Maj General Ian Cardoso: who chopped his leg with his own khukri

When Ian was packing his bags to go to the NDA, His father said, 

you will command men one day. Never show fear. Fear and courage are two sides of the same coin. If not show courage, your men will follow you right into hell but if you are scared, they will not perform.

he remembers and follows that advice all his life. 

Major General Ian Cardozo
                      Major General Ian Cardozo


When he joined the Joint Services Wing at Clement Town, Dehradun, the biggest problem he faces is that he does not know how to cycle. 

He has vivid memories of running from one class to another while all the other cadets are cycling. I was always running late for classes, missing breakfast, skipping dinner, and being punished. In six weeks, I had lost seven kilograms and I was also at the bottom of lass.' he confesses. 

Studies are a big shock to him too since he has come to the NDA under the impression that he would not have to study anymore.

 'I was horrified to find I had to learn science, humanities, arts besides a total of thirty subjects,'

 he says. However, his saving grace is that he was good at sports. This impressed his divisional officer who told him to sort out his maths and Hindi, assuring him that he would shoot up in the course if he did so.

Breaking an Academy rule

Since Ian doesn't have any time during the day, he starts breaking an Academy rule. After lights out at 10 p.m., he would pull a blanket over his head and study maths and Hindi in light of his torch. It pays off-in his fifth term, he seconds in class in the order of merit. 

Head Boy of the Academy

He also starts boxing and catches the eye of his seniors because irrespective of how many beatings he takes, he never gives up. He sh an incident when he had to fight the captain of the boxing team. I didn't want to fight him so I reduced my weight to captain change my category,' the General says. 

However, he was equally keen to fight Ian so he also reduced his weight. The entire Academy turns up to watch the fight. I was Sergeant Major and nobody liked me, so they all wanted me to get thrashed,' he says. The crowds are not disappointed.

Ian does get the thrashing of his life but he digs his heels in and refuses to get knocked out. This leaves him bloody-nosed and weak-jawed but the result is that all his seniors and determination and officers are very impressed by his grit and determination position akin to the Head Boy of the Academy.

Unfortunately, Ian rubs a British officer the wrong way by refusing to mimic an Indian officer at a battalion social.

The British officer threatens him with dire circumstances including not being allowed to lead the parade, but he sticks to his guns. He is in the running for one of the Academy medals. However, he is now pretty certain he is not going to get it. At the Passing Out Parade rehearsals, he notices that the gold and silver medals are both going to another cadet.

This convinces him that he was not getting a medal. Imagine his surprise on D-Day when not only does he get to command the parade but when the name of the cadet receiving both medals is announced, it is none other than Academy Cadet Captain Ian Cardozo himself! That taught me the lesson that 
'If you are good and if you stick to your principles, nothing can stop you,' 

1971 War

7,000 Pakistani surrender were surrender in the 1965 war, soldiers have surrendered. Just one day after the sun Major Ian Cardozo of 4/5 Gorkha Rifles gets a panic call from a Border Security Force (BSF) commandant near his post. He is afraid the Pakistanis might attack him. Gathering a patrol of three men, Cardozo and his Gurkhas, none know fear, decide to reassure him with a visit. The date starts walking towards the BSF location, not realizing that the Pakistanis have laid a minefield in that area.

Around 8.30 a.m., Cardozo steps on a mine. It blows up, reducing his legs to blood and bone. Much to the horror of his Gorkha troops, he falls. One of his legs is completely mangled ankle down. They carry a still conscious Cardozo back. In terrible pain, he is asking for a painkiller. 'Give me morphine, he whispers hoarsely to the unit doctor.

The doctor reminds him that Pakistani shelling has destroyed their medical inspection (MI) room, killing one JCO, four jawans and destroying all medical stores. Cardozo tells him to cut off the leg and the doctor replies he has nothing to amputate it with and will try to organize some medication

By 10.30 a.m., Cardozo is writhing in pain and has reached the end of his patience. The destroyed foot is hurting and he can see that it will never be of any use .he cut it off himself.

The doctor returns and is shocked to see what Cardozo be done. 'Don't lecture me, Cardozo tells him. Just tie up his leg and stop the bleeding. The CO rushes to the location well. By now Dhaka has fallen, the instrument of surrender is going to be signed and VIP movement has begun. All helicopters are engaged and there are none available to fly the wounded Major to an Indian Army hospital.

Maj General Ian Cardoso: who chopped his leg with his own khukri

The Pakistanis, however, have hospitals operational in the area. Cardozo's CO tells him that they have heard about his injury and have offered to operate on him. Cardozo initially refuses. 

After much persuasion, he agrees on two conditions. The first is that since he doesn't trust the Pakistanis, his CO will be present while the surgery is happening to ensure that they don't touch his other leg. The second condition is that he will not accept any Pakistani blood. 

When his CO tells him he is being a fool, Cardozo, Replies, 

"Sir, I'd rather die a fool than live with Pakistani blood in my veins.' 

After that, he blacks out. He is operated by Major Mohammad Bashir, who does a good job but Cardozo is not able to thank him for it because he never sees him again.

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