Date of Birth : Dec 6, 1985

Birth Place : Bengaluru, Karnataka

Service: Army

Last Rank: Major

UNIT: 51 Engineers

Regiment : Corps of Engineers

Date of Martyrdom: Nov 29, 2016

Major Akshay Girish Kumar

Major Akshay was born along with his twin sister Neha, at 8.05 on 6th December 1985 to his parents Mrs. Meghna and Wg. Cdr. Girish Kumar (Retd). Even as a child, Akshay with his twinkling eyes, big smile and inherent warmth charmed one and all. After early education in different schools in Bidar, Wellington (Nilgiris), Gorakhpur and Chenni, in 1996, the twins joined Kumaran’s School (CBSE) in class six. Short for his age and skinny, Akshay would never hesitate to stand up to his principles from a very early age and he fought all odds to become a healthy, strong and determined boy with a passion to join the Defence Forces and serve his motherland. His inspiration may have come from his family since his grandfather Lt Col A. K. Moorthy(Retd) is a war veteran and apart from his father Wg Cdr. Girish Kumar who was a Fighter Pilot, maternal uncle Wg. Cdr. K Harisenani (Retd) is also a former Air Force Pilot.


He joined the Bangalore military school as a Boarder in 8th standard, worked hard and did well in school. After class 12th, he wrote the National Defence Academy (NDA) entrance exam (one of the toughest entrance examinations anywhere) and was selected among just 572 boys across the country. However, his dream of joining the Indian Air Force was cut short in the stringent medical examination because he wore glasses and the IAF pilots need perfect vision. His father suggested strongly that he do commercial flying and join an Airline. He just smiled  and said my dream is to wear the uniform and serve our country -that is how his journey into the army began. Cadet Akshay Girish (111 NDA Course) was trained at the prestigious Tri-Services National Defence Academy from 2003-2006 after which he went to the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in Dehradun for one more year of specialized Army training.


Officer And Gentleman


On 10th December 2007, Lt Akshay Girish was commissioned as an officer in the 51 Engineers- a regiment of the Bengal sappers. He wore the Olive Green uniform with great pride and did his work with utmost passion. By his 9th year of service, he had served in conflict zones of Kashmir and Nagaland and also in high altitudes of over 19000 feet in Sikkim. He led difficult tasks for his regiment like fencing the border in the Line of Control between Indo-Pak border in the mountains beyond Kupwara in Kashmir and building bunkers at the Indo-China border. He did very well in his Army Courses and earned an A grade in the Young Officers course and an Instructor’s grade in the Junior Command course. He also got his B Tech in Electrical Engineering from College of Military Engineering, Pune. Akshay married his friend Sangeeta Ravindran in 2011 and they were blessed with little Naina in October 2013.


Akshay had great regimental spirit and regard for his seniors and much concern for the welfare of men under his command. He often spoke about their tough life and wanted to help their children achieve their dreams. Many a time he called us up to ask about educational avenues and admission procedures for the children of soldiers in his unit.


Akshay was the ultimate jack of all trades: a good painter, tennis and basketball player, singer, dancer, writer, poet and cook! Above all, he was a very caring and motivated young officer, a wonderful son, loving husband and adoring father. Time was never a limiting factor for him to learn something, nor to connect with people. Family time was very important to him and he used to drag us to post dinner midnight coffee for deep heartfelt conversations.  He also openly showered family members and friends with compliments and he always genuinely meant them.


In 2009, Akshay was awarded the Chief of Army Staff Commendation (COAS Medal) for leading an exceptional rescue of injured civilians near Kupwara in Kashmir.


Nagrota Attack : 29 Nov 2016


Major Akshay Girish had moved to Nagrota (J&K) with his unit in September 2016. On the fateful day of 29th November when terrorists attacked a neighboring Artillery unit at about 5.30am in Nagrota and killed four soldiers before entering two residential buildings, Akshay was chosen to lead his unit’s Quick Reaction Team(QRT) to fight the terrorists.


Three terrorists had taken vantage positions in two residential buildings that housed officers families and a Mess and the QRT vehicle came under heavy terrorist fire even as they entered the location.  Akshay showed exemplary leadership in assessing the danger and moved in with his team to take counter-terrorist action. Their task was to prevent terrorists from killing the women, children and unarmed men who were trapped within their homes. Along with his buddy Naik Chittaranjan Debbarma and Major Kunal Gosavi Mannadir (Artillery), Akshay and his team not only engaged the terrorists and prevented the evil designs of the terrorists to take hostages and massacre innocents, they also ensured that the terrorists could not spread out in the cantonment area and destroy important assets.


After Major Kunal was martyred in the firefight, Major Akshay and his team continued to fight courageously and kept the terrorists pinned down. In doing so, Akshay was hit by 2 bullets and finally laid down his life after a grenade was launched at him. Naik Chittaranjan was also martyred. While the soldiers made the supreme sacrifice, they ensured that all 16 people who had been held hostage were saved. All the terrorists were also neutralised by additional forces within few hours.


