|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Edmund Hillary was the greatest adventurer
Major H P S Ahluwalia | January 11, 2008 19:23 IST
Having stood on the peak of Mount Everest [Images] on May 29, 1965, exactly 13 years after Sir Edmund Hillary [Images] and Tenzing Norgay [Images] achieved the great feat, my thoughts automatically went to Sir Hillary, the first man to set foot on the most scintillating and challenging peak in the world.
He was not only the first climber to have reached the peak along with Norgay, but we, who followed him, owe our achievement, in part, to him. The image of the man that lingers in one's mind is not only of a good mountaineer and a good adventurer, but also of a nice human being.
I met him on a number of occasions and we had a wonderful association. There are people who, after reaching the pinnacle of life, do all they can to help those who require assistance. He was one of those people.
I remember how he helped the Sherpa community and transformed their lives by opening schools for their children, so they could communicate with the mountaineers in English during expeditions.
He also provided health clinics for the Sherpas. It is because of him that one of the poorest communities in the world is now a prosperous one.
Mountaineers often talk about what adventure they would like to undertake next, what book they are going to write or how they plan to overcome their next challenge.
In 1977, he undertook a jet boat expedition in the Ganga; starting from the plains and heading up into the mountains. This, to my mind, was a great feat. He was the greatest adventurer.
He wrote a number of good books, and I would personally recommend Nothing Ventured, Nothing Win. He brought great honour to the office of High Commissioner of New Zealand [Images] when he was chosen to represent his country in India.
On hearing about his death, like me, I'm sure mountaineers and adventurers around the world must feel they have lost a great friend.
Mountaineer Major H P S Ahluwalia, who scaled Mount Everest on May 29, 1965, spoke to Onkar Singh