On: 15 Aug 2020
Bullets rained down on the Indian airbases by Pakistani air forces. Operation Chengiz khan it was named. Pakistan air forces took down radars and radio stations, the war was declared against Pakistan by prime minister Indira Gandhi.
Indo-Pakistan war, 1971. The second in command for the 4/5 Gorkha Rifles was martyred in the fight. Major Ian Cardozo was brought back from Defence services staff college, Wellington, Tamilnadu to replace him. “Cartoos sahib” was he called by his regiment as they found it difficult to pronounce his name. Nine days and nine nights they fought, with no food, no water and reduced ammunition. But they struck terror into the heart of Pakistanis using Khukris – The signature of the Gorkha regiment.
During the battle for the capture of Sylhet, Cardozo, unfortunately, stepped on a land mine, He blew in the air and fell far from his place. The leg below his knee burst out and started oozing blood out. But, He didn’t stop. He asked the medic to cut off his leg; Medic ran to bring the tools. Cardozo couldn’t wait, he asked his Batman “Where is my Khukri? Give that to me, doctor is taking very long time.” With his Khukri, Cardozo chopped his leg off and handed the leg to his batman and said with disappointment: “Take this and Go bury it”.
After that, he was evacuated to the Artificial Limb Centre, Pune, where he got his prosthetic leg. One day after his treatment the most unfortunate part was, Army officials said that he could no longer command troops and henceforward he would only be a staff officer. That means he will be working a clerks’ job. Cardozo replied “What is your problem? I’m as good as anybody with two legs or even better than them”. They asked him to prove it. He started to train himself.
In a Battle efficiency test, he left behind 7 officers having both legs in a race. He climbed 4,800 feet, where he found his vice chief just came down in a helicopter. The vice chief looked at Cardozo and asked “How did you come here? You can climb?” Cardozo replied, “Sir, there are many things which we can do which our senior officers don’t understand.” The vice chief asked for Cardozo’s file and gave him a battalion of war-wounded soldiers who are not taking shelter of their wounds. He was ranked, Major General.
He is the first disabled person in the Indian Army to become the Major general. General Manekshaw once said, “Agar tujhe maut se darr nahi lagta na, Ya tho thu jhoot bol raha hai, ya thu Gorkha hai.” India knows how Gorkhas are courageous and brave. Despite his leg being cut off, he never stopped, he never let his guard down. Major General Ian Cardozo shined that day. We should be proud of our Army, we rest assured because of these brave hearts.
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY
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