Service No : IC-58160L

Date of Birth : January 15, 1977

Place of birth : Satara Dist(Mah)

Service : Army

Last Rank : Colonel

Unit : 41 RR/21 para

Arm/Regt : The Parachute Regiment

Operation : CI & IS Ops

Awards : SC, SM

Martyrdom : November 17, 2015

Col Santosh Yashwant Mahadik SC SM

Colonel Santosh Yashwant Mahadik was born on 15th January 1977 in Pogarwadi in the city of Satara in Maharashtra. Son of a dairy farmer, Col Mahadik grew up to be a keen sportsman and was a champion boxer, goalkeeper, and runner. He did his schooling from Class VI onwards in Sainik School Satara in Maharashtra. While studying in the Sainik School his inclination towards the Armed Forces grew and the foundation of his future military life was laid. His resolve to join the Army grew with the age and consequently, he got selected for the prestigious NDA after finishing school. He later went to  IMA Dehradun and was commissioned as a Lieutenant in December 1998 at the age of 21 years. In the Army, he got trained in various disciplines and became a very adept paratrooper and combat underwater diver too.

 

Col Mahadik volunteered for the para training and got trained as a para-commando. He then served in the 21st Battalion (Parachute Regiment) as part of special forces known for its daredevil operations. As an officer of the elite 21 Para-Special Forces unit, Col Mahadik led many successful operations against militants in their hideouts in Jammu and Kashmir and in the northeast for over a decade. He was awarded the Sena Medal in 2003 for his bravery and leadership in counter-terrorist operations, during Operation Rhino in Lolab Valley in Kupwara. In the later part of his service career, Col Mahadik took over as commanding officer of 41 RR unit deployed in J & K for anti-insurgency operations.

 

Kupwara Operation: 17 Nov 2015

 

During 2015, Col Santosh Mahadik as Commanding Officer of the 41 Rashtriya Rifles was engaged in anti-terrorist operations in the militancy infected Kupwara area of J & K. The 41 RR was deployed in the Kalaroos area and was also the garrison guard for Kupwara town. Under the operational command of the Trehgam-headquartered 68 Mountain Brigade, the battalion provided the security cover against the militants sneaking from across the border. Col Mahadik was a leader par excellence and always led from the front. On 13th November, he led an operation in the forests of Haji Naka in the Kupwara district near the Line of Control. The Kupwara operation was particularly challenging because of the inhospitable terrain, but Col Mahadik chose to personally lead his men in the operation.

 

It was believed that terrorists from the Lashkar-e-Taiba were active in the region. For a week, the terrorists, who had crossed the border, had been hiding in the Manigah forest. On 17th November, another operation was launched led by Col Mahadik himself to foil the attempt of the terrorists to infiltrate. During the combing operation the suspected infiltrators were spotted and on being challenged they opened fire at the troops. A fierce gun battle ensued with heavy exchange of fire from both sides. During the operation Col Mahadik got shot in the chest and was critically injured. The injured Col Mahadik was carried down the hill by one of the soldiers to a place near the roadhead. Evacuation by air was not possible as Manigah area was located in a narrow valley.  Gravely wounded, he was driven to 168 Military Hospital in Drugmulla, just off Sopore-Kupwara highway. From there he was airlifted to the Army's Base Hospital in Srinagar, but he succumbed to his injuries on the way. Col Mahadik was martyred but his bravery, indomitable spirit, and leadership were truly inspirational.

 

Besides being a brave soldier that he was, he was also an intellectual who wished more than anything to revive the natural beauty of Kupwara and revive tourism. He reconstructed old monuments and organized football and cricket matches to build bridges with the local community. He felt revival of tourism was the way, the youth could be given employment and diverted from radicalization. He sent the youth on tours to Jaipur’s Choki Dhani and Rishikesh to learn about village tourism and white-river rafting. He would personally counsel ex-militants and show them the path to a new life. From sessions on leadership for children to yoga camps and adventure tourism, Col Mahadik took the task of winning the hearts and minds of the people as earnestly as he took his field craft. He brought a perceptible change in public attitude towards the Army, during his tenure. Col SY Mahadik was a valiant soldier and an officer par excellence who led from the front and laid down his life in the line of his duty following the highest traditions of the Indian Army. Col Santosh Yashwant Mahadik was given the gallantry award, “Shaurya Chakra” for his extraordinary courage, leadership and supreme sacrifice.

 

Col Santosh Yashwant Mahadik is survived by his wife Smt Swati, daughter Kartikee and son Swaraj. Later carrying forward the legacy of her husband, Smt Swati Mahadik joined the Indian Army and was commissioned as an officer in the Army Ordnance Corps after she completed her training at the OTA in Chennai.

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18 Comments
  • Niyaz

    2022at9:42 pm Reply

    I salute you my brother.

  • Ananya

    2022at9:43 pm Reply

    I salute your heroism and sacrifice..Jai Hind..!

    • dhanasekar

      2022at9:50 pm

      Real heroes

  • Rakesh Rudani

    2022at9:43 pm Reply

    Sir you are great
    We salute you sir
    You are bravest of the brave
    Jai hind sir

  • Ramesh Patil

    2022at9:43 pm Reply

    Jai Hind…… !!!

  • Jeevan Raj

    2022at9:43 pm Reply

    Your sacrifice will always be remembered and you will remain a hero for countless Indians. I salute you. Jai Hind

  • Kavita Kamtikar

    2022at9:43 pm Reply

    Many salutes, dear brother. No words to express gratitude for your supreme sacrifice. Wherever you are, know that your countrymen are forever indebted to you.

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