Major General Ian Cardozo is a former Indian Army officer. He is a brave warriors of the Gorkha regiment,a promising and courageous soldier , who never gave up, never being distracted. He was the first war-disabled officer of the Indian Army to command a battalion and a brigade.He is an amputee due to a war injury.
EARLY LIFE OF IAN CARDOZO
Ian Cardozo was born to Vincent Cardozo and Diana (nee de Souza) Cardozo in 1937 in Bombay, Bombay Presidency, British India. He studied at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. Ian knew from his childhood that do something for his country only by joining Indian army.
So he started preparing himself for this from a young age. As soon as he completed his college studies, he directly enrolled in the National Defense Academy. His army journey started from here.
During his studies at the Academy, Ian paid close attention to everything. Within a few years Ian completed his training at the Nation Defense Academy, but he did not stop even after this. After this, he directly joined the Indian Military Academy.
Like the Nation Defense Academy, Ian’s performance in Indian Military Academy Was excellent. Not only this, Ian got a place in Gorkha rifle even before his training was over. Finally his dream to join Indian Army comes true. .
Ian Cardozo married to Priscilla and both have now three sons.
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Many extraordinary war stories have undoubtedly emerged from the Battle of Sylhet. From both Indian and Bangladeshi fronts. However, there will be none like Major General Ian Cardozo, who cut his own leg after stepping on a landmine.
That year was 1971. Tension was going on between Pakistan and India. There was a possibility of war. Within a short time the news of war also came. This war broke out over East Pakistan’s independence
Pakistan took the initiative, and also India had to go for war. In such a situation, India started sending its army. One of the first contingents sent was also from Gorkha Regiment.
Ian was in 4/5 Gorkha Rifles. However, he did not get to participate in it at the beginning of the war. He was made part of the war when one of his officers died while fighting with the Pakistani Army. Ian had to go to war to took his place. Not only this, Ian also became a part of the Indian Army’s first helicopter mission.
When Ian and his companions reached at their destination, they faced heavy firing there. A large army was standing in front of them and a small contingent was present with them. Despite being in the opposite position, his troops did not gave up. He continued to fight with the Pakistani army. Food and ammunition were running out, but they keep their spirit up and kept fighting.
Every passing day, the war was becoming more serious. All the troops were waiting for backup from the army. Meanwhile, Ian’s got the job of releasing some Bangladeshi prisoners trapped nearby.
He had completely evacuated the place while fighting with the Pakistan Army and moving forward. Now there was only need, to bring those injured and weak prisoners to army camp.
The accident that changed his life – LOST HIS LEG
The Border Security Force (BSF )officer asked who would do the work of bringing those prisoners, Ian took the responsibility to do it. However, Ian did not know that he was going to be trapped in a big trap. He did not notice that the Pakistani Army has already laid a land mine at the place where he was going.
He was just a few steps away that his leg fell on a mine. A loud explosion occurred and Ian fell too far. His entire body was bleeding, darkness had started filtering in front of his eyes.
Ian was taken to the camp successfully but there was no doctor to treat him in the camp. There was still time to get help from the Indian Army. He had regained consciousness, but his condition was still critical. His leg was lying on the land mine, his condition was very bad. Because of that, Ian was in so much pain that it cannot be described.
When Ian Cardozo Cuts His Leg
During the war, all the medicines were used. Ian’s leg pain was too much and he wanted to end it. When there was no other way out, he asked his comrades to cut off his leg, but he refused to cut the leg, as he did not have medical equipment.
After this, Ian gave him his Khukri and asked him to cut off his leg but his colleagues refused this time too. Everyone was surprised how Ian could speak to cut his leg. In the end, when no one agreed to this work, Ian himself decided to do it.
It is believed that he took his khukri and cut his leg without any hesitation. He gave that leg to the soldier standing in front and asked him to bury it in the mud. Everyone was surprised to see this work of Ian. He did not think once before cutting his leg to stay in the battle. After that their partner soldiers picked them up and took him from their.
A Pakistani Surgeon Helped Him
A Pakistani surgeon, Mohammed Bashir, received an order for his treatment, at first he refused but when he came to know that there was no other doctor available for his treatment, he treated him by introducing humanity, of this incident. Later he was taken to the hospital where he was put on a wooden leg.
Indian soldiers showed immense courage and forced Pakistan to lay down arms. It was the biggest surrender in any war that ever happened. Over 3,800 soldiers of India and Pakistan lost their lives in this war.
On 16 December 1971 the chief of the Pakistani forces, General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, along with 93,000 troops, surrendered to the joined forces of Indian Army and Mukti Bahini.
BOUNCE BACK STORY OF IAN CARDOZO
Well the tale is not ended here, probably it was the beginning. As we all know Army never keep a handicapped soldiers, they have to retired after any kind of body disable, but Ian His intention was something else, he wanted to serve the country, by staying in the army. This is the things that distinguishes a soldier from the common man, the love and dedication that they has for the country is hardly found in a common man.
Let us now see the story ahead, how he faced the biggest difficulty of his life with bravery and courage and made his weakness his strength.
While he was now handicapped, he could not get a place in the Indian Army, nor could he be promoted further, he was told that as he do not have a leg, he can no longer work in the Army, but Ian Cardozo was no longer in mood to gave up. He never considered himself to be handicapped and took a leg of wood to improve himself and started to fix himself.
Clear the Fitness Test with a wooden leg
He started exercising, started running with wooden legs, started training himself, he made himself so strong that he was ready to fight the challenges, he said that he is ready to race anyone , he believed that he could beat any 2-legged human easily, and ran so fast with one leg of wood that even those who were medically fit were beaten by him in the race, After that he passed the Physical Fitness Test.
He then presented his case in front of the then Army Chief General Tapishwar Narayana Raina, who then asked Cardozo to go to Laddakh. After seeing that Cardozo could still walk in the mountains through snow and ice, General Raina allowed him to command a battalion
A similar situation occurred when he was to command a brigade. He fought through all the troubles and made his disability his strength and finally he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier on 1 March 1984.
IAN CARDOZO was the only person in the country who was awarded the rank of Major General even though he was disabled, he achieved this on the strength of self-will power.
Great Indian Army
He set an example that, nothing is impossible to achieve, if you have courage , a vision , a mission and discipline , you can achieve anything you want to.
These are the soldiers who made our Army incredible ,there courage and determination made our Indian Army one of the best army in the world.