Ian Cardozo

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Ian Cardozo

Ian Cardozo.jpg
Born (1937-08-07) 7 August 1937 (age 85)[1]
Bombay, Bombay Presidency, British India
Service/branchIndian Army
Years of service1954–1993
RankMajor General
Service numberIC-10407[2]
Unit1/5 Gorkha Rifles & 4/5 Gorkha Rifles
AwardsAti Vishisht Seva Medal
Sena Medal[3]
Spouse(s)Priscilla Cardozo
Other work

Major General Ian Cardozo AVSM SM is a former Indian Army officer. He was the first war-disabled officer of the Indian Army to command a battalion and a brigade.[5] He is an amputee due to a war injury.[1]

Early life[edit]

Ian Cardozo was born to Vincent Cardozo and Diana (née de Souza) Cardozo in 1937 in Bombay, Bombay Presidency, British India. He studied at St. Xavier's High School, Fort and St. Xavier's College, Mumbai.[6]

Military career[edit]

Cardozo graduated from the National Defence Academy and then attended the Indian Military Academy, from where he joined the 5 Gorkha Rifles (Frontier Force) and he was commissioned & later commanded the 1st Battalion of the 5th Regiment of Gorkha RIfles aka 1/5GR(FF) or 1/5 Gorkha Rifles. He has also served with 4/ 5 Gorkha Rifles and has fought 2 wars alongside them-Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.[3] He is the first NDA cadet to receive both Gold and Silver medals. The gold medal is given to the cadet of the passing out course for best all round performance.

The silver medal is given to the cadet who is first in order of merit. For the first time in the history of the National Defence Academy, the cadet who was awarded the gold medal was also first in order of merit. This has happened only one more time thereafter.(source :General himself and from his profile)

Pakistani-Bangladesh War of 1971[edit]

At the outbreak of the Pakistani-Bangladesh War of 1971, Cardozo was attending a course at the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington. His battalion, 4/5 Gorkha Rifles, was already deployed in the eastern theatre of operations. The battalion's second-in-command was killed in action and Cardozo was ordered to replace him. He arrived at his battalion in time to accompany them on the Indian Army's first heliborne operation during the battle of Sylhet.[7] He was popularly named Cartoos sahib by his Gorkha regiment as they found it difficult to pronounce his first name.[8] Cartoos means a cartridge in Hindi.

After the fall of Dhaka, Cardozo stepped on a land mine and his leg was critically injured. Due to non-availability of morphine or pethidine, and absence of medics, his leg could not be amputated surgically. He subsequently used his khukri to amputate his own leg. Afterwards, his unit captured a Pakistan Army surgeon, Maj. Mohammad Basheer, who operated on Cardozo.[7]

Later career[edit]

After his amputation, Cardozo had a wooden leg. Despite this, 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 at the time, 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.[7] He was promoted to Brigadier on 1 March 1984.[9]

Military awards and decorations[edit]

Ati Vishisht Seva Medal ribbon.svg Sena Medal ribbon.svg
Wound Medal-India.svg India General Service Medal 1947.svg IND Samar Seva Star Ribbon.svg
IND Poorvi Star Ribbon.svg IND Raksha Medal Ribbon.svg IND Sangram Medal Ribbon.svg IND Sainya Seva Medal Ribbon.svg
IND 25th Anniversary Independence medal.svg IND 30 Years Long Service Ribbon.svg IND 20YearsServiceMedalRibbon.svg IND 9YearsServiceMedalRibbon.svg
Ati Vishisht Seva Medal Sena Medal
Wound Medal General Service Medal Samar Seva Medal
Poorvi Star Raksha Medal Sangram Medal Sainya Seva Medal
25th Anniversary of Independence Medal 30 Years Long Service Medal 20 Years Long Service Medal 9 Years Long Service Medal

Personal life[edit]

Cardozo is married to Priscilla and has three sons.[5] He currently resides in New Delhi.[3]

He served as the Chairman of Rehabilitation Council of India from 2005 to 2011.[10] He is also a marathon runner, and regularly takes part in the Mumbai marathon on his prosthetic limb.[11][12]


He authored several books on military history of India:-

  • Bhartiya Sena Ka Gauravshali Itihas ISBN 8173155372
  • India in World War I: An Illustrated Story ISBN 9789384898502
  • Lieutenant General Bilimoria: His Life & Times[13]
  • Param Vir: Our Heroes in Battle ISBN 9351940292
  • Paramvir Chakra : Manojpandey ISBN 8174369007
  • Somnath Sharma: Hero of the Battle of Badgam in 1947 who Helped Prevent the Fall of Srinagar ISBN 8174369236
  • Shaitan Singh: Incredible Heroism Displayed by a Small Group Against Hordes of Chinese in the Battle of Rezang La in 1962 ISBN 8174369155
  • The Bravest of the Brave: The Extraordinary Story of Indian VCs of World War I ISBN 9789386141767
  • The Indian Army: A Brief History ISBN 8190209701
  • The Sinking of INS Khukri: Survivor's Stories ISBN 9351940993
  • 1971 - Stories of Grit and Glory from the Indo-Pak War ISBN 9780143454557[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Singh, Aarti (12 August 2016). "10 Indian Soldiers Whose Courageous And Patriotic Stories Need To Be Retold". Polkacafe.com.
  2. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 22 November 1986. p. 1814.
  3. ^ a b c Pisharoty, Sangeeta Barooah (13 February 2003). "Unknown soldier... to you I bow". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 4 November 2003.
  4. ^ "Trustees – NCPEDP". NCPEDP. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  5. ^ a b Claude, Arpi (8 December 2011). "1971, A War Hero Remembers". Rediff.com.
  6. ^ Cardozo, Ian (2003). Param Vir: Our Heroes in Battle. Roli Books. p. 228. ISBN 9351940292.
  7. ^ a b c Arpi, Claude (8 December 2011). "'I cut my leg off and ordered: 'Go and bury it'". Rediff.com.
  8. ^ Bisht Rawat, Rachna (15 October 2017). Shoot, Dive, Fly : Stories of Grit and Adventure from The Indian Army. Penguin Random House India Private Limited. p. 208. ISBN 978-9386651693.
  9. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 7 March 1987. p. 338.
  10. ^ "RCI – Annual Reports". Rehabilitation Council of India. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  11. ^ Das, Sucharita (22 January 2018). "Running for causes". Deccan Chronicle.
  12. ^ Salvi, Pooja (22 January 2018). "Mumbai runs, with all its heart". The Asian Age.
  13. ^ Filmer, Antonia (30 July 2016). "'In the Army, work and play are synonymous'". The Sunday Guardian.
  14. ^ 1971-Stories of Grit and Glory from the Indo-Pak War. Penguin. June 2021. ISBN 9780143454557. Retrieved 12 June 2021.

External links[edit]