bharat Petroleum dealer and owned two petrol stations in Srinagar. In 1992, the Sibals moved to Dehradun and were among the first to build a boutique house on the picturesque Old Mussoorie Road. Unfortunately, Sibal was afflicted with prostate cancer 10 years ago, and had been wheelchair-bound for the past two years. Despite his incapacity, Prem had had a great sense of humour and would enjoy talking with visiting friends. He was an avid reader of daily newspapers that included Garhwal Post and The Tribune. He would often ask me ‘what is the news?’ whenever I visited him. It is really remarkable the way Padma looked after Prem during all these years he had remained incapacitated. He was cremated at 4.15 this evening at the Lakhibagh Cremation grounds. His son Anupam lit the pyre. Padma was recipient of scores of condolence messages from her friends who could not visit her because of current Corona Virus pandemic.