Service No: IC-39962A

Date of Birth : 31 Dec 1960

Place of Birth : Bangalore

Service : Army

Last Rank : Lt Col

Unit : 25 RR/18 Madras

Arm/Regt: The Madras Regiment

Operation: CI & IS Ops

Awards : SC

Date of Martyrdom : Oct 30, 1999

Lt Col Ajit Bhandarkar SC

Lieutenant Colonel Ajit Bhandarkar was born in Bangalore on 31 Dec 1960. Son of Shri U V Bhandarkar, Lt Col Ajit had two brothers, and one of them, Col Arun Bhandarkar too served in the Army. He was inclined to join the Army since his childhood days and continued to follow his dream while growing up. After his initial schooling in Bangalore, he went on to study in Sainik School Bijapur, where the foundation of his future military career was laid. Eventually his dream came true, when he got selected for the prestigious National Defence Academy Khadakwasla. Later he moved to Indian Military Academy Dehradun for further training.

 

He was commissioned into 18 Madras of the Madras regiment, a regiment known for its gallant soldiers and numerous battle honours. After serving for few years, he got married to Ms Shakuntala and the couple had two sons named Nirbhay and Akshay. During his service career, Lt Col Ajit participated in various operations and operated in places with different terrain and environments. Consequently, the family also traveled across the country along with Lt Col Ajit and stayed at Pune, Indore, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, and Delhi. Later Lt Col Ajit was sent on deputation to 25 RR battalion, deployed in J & K area for counter-insurgency operations. The family continued to stay in Delhi as the unit was located in a field area.

 

Faizalabad Operation : 30 Oct 1999

 

During Oct 1999, Lt Col Ajit Bhandarkar was serving with 25 RR deployed in Poonch district of J&K. As the AOR(Area of Operation) of the unit was infested with militants, the troops had to undertake counter-insurgency operations on a regular basis. On 30 October 1999, Lt Col Ajit’s unit had received intelligence inputs about the presence of militants in Faisalabad village in Poonch district. After assessing the situation a decision was taken to launch an operation under the leadership of Lt Col Ajit. As planned, a cordon and search operation was launched in the suspected area to eliminate five hardcore militants hiding in the village.

 

As the operation was underway, Lt Col Ajit spotted the militants escaping towards a nullah. He immediately swung into action and while chasing shot down one militant at point-blank range. However, the second militant hiding inside the nullah fired indiscriminately and injured Lt Col Ajit grievously. Despite being injured, he moved ahead and lobbed a grenade on the militants. He then crawled forward and shot down another militant. His daredevil action resulted in the elimination of three hardcore militants. Lt Col Ajit, however later succumbed to his injuries and was martyred. For this act of courage and supreme sacrifice, Lt Col Ajit Bhandarkar was awarded “Shaurya Chakra” posthumously.

 

Lt Col Ajit Bhandarkar is survived by his wife Smt Shakuntala Bhandarkar and two sons, Nirbhay and Akshay, parents, and two brothers. His wife, Smt Shakunthala Bhandarkar, having gone through the personal experience of being a martyr’s wife, is passionate about helping other martyrs’ families. She is a volunteer with the Vasantharatna Foundation for Art since its inception and has contributed immensely in conducting various events and activities for the families of martyrs. The undying passion to serve the nation seems to have been inherited by Lt Col Bhandarkar’s sons too. Whilst the elder son Capt Nirbhay Bhandarkar has joined his father’s unit after passing out from OTA Chennai, Sub Lt Akshay Bhandarkar has joined the Indian Navy after graduating as an Engineer.

Citation for the Saurya Chakra awarded to him reads:-

 

On 30 October 1999, Lieutenant Colonel Ajit Bhandarkar led an operation in village Faizalabad (Surankot) in Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir. A cordon and search operation was launched to eliminate five hardcore militants hiding in the village. Lieutenant Colonel Ajit Bhandarkar spotted the militants escaping towards a nalla. He chased the militants inside the nalla and shot dead one militant at point blank range. The second militant hiding inside the nalla fired indiscriminately, injuring him grievously. Despite being injured, he moved ahead and lobbed a grenade on the militants. He then crawled forward and shot down a militant. His action saved the lives of other personnel. His daring action resulted in the elimination of three hardcore militants. He, However, succumbed to his injuries.

 

Lieutenant Colonel Ajit Bhandarkar, thus, displayed gallantry and bold leadership while facing the militants and made the supreme sacrifice.

