Shankar Vembu

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Shankar Vembu
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  • Social Worker
  • Quiz Master
  • Motivational Speaker
  • Decorated Army officer
Known forVeteran Welfare
HonoursShaurya Chakra

Colonel (India) Vembu Shankar, Shaurya Chakra (Retd.) (1975) is a decorated former Indian Army Officer, Social Worker, Amateur magician, Quiz show host and a well known collector of autographs and memorabilia in India among others. Colonel Shankar is founder of Project Sambandh, a one man philanthropic project to connect with the Next of Kin (NOK)of the Indian Army Physical Casualties which has touched the lives of many armed forces families denied or unable to access benefits due to them, and even sometimes living in penury.

Early life

Vembu Shankar was born on 03 Dec 1975 in Kolkata and grew up in Madras(now Chennai). His alma mater includes P. S. Senior Secondary School, National Defence Academy (India), Indian Military Academy.[1]

Military Service

Colonel Shankar was commissioned n 1997 into the Intelligence Corps. While on attachment with the Dogra Scouts, a unit skilled in mountain warfare, that Shankar was awarded the Shaurya Chakra for gallantry in Kupwara for displaying outstanding personal bravery, in face of grave risk to life while fighting militants.[2] Colonel Shankar rounded off his career by commanding a Battalion in the North-East [3] and took a voluntary retirement to start a initiative named Project Sambandh [4] as 1000 day initiative to aid families of soldiers who died in harness.

Social Work & Project Sambandh

After taking premature retirement from Indian Army Colonel Shankar formalised a matter close to his heart of reaching out to the families of soldiers who died in harness. Especially those who were denied or were unable to access what was due to them due to ignorance, complex procedures and at times even apathy by launching Project Sambandh.[3][5] Since the start of the Project Sambandh, Colonel Shankar has been traversing the country meeting widows, parents, children of soldiers who have died in harness and has been able to help them get their dues which had for year eluded them. Besides personally spearheading the project at his own expense, Colonel Shankar has also brought much needed attention to plight of families of "Physical Casualties" of Indian Army, many of whom live in remote areas and are not literate enough to navigate the maze of procedures to get their due. Project Sambandh has found many families living in penury having received little or none of a their dues either from organisation or sometimes due to greed of other family members and has been able to help them through provisions in welfare funds with Army. Project Sambandh co-ordinates with various military departments to expedite many cases struck due to lack of communication and contact with families after the death of the soldier. Though the Project Sambandh was launched as a 1000 day project, Colonel Shankar has decided to extend his philanthropic project indefinitely.[6][7][8][9][10]

Quiz, Caricatures and Autographs

Colonel Vembu Shankar is also a keen quizzer and a sought after free lance quiz master often conducting quizzes at top academic institutions. He also appears on Kaun Banega Crorepati as expert lifeline. He is a prolific autograph collector with over 10,000 autographs from well known personalities, sportsmen, leaders etc. He has also collaborated with top caricaturists notably Shijo Varghese and Austin Coutinhoi, to bring out books on caricature of sportsmen from cricket as well as other sports.[11][12][13]


  1. Vembu, Shankar. "Colonel Vembu Shankar, Shaurya Chakra". LinkedIn.
  2. "[CTQ Smartcast] Lessons in Culture and Decision-Making from the Indian Army, with Col. Vembu Shankar". Choose To Thinq. Retrieved 2021-07-11.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Alexander, Deepa (2020-01-23). "Indian Army's physical casualties get a helping hand". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2021-07-11.
  4. "Home". Retrieved 2021-07-11.
  5. "Meet Vembu Shankar, the Ex-Serviceman Empowering Army Widows across the Nation". INSIDE NE. Retrieved 2021-07-11.
  6. Exclusive Interview with 'Project Sambandh' Founder and Ex-Armyman Vembu Shankar, retrieved 2021-07-11
  7. Project Sambandh - Giving a helping hand to Indian Army's casualties with Colonel Vembu Shankar, SC, retrieved 2021-07-11
  8. Alexander, Deepa (2020-01-23). "Indian Army's physical casualties get a helping hand". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2021-08-03.
  9. "Shaurya Chakra Winner Helps The Forgotten Families of Soldiers Who Died On Duty". The Better India. 2019-08-23. Retrieved 2021-08-03.
  10. "Meet Vembu Shankar, the Ex-Serviceman Empowering Army Widows across the Nation". INSIDE NE. Retrieved 2021-08-03.
  11. Ramanujam, Srinivasa (2019-06-22). "This Army veteran makes trading cards with cricketers' caricatures". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2021-07-11.
  12. "Autograph it! Capturing a slice of celebrity's personality, something 'a selfie cannot'". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2021-08-03.
  13. "Revisit Dharmendra and Jaya Bachchan's autograph scene from Guddi on its 50th anniversary". Hindustan Times. 2020-06-06. Retrieved 2021-08-03.

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