The courage and valour shown by Major Akshay Girish who disregarded his own safety and thoughts of his beloved family while protecting fellow Indians inspired innumerable Indians who wrote touching messages in praise of their ‘Veer Yodha’.

  • Draped in the Tricolour, Major Akshay Girish was saluted by CM of J&K Mehbooba Mufti and the Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhaag among other dignitaries in Jammu.
  • He received a fitting farewell with full Military Honours in Air Force Station, Yelahanka, Bangalore before being cremated in Hebbal where his father Wg. Cdr. Girish Kumar performed the last rites.
  • Thousands of people from Karnataka and other states paid their last respects to the valiant soldier.


Major Akshay Girish : Son, Hero, Martyr

It’s the festive season. On behalf of our family, let me wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year in advance. While we are all doing our best to cope with losing Akshay in flesh and blood, we are also talking about him all the time and continuing to tell each other to stay strong, supportive, caring and loving. Because, Akshay has set very high standards of how to live life and embrace death, and the least we can do is try and emulate his way of bringing cheer and succor to people he came in touch with.

Akshay is remembered as this ever smiling, fun loving boy who radiated positivism but as a parent, I know he never had it easy. He worked hard towards everything he wanted to achieve and the path was usually rocky. In fact, Akshay faced some very tough challenges even after following his heart into the National Defence Academy, where he and Aditya continued to be together as ‘first termers in Echo Squadron’. Unlike the Air Force and Naval cadets who automatically get science subjects (called techies) for their academic degree, Army cadets may have to take up humanities (non-techies). Akshay had always been better at Science than at Social Studies but  once he realized that many of his NDA course-mates had very high percentage of marks in their 12th Board exams, he was worried. Since many army cadets had overall % of marks in the mid-90s, Akshay had to not only keep his fingers crossed but also pro-actively try for BSc because he did not want to do a BA. Much to his relief, he succeeded in convincing the officer in charge! The next challenge was not only managing the really tough routine of military training, the constant physical and academic tests and the ‘ragda’ but also staying firm on a newly chosen path after having been denied a long-cherished dream of becoming a fighter pilot. Akshay was swayed by peer influence, some of who questioned why he opted for NDA and not for ‘commercial flying’, when his dad had given him that choice. Less than a month after joining NDA, Akshay, over a phone call, told Girish and me that he was considering leaving the academy and returning home. He added that some other cadets had run away from the tough life! I wrote Akshay a long letter reminding him of how driven he had been to choose this career, how he had overcome so many challenges right since his birth and to carefully consider and decide on what he really wanted to do. I also added that if he wanted to return, we would respect his change of mind and support whatever he chose to do. Akshay overcame confusion and chose to stay on. He never ever looked back. Even when a confrontation of the young cadets with senior 5th/6th termers took a serious turn and resulted in some of them being reassigned to other squadrons in their second term, Akshay remained motivated and cheerful. He moved on to become a proud and loyal ‘Kilo’ squadron-type, even as his soft corner for his ‘Echo’ mates never left him! When inter-squadron competitions became fierce, Akshay always said he cheered first for ‘Kilo’, and when it was not in the running for top spots, ‘Echo’ was what he rooted for! As a family, Girish, Neha and I visited Akshay more than a couple of times during his three years in NDA.


Akshay was always happy and proud to take family and friends around his squadron and talk animatedly about the vast facilities and activities that kept them on their toes from sunrise to sunset. I confess I was one of ‘those moms’ who visited her son in every term at NDA! Despite being told it was not the ‘done thing’, I seized every given opportunity to travel to Pune and visit Akshay because I missed him a lot and wanted to meet him as often as possible! My heart would swell just seeing our ‘little boy’ walking towards us, and listening to his unending stories on all he and his mates were upto, made my day. He would talk all about ‘cross country competitions to drill and PT, maths and physics classes in Sudan block to lectures, events and movies in Habibullah hall, ‘fake’ liberties and punishments to jam sessions and NDA Ball, basketball, horse riding and tennis to cream rolling, push-ups and ‘dhava’, the 10 metre board jump to racing up and down Sinhagad fort, cycling and samosas at gol market to sailing in Khadakwasla lake, the amazing NDA dining hall and fantastic menus to never having enough time to eat a full meal, the famous camps – Green horn, Rovers and Torna to the ‘Josh run’ back to the academy.’ There were many more interesting tales that I’m sure his friends will be reminded of.


