Service No: IC-39962A

Date of Birth : 31 Dec 1960

Place of Birth : Mumbai

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 Mumbai 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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37 Comments
  • Lavanya Jyothi

    2017at1:18 pm Reply

    Your story of courage and sacrifice is truly remarkable Lt Col Ajit Bhandarkar..My deepest respects to you..Jai Hind..

  • Kanupriya Bazaz

    2017at4:21 pm Reply

    Salute to you Sire
    Jai Hind

  • Santhosh kumar ,plavelil house, Perissery po chengannur

    2017at6:53 am Reply

    JAI HIND

  • Valsan Kunnath

    2017at11:24 pm Reply

    Big Salute to the Brave Son of Bharath Lt.Col.Ajit Bhandarkar – Shaurya Chakra
    “Duty beyond Death” “Soldiers go beyond call of Duty”
    “Some goals are so worthy,It’s glorious even to fail”
    You will always be Saluted for your Conspicuous Bravery, Indomitable Courage and Supreme Sacrifice.
    Jai Hind.

    • Shakunthala Bhandarkar

      2020at8:19 pm

      Dear Mr Kunnath,
      Thank you for your motivating words.
      It means a lot to us.
      Jai Hind

  • shashi

    2017at11:09 pm Reply

    Salute to the braveheart…
    Your supreme scarifice will always be remembered sir…
    Jai Hind…

  • Geeshma Dhyan

    2018at12:31 pm Reply

    India is fortunate to have a son like you. Your story is truly inspirational. My salute to you and your family.

  • Dr Noor Jahan Begum

    2018at5:03 pm Reply

    It should never be late for anyone to pay tribute to such a hero. U must have had a lion’s heart for doing such an act. Just words are not enough to praise your bravery and commitment. U are an examplary of a responsible son of this land. Hearty salutations to you, your parents, and your loving family. May God bless your sons to lead a successful and prosperous life ahead. May all of them be gifted with immense patience and strength for facing the grievances. U have made the nation proud. Civilians like us have no words to express Ur precious role and contribution rendered in building a stable and strong nation. Jai hind.

    • Shakunthala Bhandarkar

      2020at8:24 pm

      Dear Dr Noor Jahan Begum,
      Thank you for the kind words , it means a lot to us.
      Jai Hind

  • G B Shivamurthy

    2019at8:50 pm Reply

    Hats off to the Brave son of Soil .Om Shanthi

  • Col Mahesh C Kanagotagi

    2019at9:28 pm Reply

    Dear Ajit Bhandarkar, you have made all the Ajeets, Who studied with you at the Alma Mater proud. We are extremely proud of Ms Shakuntala who has groomed your both sons in exemplary chips of the old block. Respects

    • Shakunthala Bhandarkar

      2020at8:32 pm

      Dear Col Mahesh C Kanagotagi,
      Yes I totally agree with you, he has made all of us proud of his deeds. Thank you for the kind words.

      Jai Hind

  • Udayshankar R Prabhu

    2019at6:38 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

    • Shakunthala Bhandarkar

      2020at8:34 pm

      Dear Udayshankar,
      Thank you for the kind words. You best wishes means a lot to us.
      Utmost regards and Jai Hind.

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