- Name : Field Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa
- Date of Birth : Jan 28, 1899
- Passed Away On : May 15, 1993
- Religion : Hindu
- Death Place : Bangalore, Karnataka
- Address : New Delhi
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Field Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa
DATE OF BIRTH: 28 January 1899
PASSED AWAY ON: 15 May 1993
PLACE OF BIRTH: Sanivarsanthe, Coorg Province, British India
DEATH PLACE: Bangalore, Karnataka
OCCUPATION: Field Marshal. First commander-in-chief of the Indian army
Cariappa was born at Shanivarsante in Kodagu or Coorg, currently present in Karnataka. He was nicknamed as "Chimma" by his relatives.
His Formal Education
He received his early education from the Central High School located at Madikeri. He received his formal college education from Presidency College in Chennai. It was here that Cariappa developed interest in books and sports equally. Thus, he was an active participant in sports like tennis, hockey, etc. He also developed interest in music during these days.
The story after World War 1
It was during WW1 that Cariappa got military training i.e. from 1914-18. However, he was not an active participant during the event. When the first World War got over in the year 1918, there was an uprising demand from the political galleries to grant Indian the King’s commission. This meant that the British should start incorporating Indians as well in the British Military serving in India.
Consequently, in the year 1919, Cariappa was chosen amongst the first batch of Indian candidates in King's Commissioned Indian Officers to serve in the British Indian Army and was sent to Indore at The Daly College for formal training. From there he was sent to Bombay and commissioned into the Carnatic Infantry as a Temporary Second Lieutenant. Since then, it was no looking back for Cariappa.
He was afterwards promoted to Temporary Lieutenant in the year 1921 (retroactive to 1920). In the following year i.e. 1922, he received his permanent commission as a Second Lieutenant (retroactive to 1919). His subsequent promotions were the following; to Lieutenant in 1923, captain in 1927 (but his appointment was not gazetted officially until 1931).
Some other titles:
• He saw active service with the 37 (Prince of Wales) Dogra in Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq) and was later posted to the 2nd Queen Victoria's Own Rajput Light Infantry, which became his permanent regimental home.
• He was the first Indian officer to undergo training at Staff College in Quetta in the year1933. He was promoted to Major in the year 1938.The next year, he was appointed as a Staff Captain.
• Cariappa also served in Iraq, Syria and Iran from 1941–1942 and then in Burma in 1943-1944.
• He had served many years in Waziristan as well.
• In the year 1942, he was given the command of an entire unit. Thus, he became the first Indian Officer to do this job then.
• Cariappa became Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel by the year 1944. He also volunteered to serve in the 26 Division for clearing the Japanese from Burma. Here he was appointed as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.
His substantive positions
• In 1946, Cariappa was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. In the same year, he was again promoted to the position of Brigadier of the Frontier Brigade Group.
• It was during this tenure that Colonel Ayub Khan who later on became Field Marshal and President of Pakistan served under him.
• Cariappa was the first Indian who was selected to undergo a training course at Imperial Defence College, Camberly, UK in the year 1947.
• At the time of partition, he handled the division of the Indian Army that was taking care of asset sharing across the two nations i.e. Pakistan and India.
Cariappa’s services after Independence
• After independence he was appointed as a Deputy Chief of the General Staff with the rank of Major General.
• He became the Eastern Army commander after his promotion to the rank of Lieutenant General.
• During the war in 1947 with Pakistan, he was made General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command. During this time he was responsible for the recapture of Zojila, Drass and Kargil areas and re-established a linkup with Leh region that went on to prove his mettle and he was promoted to the coveted rank of Commander-in-chief.
• On 15 January 1949, Gen. Cariappa was appointed as the first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army, succeeding Lieutenant General Sir Roy Bucher. The latter remained on the post only for a year.
His achievements after retirement
• Cariappa worked even after his retirement from the Indian Army in 1953. He had served as the High Commissioner to Australia and New Zealand till the year 1956.
• Also, he actively took part in the reorganization of armed forces in many foreign countries viz. United States, Japan, Canada, China, Great Britain and many of the other European countries.
• He was awarded with 'Order of the Chief Commander of the Legion of Merit' by US President, Harry S. Truman.
• The Government of India conferred the rank of Field Marshal on Cariappa in his 87th year, on 14 January 1986 for his excellence service and his commendable work for the nation.
The story of his son’s capture
His son was K C Cariappa, who was an Indian Air Force pilot. At the time of war of 1965, K.C. Cariappa was shot down over Pakistan by Army officer Major Zaidi. Junior Cariappa was captured and imprisoned by Zaidi. When Pakistan authoritie realized the true identity of the wounded soldier at Dargil, Radio Pakistan announced the safe capture of Flt. Lt K.C.Cariappa.
At that time Gen Ayub Khan, personally contacted Field Marshal Cariappa, and informed him about his son’s safety. Also, Gen. Khan offered to release his son immediately.
But, to the surprise of both the nations, retired Field Marshal is reported to have said the following words that a person of his valour could have only said:
"He is my son no longer. He is the child of this country, a soldier fighting for his motherland like a true patriot. My many thanks for your kind gesture, but I request you to release all or release none. Give him no special treatment....”
Cariappa’s Rank Promotions in Chronological order:
BRITISH INDIAN ARMY
• 1919- Temporary Second Lieutenant
• 1921-Temporary Lieutenant
• 1922-Second Lieutenant
• 1923- Lieutenant
• 1938- Major
• 1942-Temporary Lieutenant Colonel
• 1944-Temporary Brigadier
• 1946- Lieutenant Colonel
• 1946- Brigadier
• 1947- Major General
• 1948- Lieutenant General
• 1949- General
• 1950- General( Commander-in-chief, Indian Army)
• 1986- Field Marshal
His Last Years:
Cariappa after his retirement settled down at Madikeri in Kodagu. His house was called 'Roshanara'. The place had natural scenic beauty with lush green trees and natural flora and fauna.
During his retirement days he spent his time in constructive activities viz. educating people about checking pollution, maintaining cleanliness and other meaningful activities.
On 15 May 1993, at the age of 94 years Field Marshal Cariappa died in Bangalore.