Nandu's 50 Year AFMC Jubilee



Last week Nandu Gokhale, our 1964 AFS foreign exchange student, experienced his college 50 Year reunion in Pune, India. He was one of the major planners of the event, the culmination of a year and a half planning.

Below we present the report and pictures that we cajoled Nandu into sending us.  But first, a bit of context.  Nandu is now retired from a distinguished career as a military doctor, research pathologist, and teacher. He began his training at India’s Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) in August of 1965. The AFMC is a premier medical institute in India, acknowledged as a center of excellence for education and research. Its "Graduate Wing" was established in August 1962 to provide a sustainable and steady intake of medical officers for the Indian Armed Forces.

Early last year Nandu and some colleagues began planning for a first-ever reunion of their incoming August 1965 class, called "D-Batch."  The 50 Year Jubilee was held in conjunction with the school's “College Day” over August 1-4, 2015.


Report on my the AFMC Golden Jubilee of August 1-4, 2015

by Dr. Nandan Gokhale

Initial Jubilee Planning

A small group came up with the idea of holding a Golden Jubilee Reunion about one and half years ago. The lead person was at that time in Cambodia working for the WHO. What followed was:-6527 emails, 478 phone calls, 1266 text messages, and 500 pages of print outs to our class mates .

We could locate 69 out of 120. Unfortunately, 19 of us are no more. Our class of 120 had 50% who opted to join the armed Forces and 50% chose the Civvi street. (That time the College was new and choice was there. But now all graduates have to join the Armed Forces Medical Corps.)

So one person from Mumbai and myself from Pune were the volunteers for shouldering the responsibility of organization. Firstly we jointly opened a bank account into which all subscriptions were credited. Then ideas were tossed around for the programme, venue, number of days, menu, entertainment programme, etc.

Thirty rooms were booked in a decent Hotel for the 4 day event, but all activities were carried out at Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC).  The AFMC gave us immense support to carry out the Reunion Function. Also, the hotel arranged for transport to and fro.

Day One

On day one we met at the AFMC for Registration.  Among those who attended, seven delegates with spouses came from USA and London. Others were from all over India, mainly Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chenni and Calcutta. It was such an immense joy for those who were meeting for the first time after 50 years.

Nandu chats with his college roommate.

We had invited a few past teachers who were around in Pune ,and all Heads of the Departments. We had a late morning HIGH TEA function for all, followed by a group photography session.

D Batch Incoming Class of August 1965

The Reunion programme inauguration was done by our College Director and Commandant.  He and our retired teachers were felicited and honoured in the traditional Indian custom.

Nandu doing some introductions. 

At mid-day we presented a “Payback Academic Hour” in the Auditorium to the commandant, the dean, and the current AFMC final year and postgraduate students. The presentation, on a currently-pressing medical issue, was titled “MDR TB in the Third World – WHO Response.” The presenter was our batch mate and current World Health Organization consultant, Dr. PP Jayavanth. Lunch followed at the Banquet Hall of AFMC.

Catching up with old friends.

After lunch we again met in the Auditorium and had our own group function with Down Memory Lane, old photographs, and alumni reminiscing on the old memories

Auditorium Reminiscences Hour (Shubha gokale second from right).

We canceled the entertainment programme arranged for evening of Day 1, as there was the all India STATE Mourning for our late beloved President of India DR APJ Abdul Kalam who was a Rocket Scientist, and first non-politician to become our President.

Day 2 Adjustments

On the 2nd  morning we took all the alumni on a tour of of College as so many changes had taken place  over the last 50 years. They were amazed very happy to see the progress made by the college.

Tour begins outside Grad Wing.

Main building at Armed Forces Medical College

Again on the evening of Day 2 we cancelled planned entertainment, in keeping with the official STATE mourning for DR Kalam.

Day Three

On 3rd August we had a GALA Musical Programme with Professional Band and DJ and in which few of our talented classmates also participated. Followed by a Banquet where we invited some of the important staff members of AFMC.

Talented classmate entertains.

A few colleagues at the banquet.


Nandu gifted for his hard work.

Day Four

On 4th August, which is our main College Day, we started off with a military obituary function at Prerna Sthal, a monument erected in memory of the departed souls of our college from 1962 on-wards. This was followed by various activities with the present students and staff, and rounded off with a gala nite with live music DJ , dance and Dinner at the AFMC Banquet Hall where about 800 attended, where we got to meet with past and immediate junior colleagues whom we knew from that time.    

Retrospective and Future

Throughout the stay all alumni were interacting so well with each other. We had 24 with spouses and 11 singles. We parted with a wish to meet once again after 2 years, this time in Kathmandu, Nepal, as our WHO guy is now over there.

Nandu and Shubha front row 3rd-4th from right.


Regards and best wishes Nandu