Battling to safeguard the country from terrorists, Col Santosh Mahadik suffered fatal injuries following a fierce gun battle with terrorists on Tuesday (17th Nov’15). The colonel who fought the infiltrators till the wounds started to force shut his eyes probably saw the phosphenes, forming a blurry image of a proud Indian flag, while breathing his last.
Here’s what happened on 17th Nov 2015:
Having led a lot of successful operations, the braveheart succumbed to grievous injuries following a week-long deadly gunbattle with the terrorists, which took place in Manigah forest area at Jammu & Kashmir’s Kupwara district. Consequently, he was airlifted to Durgmulla military hospital, where the soldier succumbed to his injuries and died a martyr.
That’s the thing with soldiers; they are born with a flame burning with sheer passion inside; the passion and heart to live and die for the country. And unsurprisingly, so was the case with Col Santosh Mahadik.
Following life facts of this 37-year-old martyr (another source says he was 38) will tell you all about how a soldier is made.
1. Mahadik was adopted and grew up in a simple family in Maharashtra
Born in Pogarwadi village in Satara, Mahadik was adopted by his aunt with whom he lived in the Godoli area of the same district. His father was a tailor and brother, a milkman. Mahadik set the foundation to his journey of becoming an army man when he joined the Sainik school in 6th standard, in the year 1987.
2. He was born a soldier at heart, says his former classmate, and we agree.
Col Prashant Patil, who was also Mahadik’s classmate at Sainik school was quoted saying,
“He was born for this. He would always speak about making a supreme sacrifice. Though calm by nature and gentle in demeanour, he carried a storm in his heart.”
3. He was a brilliant sportsperson
An ace football goalkeeper, a skilled horse-rider and a passionate boxer, he was an all-rounder. Also, he was part of the team which trained the Indian Cricket Captain MS Dhoni for paragliding in August of this year.
He was an officer of the elite 21 Para-Special Forces unit (special forces unit of the Indian Army’s Parachute Regiment); a testament in itself of his para-trooping skills. He was also an accomplished underwater diver.
4. He led from the front, always.
A commanding officer of anti-terror force 41 Rashtriya Rifles; colleagues remember Mahadik as the brave heart who always led from the front. Even in respect of the inhospitable terrain that made the Kupwara operation immensely challenging, the Colonel particularly chose to lead his battalion.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was quoted saying,
“We are proud of our young officers like him who lead from the front and do not hesitate to sacrifice their lives for the nation.”
5. He was a decorated soldier, thanks to his exhibit of gallantry on the battlefield.
He was awarded the Sena Medal for his gallantry on the battlefield during the Operation Rhino, which was a counter-terrorist operation that took place in North East India in the year 2003.
6. The martyr is survived by his wife Sashwati, and 2 children.
Mahadik’s former Amol Naikawadi met him in his school get-together session a few months back and today, remembers Mahadik having made a promise to attend the next re-union in 2016.
But the Indian soil desired him more, and now at the reunion, probably the toasts will be raised in pride and gratitude marking the surmountable sacrifice Mahadik made for the motherland. And on the battlefield, his team members will carry forth his passion for a safer and peaceful India. And this did happen; when their Commanding Officer was taking his last breaths, the troops carrying forth the martyr’s commitment to keeping India safe, continued with the operation.
Because as they say, for soldiers their country comes first, quite literally.