We lapped up all that he would narrate, particularly when he was home during term-breaks, and we went through many emotions with Akshay.  He was well aware of his weaknesses and strengths and was in awe of friends who excelled in an activity and were rewarded with a blazer or medal. He loved the wonderful camaraderie through the tough competitions and took pride in the fact that every single cadet’s performance contributed to the squadron’s position. That meant motivating each other to do their best for the squadron and never leaving a buddy or mate behind. Akshay was very proud of the stress NDA laid on character-building for ‘officer-like qualities’. He often spoke about the code of honour and how lying, cheating and stealing are the only vices not tolerated in NDA. Not owing up would result in a cadet being thrown out. The spirit of the ‘Cradle for Leadership’ had seeped in till it flowed in Akshay’s veins. Our charmer also had this innate and intuitive ability to reach out to help a fellow being faced with a problem. In their final term at NDA, Akshay called to ask if he could bring a friend home for a night. He went on to explain how the friend from an economically backward family was stressed because his father was unable to repay a loan. The family was being harassed by the money lender and the young son, a cadet like Akshay, wanted to help his family. Girish gladly gave the money and we got to meet and admire the grit and determination of another young officer in the making. Needless to say, the young man returned the money once he got his officers commission.


It was while on a break home from NDA that Akshay and Sangeeta took their initial friendship (they had earlier met through common friends) a step ahead. They spent hours on the phone late at night and Akshay began to sport that slightly goofy smile that the ‘falling-in-love’ types are famous for! While I wasnt really privy to details of their relationship at that stage, like most mothers, I could sense my son was happier than he had previously been in other ‘crushes’. As I come to the end of this part of Akshay’s story, flashback is merging with fast-forward. Recollections bring me to the ‘Hut of Remembrance’ in NDA. I remember Akshay telling me that the cadets themselves had built the revered memorial in the mid 1950s to honour the sacrifices of NDA alumni who laid down their lives in service of the motherland. The prayer when the Academy assembles to pay homage to the martyrs says “Merciful God, we earnestly pray, that those of us who are yet to be tested and shaped in the forge of the battle, may, when the call comes, be capable of the same devotion, courage and determination, in the service of our country, as those of our comrades – at – arms, whom we remember today, in this Hut of Remembrance. Let their noble example guide us to emulate them in their integrity and may their inspiration help us in the moments of our greatest peril to triumph over our shortcomings and weaknesses”. The names of 2/Lt Arun Khetarpal and Capt Manoj Kumar Pandey are legendary and Akshay would speak about their astonishing bravery and their gallantry awards. On a recent course re-union at the NDA, my brother Hari and friend Geetanjali sent us some images.  The name of our son, ‘Major Akshay Girish – 51 Engineers’ is already enshrined in the sublime memorial. If only he could see his name in his alma mater’s Hut of Remembrance, that wonderful smile of satisfaction would light up Akshay’s face. I can picture that smile through blurry eyes.


To read more about Maj Akshay Girish Kumar, read the  blog written by his Mother Meghna Girish  :

‘Akshay’ means ‘indestructible’ and ‘one who lives forever’. This poem written by Maj Akshay  when he was in NDA in 2004, is very meaningful even today:


If you feel like crying call me I don’t promise I can make you laugh

But I can cry with you If you feel alone

Think of me I don’t promise I will be in front of you

But when you close your eyes, you will see me

If you find times are getting tough Don’t quit,

keep moving Cause’ when you need a helping hand,

I’m there To support you all the way

But when you reach your destination Don’t think you did it because I supported you

But because you believed in yourself And this is what matters most.

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80 Tributes
  • Raga

    2018 at 12:30 pm Reply

    A big salutute to you Ma’am for having the courage to send your son on borders and fight for the nation.
    Major Akshay is still alive in all those people he had saved during the battles he fought.
    Proud to read the blog and get to know about the great family and the great soldier.

  • raghu - Bagalkot,Karnataka

    2018 at 8:09 pm Reply

    That’s really moving…proud of major Akshay and his parents!

  • Tejaswi Sudake - Solapur,Maharashtra

    2018 at 8:44 pm Reply

    Legends never die
    U taught many things to us.
    Jai Hind our guardian angel.
    More power to the family.

  • Arpitha Gowdar - Davangere,Karnataka

    2018 at 10:25 am Reply

    Got to know more about Major Akshay Girish by reading here n watchin videos on him !! A big salute to him for saving lives of innocents by sacrificing his own .lots of love n hugs to his little one and I salute his mom dad and wife for bein his pillar always He is the real hero and not the ones we see on screen .live forever major Akshay !!

  • parul - Udaipur,Rajasthan

    2018 at 2:46 pm Reply

    Words would never satiate the amount of respect our brave soldiers deserve.I salute Sir. And, I salute you and your family. You are the face of victory, the face of courage, the face of faith and the face of hope.

  • Manya Singh - Jammu,Jammu and Kashmir

    2018 at 9:18 pm Reply

    Never forget you sir !!

  • Hrishita Mahesh Surve - Ahmednagar,Maharashtra

    2018 at 7:31 pm Reply

    Major Akshay you are our real HERO.
    A big SALUTE to you and your family.
    You will continue to live in our hearts forever. Long live INDIAN SOLDIERS.

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