“In war, the heroes always outnumber the soldiers ten to one" - L. Mencken
India's Braveheart: Major General Ian Cardozo
One such urgency was the Battle of Sylhet. It was a major battle fought during the Bangladesh Liberation War between the advancing Mitro Bahini and Sylhet's Pakistani defences. The battle took place on December 7 and 15 and was the first heliborne operation by the 4/5 Gorkha Rifles of Indian Army.
The 5 GR(FF) is an Indian Army infantry regiment comprised of Indian and Nepalese Gurkha soldiers. It was formed as part of the British Indian Army in 1858 and served during World War I and World War II. The regiment was one of the Gurkha regiments which, after independence in 1947, was transferred to the Indian Army.
There is no doubt that several extraordinary tales of war emerged from Sylhet's battle; from both the Indian and Bangladeshi fronts. Nothing, however, will approach Major General Ian Cardozo's bravado, who amputated his own leg after stepping on a landmine.
Ian Cardozo was born in 1937 in Bombay, British India, to Vincent Cardozo and Diana Cardozo. He was studying at Mumbai's St. Xavier's College.
Major General Ian Cardozo was born to Diana and Vincent Cardozo on 7th August 1937 in Bombay, British India. He fathered three kids with wife Priscilla Cardozo. Major General Cardozo graduated from the National Defense Academy and then attended the Indian Military Academy, commissioning five Gorkha Rifles from there.
India successfully defeated Pakistan and liberated Bangladesh through a swift military offensive that lasted only 13 days. This was also the war witnessing the first - ever heliborne operation of the Indian Army. In fact, when they accepted the surrender of about 1,500 men including three brigadiers, a full colonel, 107 officers, 219 Junior Commissioned Officers (JCO), and 7,000 Pakistan Army troops, the battalion of only 480 men charted history!
When the Indian Army rounded up the prisoners of war (POWs) after the fall of Dhaka, Major Cardozo, who had gone to help the count commander of the BSF, encountered an accident that would forever change his life — he stepped on a landmine and lost most of his leg in the resulting blast.
Because of the lack of morphine or pethidine and the lack of medicine, his leg could not be surgically amputated. He later used his Khukri to amputate his own leg. His unit subsequently captured a surgeon in the Pakistan Army, Maj. Mohammad Basheer, who operated on Cardozo pretty skillfully.
Life After the Accident:
This incident would have meant the end of field duty for any other officer, but Major Cardozo was not going to be degraded to the duty of staff, allowing the impairment to take control of his life. He bravely fought for the position of commander and even surpassed the ' two-legged ' officers during the intense physical fitness test.
History was created when he became the first officer of the war - disabled army to command not only a battalion but a brigade as well. Major General Cardozo served as the Chairman of the Rehabilitation Council of India from 2005 to 2011 after his retirement.
He has authored quite a few major military saga books –
- Bhartiya Sena Ka Gauravshali Itihas
- India in World War I: An Illustrated Story
- Lieutenant General Bilimoria: His Life & Times
- Param Vir: Our Heroes in Battle
- Paramvir Chakra: Manoj Pandey;
- Shaitan Singh: Incredible Heroism Displayed by a Small Group Against Hordes of Chinese in the Battle of Rezang La in 1962
- The Bravest of the Brave: The Extraordinary Story of Indian VCs of World War I
- The Indian Army: A Brief History
- The Sinking of INS Khukri: Survivor's Stories
From 2005 to 2011, he served as India's Chairman of the Rehabilitation Council. He is also a marathon runner and participates regularly on his prosthetic limbs in the Mumbai marathon.
Awards & Honours
For his extraordinary contributions towards the needy, he has been awarded the best of the bests. The following are awards that were awarded to Major General Ian Cardozo:
- Ati Vishist Seva Medal
- Sena Medal
- Wound Medal
- Poorvi Star
- Samar Seva Medal
- Raksha Medal
- Sangram Medal
- General Service Medal
- Sainya Seva Medal
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