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Remembering field marshal K. M. Cariappa on his 113th birth anniversary

Discussion in 'Modern Warfare' started by SajeevJino, Jan 29, 2012.

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  1. SajeevJino

    SajeevJino Major SENIOR MEMBER

    Apr 4, 2011
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    Remembering field marshal K. M.
    Cariappa on his 113th birth anniversary
    (28th jan yesterday,
    The man who made the Indian army truly
    15 Jan 1949 - 14 Jan 1953
    Infantry, Rajput Regiment
    Kodandera Madappa Cariappa was born
    on 28 January 1899 at Shanivarsanthe in
    erstwhile Coorg, which was centrally
    administered by the British. Cariappa,
    known as Chimma to his relatives, had
    his formal education in the Central High
    School at Madikeri, after which he
    pursued his college education at
    Presidency College, Madras.
    At the Presidency College, Cariappa grew
    up equally attached to books and plays
    under the guidance of renowned
    academicians. He was an active
    sportsman and played with vigour and
    brilliance, games like hockey and tennis.
    In addition to this, he loved music and
    had fondness for a sleight of hand tricks.
    When World War I had concluded in
    1918, Indian politicians of the time
    raised a demand to sanction Indians to
    the King's Commission. After strict
    screening, Cariappa was one among the
    privileged ones who was selected for the
    first batch, which underwent rigorous
    pre-commission. He joined the first batch
    of KCIOs (King's Commissioned Indian
    Officers) at Daly Cadet College at Indore
    and was commissioned in Carnatic
    Infantry at Bombay.
    Cariappa saw active service with the 37
    (Prince of Wales) Dogra in Mesopotamia
    (present-day Iraq) and was later posted
    to the 2nd Rajput Light Infantry (Queen
    Victoria's Own) which became his
    permanent regimental home. He was the
    first Indian officer to undergo the course
    at Staff College, Quetta in 1933. In 1946,
    he was promoted as the Brigadier of the
    Frontier Brigade Group. It was during this
    time that Colonel Ayub Khan - later Field
    Marshal and President of Pakistan,
    1962-1969 - served under him.
    Cariappa served in Iraq, Syria and Iran
    from 1941-1942 and then in Burma in
    1943-1944. He spent many of his
    soldiering years in Wagiristan. He earned
    his Mentioned-in-Despatches ' as DAA
    and QMG of General (later Field Marshal)
    Slim's 10th Division. He was the first
    Indian Officer to be given command of a
    unit in 1942. After command he
    volunteered to serve in 26 Division
    engaged in clearing the Japanese from
    Burma, where he was awarded the Order
    of the British Empire (OBE).
    In 1947, Cariappa was the first Indian
    who was selected to undergo a training
    course at Imperial Defence College,
    Camberly, UK on the higher directions of
    war. During the traumatic period of
    partition, he handled the division of the
    Indian Army and sharing of its assets
    between Pakistan and India, in a most
    amicable, just and orderly manner. He
    was then the Indian officer in-charge to
    oversee the transition.
    Post-Independence , Cariappa was
    appointed as the Deputy Chief of
    General Staff with the rank of Major
    General. On promotion to Lieutenant
    General he became the Eastern Army
    Commander. On outbreak of war with
    Pakistan in 1947, he was moved as
    General Officer Commanding-in- Chief,
    Western Command and directed
    operations for the recapture of Zojila,
    Dras and Kargil and re-established a
    linkup with Leh. In all this, he showed
    tremendous energy in moving troops,
    against heavy odds and finally ensuring
    On being appointed as the first
    Commander-in- Chief of an independent
    Indian Army on 15 January 1949, he was
    instrumental in;
    Integration of troops and turning an
    imperial army into a national army.
    Raised the Brigade of the Guards and
    the Parachute Regiments on an all-India
    caste composition.
    Raised the National Cadet Corps (NCC)
    and Territorial Army (TA) using troops
    from the Regular Army.
    His career in the Army during which he
    had the rare distinction of being first in
    many spheres is a continuous tale of
    upward progress;
    The first Indian to be commissioned at
    the age of 19.
    The first Indian cadet to be
