Service No: SS-37536
Date of Birth : Dec 31, 1972
Birth Place : Bangalore
Last Rank: Major
Unit :21 Jat
Arm/Regt : The Jat Regiment
Operation : Op Parakram
Date of Martyrdom : Aug 02, 2002
Major Sylvester Rajesh Ratnam hailed from Bangalore and was born on 31st Dec 1972 to Mr. Rajkumar Ratnam and Mrs. Hemala Ratnam. He was a student of Bangalore’s St Joseph’s Boys High School and graduated from Christ college in Bangalore. Nicknamed as “silly” by his friends, Maj Sylvester was a very jovial person and was very popular among his friends and comrades.
Maj Sylvester’s father served as a police officer and his grandfather had served with Indian Air Force. Maj Sylvester always had a dream to serve in the armed forces and he continues to pursue his dream after his graduation and also during his brief employment with Jet Airways. Finally, his wish came true when he was selected to join the Officers’ Training Academy in Chennai and passed out on 05 Sep 1998. He was commissioned as Lieutenant into 21 Jat of the famed Jat Regiment known for its gallantry and various battle honours.
He was an intrepid & highly motivated officer, who always led his men with tremendous dedication & zeal. He soon gained expertise in battle craft skills and evolved into a committed soldier and a fine officer. His unit 21 Jat moved to J & K in Oct 2001 and he also got promoted to the rank of Major.
Op Parakram: 02 Aug 2002
On 2nd August 2002, Maj Sylvester’s unit was engaged in an encounter with militants in the Keran Sector in Jammu and Kashmir. Maj Sylvester swung into the action and took measures to protect other soldiers from the militants. He managed to push some of the soldiers into a bunker before falling victim to a shell from the enemy firing. Maj Sylvester was martyred but showed exemplary courage and leadership in saving the lives of his fellow soldiers.
Major Sylvester Rajesh Ratnam is survived by his mother Hemala Ratnam and sister Dr. Joseline Ratnam.
The Martyr’s family recounts…
Mrs. Hemala Ratnam, mother of Maj Sylvester Rajesh Ratnam, martyred on 02 Aug 2002 pays tribute to her son on his “Day of Martyrdom” today…
Though my son, Maj Sylvester, left this world 16 yrs ago, he still lives in my heart and comforts me as and when needed through his memories. I thank the Almighty God for blessing me with a wonderful son like Sylvester. Thank you, Lord ! for you are good & your love is eternal. I believe that my dearest son Sylvester was your loving creation and is now enjoying eternal bliss.
Right from his childhood, Sylvester wanted to join the Army and serve his motherland. His joy knew no bounds when he had got commissioned as an Army officer on 05 Sep 1998. He soon evolved into a committed soldier and a fine officer, respected by all his unit personnel. He gained the reputation of being a highly motivated officer, who always led his men from the front with tremendous zeal.
He showed his leadership skills and camaraderie on 02 Aug 2002 also, when he saved the lives of many fellow soldiers before falling to enemy’s shells.
Though as a mother I feel the pain of his absence many a time his sacrifice for a greater cause fills me with pride and gives me the strength to bear that loss. I feel proud of him and hope that his heroic efforts will inspire many youngsters to follow his example. Today Sylvester not only occupies a very respectful place in the pages of a nation’s history but also lives in the hearts of his mother, sister, and many friends.
Sylvester, my child, your words, and deeds will continue to inspire me to remain a proud soldier’s mother forever.
Mrs. Hemala Ratnam