Service No: SS-37536

Date of Birth : Dec 31, 1972

Birth Place : Bangalore

Service: Army

Last Rank: Major

Unit :21 Jat

Arm/Regt : The Jat Regiment

Operation : Op Parakram

Date of Martyrdom : Aug 02, 2002

Major Sylvester Rajesh Ratnam

Major Sylvester Rajesh Ratnam hailed from Bangalore and was born on 31st Dec 1972 to Shri Rajkumar Ratnam and Smt 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 continued 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 a Lieutenant into 21 Jat of the famed Jat Regiment, an infantry 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 by then he had been promoted to the rank of Major.


Op Parakram: 02 Aug 2002


During 2002, Maj Sylvester’s unit 21 Jat was deployed in Kupwara district of J & K along the LoC as part of “Op Parakram”. The AOR (Area of Responsibility) of the unit fell in the part of LoC that was very volatile with frequent cross border violations. The area was prone to infiltration by the militants and the Pakistani forces often resorted to cross border firing to help the infiltration attempts. 21 Jat battalion had to launch regular armed patrols to check infiltration attempts in its AOR. Besides enemy firing, the troops also faced spells of hostile weather which invariably played havoc with the communication lines and other military equipment deployed in the area. On 02 Aug 2002, few soldiers were tasked to repair the damaged communication lines of the unit, which had gone unserviceable owing to inclement weather. As the repair operation was underway, the Pakistani troops launched unprovoked firing in the Keran sector.


Maj Sylvester who was in a nearby bunker realized the imminent danger to his soldiers and rushed out of the bunker to move them to safety.  He directed the soldiers to immediately jump into the bunkers to avoid direct hits. Maj Sylvester without caring for his own safety, made way for the soldiers to get into bunkers. However while doing so, an enemy shell landed near him and he got severely injured having received multiple splinters. Maj Sylvester later succumbed to his injuries and was martyred.  By his action, Maj Sylvester showed exemplary courage, camaraderie  and leadership in saving the lives of his fellow soldiers. Maj Sylvester was a gallant soldier and courageous officer who led from the front and laid down his life in the line of his duty.


Major Sylvester Rajesh Ratnam is survived by his mother Smt Hemala Ratnam and sister Dr. Joseline Ratnam.

Mrs. Hemala Ratnam, mother of Maj Sylvester Rajesh Ratnam paid tribute to her son on his “Day of Martyrdom” on 02 Aug 2018...


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

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  • Archana Kapoor

    2017at6:04 pm Reply

    God bless this brave soul. It is true that a brave soul never dies.

  • Philomina

    2017at12:09 pm Reply

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

  • gaurav Daishwal

    2017at10:06 pm Reply

    salute to you sir

  • Mrs. B. W. D'Souza

    2017at9:28 pm Reply

    He lived his life with noble purpose and sacrificed life for a noble cause for others and for the country. He remained memorial in the history. May he rejoice in heaven.

  • Roopin Ram

    2017at4:03 pm Reply

    Come Dec 31st & Indians knowingly or unknowingly will pay tribute to my dearest friend, Major Sylvester Rajesh Ratnam who martyred himself for the country.

    Hell-bent on getting into the army from childhood, he lived up to it’s highest commitment by gifting his life to the ever-gallant 21 Jat regiment.

    Thankfully am very fortunate & proud to be known as one of Silly’s innumerable friends.

    God bless his family.

    Jai Hind!

  • Hemala Ratnam

    2017at11:26 pm Reply

    So proud of you my dear son Rajesh for your supreme sacrifice for our Nation.31st December this year you’ll be 45 years.Thinking of all your Birthdays we celebrated when you were with us.I am sure all your friends will also be missing you.I know you are in a better place now enjoying the company of Jesus, angels & all the saints.Bless all of us. Rest in peace till we meet again
    Loving Mom

  • Kanupriya Bazaz

    2017at6:59 am Reply

    May the noble soul rest in peace. Salute
    Jai Hind

  • Shashi

    2017at8:33 am Reply

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

  • Shashi

    2017at8:35 am Reply

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

  • Umakanth Alva

    2017at11:13 am Reply

    Miss you Silly! The never say die attitude of yours is what got you into the army! That was one goal you had while we were still in school! Your Supreme sacrifice has not been forgotten! You make us proud! Jai Hind!

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