Humor in Uniform : The “Dapodi Engineer”

Vikram Karve
6 min readOct 29, 2023



This morning — at a Literary Festival — I had the good fortune of meeting an Army Veteran from the Sappers (Corps of Engineers).

I asked him if he was a “Dapodi Engineer”.

The Sapper Veteran looked nonplussed and wanted to know what was a “Dapodi Engineer”.

I promised him that I would post my story “The Dapodi Engineer” on my blog as soon as possible.

So — here is a “humor in uniform” story I wrote a few years ago — the story of the “Dapodi Engineer”.


(By the way — the Sapper Veteran is a “Dapodi Engineer”…!!!)




Story from My Navy Days by Vikram Karve




Whenever I meet a Sapper Officer (from the Army Corps of Engineers) — I jokingly ask him if he is a “Dapodi Engineer” — or is he a “Genuine” Engineer…?

A few years ago — a Navy Veteran (erstwhile shipmate) introduced me to his son-in-law — a Major in the Corps of Engineers.

The young Sapper Officer told me about himself.

“Oh — so you are a “Dapodi Engineer”…” I remarked.

The young Sapper Officer was curious to know why I called him a “Dapodi Engineer” — so I told him this story — which I have posted earlier in my Blogs.

Here is the story from my “Humor in Uniform” Archives — this happened long back — around 46 years ago — in the 1970’s

Read the spoof and have a laugh — and — if you are a “Fauji” Sapper — I am sure you will have a double laugh…!!!



Unforgettable Characters I Met During My Wonderful Navy Days

Spoof By Vikram Karve


INS Valsura — Jamnagar

46 years ago — circa 1970’s


The Training Officer peeped into the classroom.

He looked at me.

I was desperately trying to stay awake after the previous night’s excesses.

The Training Officer pointed at me.

“Hey — You — put on your cap — and report to the XO’s office on the double. Some bloody “Pongo” bigwig is coming — and you are the “Liaison Officer”…” the Training Officer shouted at me.


The Pongo bigwig turned out to be a Brigadier — the Zonal Chief Engineer of the Military Engineering Services (MES).

He happened to be in Jamnagar for some other work — and he had suddenly decided to inspect the progress of civil works under construction in the Naval Base.

The Executive Officer (XO) briefed me.

Accordingly — I received the Brigadier — I took him for a cup of tea with our Captain — and then — we drove in his black army staff car to the construction site.


The Garrison Engineer (a Major) was standing by with his entourage and some display boards with drawings.

The Garrison Engineer (GE) saluted the Brigadier.

Then — the GE introduced his staff.

After that — the GE walked towards the display boards.

The GE picked up a pointer.

“Sir — I will explain the project…” the GE said to the Brigadier.

“Wait…” the Brigadier interrupted the GE.

The GE stopped — taken aback at being interrupted by the Brigadier.

“Sir…?” the GE asked the Brigadier — wondering why the Brigadier had interrupted him.

The Brigadier looked at the GE and spoke.

You first answer one question…” the Brigadier said to the GE.

“Yes, Sir…?” the GE said to the Brigadier.

“Are you a “Dapodi Engineer” — or — are you a Technical Graduate Engineer…?” Brigadier asked the GE.


The GE looked at the Brigadier.

“Sir — I am a Technical Graduate Engineer…” the GE said.

“Very Good. From which Engineering College did you get your Civil Engineering Degree…?” the Brigadier asked the GE.

“Roorkee — Sir…” the GE answered.

“Oh. Roorkee. Excellent. Then there is no need for me to see anything…” the Brigadier said to the GE.


That was the end of the “inspection”.


On the way back — I asked the Brigadier:

“Sir — I did not understand the “Dapodi Engineer” aspect…”


The Brigadier looked at me and said:

“Oh — that.

You see — there are two types of “Engineers” in the Army.

The first type comprises Technical Graduates from Civilian Engineering Colleges — like the “GE” over here — who has done his Civil Engineering Degree at Roorkee.

And — the second type are “in-house” trained engineers — who do the course at the College of Military Engineering (CME) located at Dapodi — that is why they are called “Dapodi Engineers” — they don’t have a B.E. or B.Tech. degree in Engineering…”



Subsequently — to the best of my knowledge — probably from early 1980’s onwards — these in-house trained “Dapodi Engineers” from CME are being awarded the B. Tech. degree from JNU


After explaining the meaning of “Dapodi Engineer” — the Brigadier smiled at me.

I looked at the distinguished Brigadier from the Corps of Engineers.

He must have studied Engineering more than 20 years ago in the 1950’s.

Surely — he was from a premier engineering college — maybe — like the GE — the Brigadier too had studied at Roorkee University — which was famous for Civil Engineering.

“Sir — have you done your Civil Engineering at Roorkee…?” I asked him.

“Me…? From Roorkee…? No — not at all…” he said.

“Sir — where did you study your Civil Engineering — I am sure you must have studied Engineering from some prestigious Engineering College like Banaras, Poona…” I said to the Brigadier.


The Brigadier looked at me — and he started laughing.

I looked at him — wondering why he was so amused.


The Brigadier gave me a naughty smile — and chuckled mirthfully.

Then — the Brigadier said to me:


Ha Ha…!!!

I am a “Dapodi Engineer”…”


After delivering his “coup de grâce” — the “Dapodi Engineer” Brigadier gave me a delightful smile.


We both burst out laughing.



I met the “Dapodi Engineer” many years later in Pune where he had settled down after retirement after a distinguished career.



Copyright © Vikram Karve
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  1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
  2. All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
  3. E&OE

Copyright Notice:

No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

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Link to my source blog post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve:

This Blog Post is a Revised Re-Post of My Story DAPODI ENGINEER First Posted by me Vikram Karve in my blog at 6/24/2014 03:33:00 PM at url: and then reposted at url: and and and and and and and and and etc

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.




Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, alumnus IIT Delhi, Lawrence School Lovedale, Vikram Karve is a retired Navy Officer turned full time Writer and Blogger