Major General Ian Cardozo || The Gorkha officer who cut his own leg for the country

Major General Ian Cordozo (retd.) was a soldier of the Indian Army who is known best for his contributions in the 1971 Indo-Pak war. 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. In this article, we are going to have a brief look on his life and his act of bravery in the war.

Quick Facts

  • Ian Cardozo was born to Vincent Cardozo and Diana Cardozo in 1937 in Bombay, Bombay Presidency, British India. 
  • He studied at St. Xavier's College, Mumbai.
  • He received his military training from the prestigious National Defence Academy and the Indian Military Academy.
  • He got commissioned into the 4th battalion of the 5 Gorkha Rifles Regiment.
  • He is married to Priscilla Cardozo and has three sons. He currently resides in New Delhi.
  • He served as the Chairman of Rehabilitation Council of India from 2005 to 2011.
  • He is a author and has written several books on military related topics.
  • He is also a marathon runner, and regularly takes part in the Mumbai marathon on his prosthetic limbs even at the age of 81 years.

Battle of Sylhet, Indo-Pak War of 1971

  • when the war broke out, Cardozo was attending a course at the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington. 
  • His battalion, 4/5 Gorkha Rifles, was already deployed in the eastern theater of operations.
  • The battalion's second-in-command was killed in action and Cardozo was ordered to replace him. He was a Major back then.
  • He arrived at his battalion in time to accompany them on the Indian Army's first heliborne operation during the battle of Sylhet.
  • In War, Cardozo stepped on a land mine and his leg was critically injured. 
  • Any drug like morphine or pethidine was not available. 
  • Also there was no medic so his leg could not be amputated surgically. 
  • At this time, he did something that a normal person cannot even imagine. He asked for his Khukuri and cut his own leg with it. He ordered his men to go and bury his leg.
  • Afterwards, his unit captured a Pakistan Army surgeon, Maj. Mohammad Basheer, who operated on Cardozo.

After the War

  • After his amputation, Cardozo had a wooden leg. 
  • Still he maintained his physical fitness levels and beat a number of able-bodied officers in battle physical fitness tests. 
  • He then put his case to the Chief of Army Staff  Gen. Tapishwar Narain Raina, who then asked Cardozo to accompany him to Ladakh. After observing that Cardozo could still walk in the mountains through snow and ice, Gen. Raina allowed him to command a battalion. 
  • A similar situation occurred when he was to take command of a brigade.
  • He finally retired as a Major General in 1993 with military decorations like Sena Medal and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal.

MUST READ : Major General Ian Cardozo's interview with famous French journalist Claude Arpi

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thRadical: Major General Ian Cardozo || The Gorkha officer who cut his own leg for the country
Major General Ian Cardozo || The Gorkha officer who cut his own leg for the country
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