    commissioned from Daly Cadet College,
    The first Indian Brigadier.
    The first Indian to enter Imperial
    Defence College in England.
    The first Indian Officer to enter Staff
    College, Quetta.
    The first Indian Major General in 1947.
    The first Indian Chief of Staff.
    Cariappa held no truck on commission in
    the Indian Army and in picturesque,
    forthright language remarked after the
    partition, "I don't care a damn if a man
    is a Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Parsi or
    Christian as long as he plays the game to
    serve our country well. This is all that
    matters to me." His association with the
    Indian Army is spread over an unbroken
    period of more than 29 years, during
    which he had wide experience of staff
    and command work. After his retirement
    from Indian Army in 1953, he served as
    the High Commissioner to Australia and
    New Zealand till 1956.
    Cariappa settled down amidst greenery
    and nature, in his own Roshanara at
    Madikeri after his retirement from public
    service. He loved the environment and
    the flora & fauna around him. He lived a
    life of simplicity and dignity, which was
    the hallmark of a man. He spent a lot of
    his leisure time educating people about
    cleanliness, pollution control and other
    essential issues. During the 1962, 1965
    and 1971 wars, he visited the front lines
    to talk to the troops and keep their
    morale up. Every Jawan of the Indian
    Army is inspired by his words. He always
    said, "An officer is nothing without the
    soldiers." He gave the following credo to
    the Indian officers, which remains even
    now the guiding spirit.
    Apart from being a military man,
    Cariappa had insight about the status of
    the country. He is quoted as saying, "In
    modern warfare, a large army is not
    sufficient, it needs industrial potential
    behind it. If the army is the first line of
    defence, the industry is the second."
    Cariappa had even said that "soldiers
    know the facility of wars to solve the
    internal problems. We ought to be
    ashamed that today they had more
    peace in war than peace in peace." Such
    insight has placed him above many in
    this field. "Army is there to serve the
    Government of the day, and we should
    make sure that it does not get mixed up
    with party politics. A soldier is above
    politics and should not believe in caste or
    creed," was another insight of this
    He was affectionately known as Kipper
    and as the story goes, a British officer's
    wife found it difficult to pronounce
    Cariappa and shortened it to a
    convenient Kipper. The name stuck. In
    the years that followed, his colleagues,
    and others who knew him well, continued
    to call him Kipper. He lived and remained,
    as he said, "an Indian and to the last
    breath would remain an Indian. To me
    there is only two Sthans - Hindusthan
    (India) and Foujisthan (the Army)."
    Cariappa had great concern for the
    nation and saw himself as an Indian first
    and only then as an officer of high rank,
    which is one of the reasons why he is still
    held in high esteem by his fellow men in
    his native Coorg and the rest of the
    country. If there is one man whom the
    Kodavas can identify with reverence and
    respect it is undoubtedly Cariappa.
    Cariappa took active part in the
    reorganisation of armed forces in many
    foreign countries. He was a much
    traveled man and visited parts of China,
    Japan, United States, Great Britain,
    Canada and most of the European
    countries. He was conferred with 'Order
    of the Chief Commander of the Legion of
    Merit' by US President, Harry S. Truman.
    As a token of gratitude of the nation for
    the exemplary service rendered by him,
    the Government of India conferred the
    rank of Field Marshal on Cariappa in
    Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa is an
    unforgettable name in the history of
    Indian Army. Old soldiers never die, they
    just fade away and he has proved this
    proverb. He has been a legend in his
    lifetime and he has left an indelible
    impression that would inspire the people
    of India, for a long time to come. He
    breathed his last at Bangalore at a ripe
    age of 94, on 15 May 1993. The legendary
    hero of this great country who professed
    duty, discipline and loyalty to the nation
    is now history.
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