  •  “They gave their today for our tomorrow. I feel the void he’s left behind, but his sacrifice has only made me stronger. He always wanted me to stand on my feet and I am proud that I did.”  : his wife Shakunthala Bhandarkar.
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Source
  • http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/My-husband-is-immortal-through-his-deeds/articleshow/4820633.cms
  • http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-karnataka/With-grit-families-of-Kargil-martyrs-get-on-with-life/article16563094.ece
  • http://www.dnaindia.com/bangalore/report-war-no-never-again-1277201
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31 Comments
  • Uday Prabhu

    2019at6:40 pm Reply

    Dear Ajit,
    Extremely proud of my cousin Lt Ajit Bhandarkar. You definitely deserve the ‘Shaurya Chakra’ Award issued for gallantry!
    A special mention of your wife, Shakuntala. In spite of deep personal tragedy both your sons Nirbhay and Akshay are into serving the nation- speaks a lot of her character! Wishing them all the best in the forces in the years to come!
    Jai Hind

  • Col Aniruddha Gudi

    2019at8:18 pm Reply

    My heartfelt salutations to the brave martyr LtCol Ajit Bhandarkar, SHAURYA CHAKRA, my classmate. Mrs Shakuntala Bhandarkar is a role model for all Indians. Her contribution to national security is immeasurable. Both of her sons are serving the Armed Forces now. One in his father’s battalion (18 MADRAS) and one in Indian Navy. In that sense Mrs Shakuntala can be truly called ‘Mother India’. The Services have started this new commendable tradition of daily wreath laying at the newly constructed National War Memorial by one of the family members of a martyr. It was really touching to see her lay the wreath. AJEETH HAI ABHEETH HAI

    • Shakunthala A Bhandarkar

      2020at2:07 pm

      Col Aniruddhha Gudi, thank you for the kind works and also would like to appreciate the effort taken by 77 batch of Sainik school Bijapur if making the Lt Col AJit Bhandarkar Dwar.

  • RAJGOPAL BHUTADA

    2019at10:00 pm Reply

    Salutations dear friend! You are a great inspiration to all.

  • H. Madhusudhan Bhandarkar

    2019at10:36 pm Reply

    I am H. Madhusudhan Bhandarkar, a retired Bank Manager of Syndicate Bank.(born and raised in Chennai). I was posted to Defence Head Quarters ,South Block branch, New Delhi branch of my bank in 1997. Lt. Col. Ajith Bhandarkar maintained his account in our branch. When he was posted to Kashmir, he came to me to inform about his posting to Kashmir. He had known that I had not visited Kashmir and hence he invited me to visit the place. I told him that I was scared to visit Kashmir due to terrorism. He said “why are you scared when I am there”. In a few days I was visiting Chennai to be with my family for a few days, on leave. As soon as I reached my house, I received a telephone call from my uncle Mr. K. N. Shenoy (who knew Lt. Col.Ajith Bhandarkar’s family well) to inform me about the martyrdom of the brave officer. I was shell shocked to get the news. I wish Mrs. Shakunthala Bhandarkar and her family all the very best in all their endeavors. God bless the family.

  • Dear Mr Madhusudhan,
    Thank you for all your blessings and goodwishes.
    It means a lot to us.
    Regards and respects.

  • col Pradeep Dalvi

    2020at8:12 pm Reply

    After I left the school in 1973 I never got the opportunity to meet him though we were both in the same service that is Army and Inf. . He was in my house in school . His act of gallantry will always remain a mile stone for all Ajeets and aspiration for the present cadets at SSBJ. Let me congratulate Mrs Bhandarkar for standing up during those tough times and bringing the children only Fauji Ladies know and have the ability to stand on their own and show the path of wisdom to our childern. Our best wishes to lt col Bhandarkar and family . Jai Hind

    • Sanjay Chawla

      2021at7:29 pm

      Dear Mrs Bhandarkar,
      Deeply touched by your & your family’s patriotism. Inspite of martyrdom of Col Ajit at a young age, you have sent both your sons to serve the nation.
      It’s because of sacrifices of proud & patriotic families like yours, the nation is still standing tall despite being surrounded by enemies.
      God bless the family.
      Best wishes.
      Brig Sanjay Chawla

  • T. R. Bhanu Prabha

    2021at5:31 pm Reply

    It is with immense gratitude and pride that i add my two words here to have had Mrs. Shakunthala Bhandarkar as the Principal of Indian school of Excellence Bangalore. Lt. Col. Ajith Bhandarkar’s sacrifice to our nation and Shakunthala ma’am’s inspirational presence will hopefully contribute to many more soldiers to the nation . Salutations to the entire family

  • N RAMACHANDRAN

    2021at6:18 pm Reply

    I was served under Colonel Arun Bhandarkar, EME at 515 Army Base Wksp EME, Bangalore around 2010. He is a hardworking officer.

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