Service No: IC-13991

Date of Birth : 24 Feb 1941

Place of Birth : Mumbai

Service: Army

Last Rank: Major

Unit : 2/11 GR

Arm/Regt : 11 Gorkha Rifles

Operation : Op Cactus Lily

Award : VrC

Date of Martyrdom : 06 Dec 1971

Major Vetri Nathan VrC

Major Vetri Nathan hailed from Mumbai in Maharashtra and was born on 24th Feb 1941. Son of an Indian Navy veteran Cdr N K Nathan, Maj Nathan joined the army at the age of 21 years in Dec 1962. He was commissioned into 2/11 GR of the famed 11 Gorkhas Rifles Regiment, a regiment known for its valiant soldiers and numerous battle exploits. By 1971, Major Vetri K Nathan had gathered substantial experience in various operations and evolved into a battle-hardened and committed soldier.

 

The second battalion of 11 Gorkhas Rifles was raised on 11th Jan 1963. With this newly raised Battalion, Maj Vetri was blooded into warfare when the unit was inducted into Mizoram to quell the Mizo uprising. Maj Vetri proved his mettle as a soldier and successfully led many counter-insurgency operations. He was feared by Mizo rebels and was dubbed “The Black Pearl”, with a heavy price on his head.

 

Indo–Pak War : 06 Dec 1971

 

During the 1971 war with Pakistan Maj Vetri Nathan’s Battalion 2/11, GR was deployed in the Kargil Sector of J & K. A series of hill features ran along the LOC in this sector and held considerable importance for military operations. One such hill feature Point 13620, dominating the Srinagar-Leh highway was under the control of Pakistani forces. The Indian forces had captured this Point during the 1965 war but had to return it as part of the Tashkent Agreement signed on 10 Jan 1966.  As the hill feature posed a serious threat to the movement of troops along the highway, it was very important to dislodge the enemy forces from Point 13620. Thus it was decided by Indian Army to launch an operation to reoccupy Point 13620 and 2/11 GR was assigned this task. The task involved overrunning many enemies held posts along the slopes leading to Point 13620. Maj Vetri Nathan was commanding one of the companies that took on this challenging task and launched the attack on 06 Dec 1971.

 

Maj Vetri Nathan displaying courage and leadership skills successfully managed to capture the enemy-held post “Black Rocks”. Subsequently, the Company marched on towards their objective of capturing Point 13620. However, the advance was being stalled by the enemy’s Medium Machine Gun post on the summit. After having analyzed the gravity of the situation, Maj Vetri Nathan realized that the enemy MMG post had to be neutralized at any cost. Without regard to his personal safety, he called for the handheld Rocket Launcher and personally rose up to take aim and neutralize the enemy MMG bunker. While he shot off the rocket which knocked off the MMG post, he at the same time took an enemy bullet through his head and was martyred. His martyrdom infuriated his troops who unsheathed their Khukries and went on a rampage against the enemy beheading many soldiers. The daredevil attack by Gorkha soldiers forced the enemy to flee evacuating all the posts before first light. The task assigned to Maj Vetri Nathan’s troops was successfully completed and Point 13620 was captured. The post was named as “Vetri Post” in his honour and a memorial was erected at this place.

 

Maj Vetri Nathan was a committed soldier and an officer par excellence who laid down his life in the highest traditions of the Indian Army. Maj Vetri Nathan was given the gallantry award, “Vir Chakra” for his exceptional courage, determination, unfaltering leadership, and supreme sacrifice.

The Citation of Vir Chakra awarded to him reads:

Major Vetri Nathan was commanding a company of Gorkha Rifles in the Kargil Sector. On 6 December 1971, the company was given the task of capturing a feature held in strength by the enemy. During the assault, the enemy subjected the company to intense and accurate small arms and artillery fire. Major Vetri Nathan, in utter disregard for his personal safety, moved from man to man encouraging them to press home the attack. Though seriously wounded, he led the charge and captured the objective before succumbing to his wounds.

In this action, Major Vetri Nathan displayed gallantry determination and leadership of a high order.

  • The main gate of the 11 Gorkha Rifles Regimental Centre has been christened “Major Vetri Nathan Dwar” in his honour.
  • A road in Mumbai Cantonment, where the family house was located has been named as Major Vetri Nathan VrC Marg in his honour.
  • The Battalion Quarter Guard boasts of a bronze bust of Major Vetri Nathan, donated by the Nathan family on the Golden Jubilee of the Palton .
  • The 11 GR Regimental song eulogizes Major Vetri Nathan’s bravery and exploits to motivate all ranks of the Regiment.
  • All the sports trophies of the 2/11 GR are named after Major Vetri Nathan.
  • A scholarship has been instituted in his memory by the Nathan family.
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7 Comments
  • Rayvathi subramaniam

    2019at8:10 am Reply

    A dear ,much loved brother .To classes we walked together ,you always lightened the moment with your pithy wit . Large hearted and caring you showered your love on me . You missed my wedding and made a brief stop at my home on your way to your posting . Precious memories .

    • Anuprash sagar pradhan

      2021at12:14 pm

      He is a hero of my father. Now my father has a mild stroke. When I show this link, he is proudly saying – wooow. This is our saahab, her , hero, my hero. Nathan sahaab.

  • Subramanian (Kumar)

    2021at11:47 am Reply

    Salute the brave warrior. Nothing to match his strength and valour. A very true dedicated, brave son of India. Bow to him. Jai Hind. He is my Uncle and proud to have one in our family

    • Anuprash

      2021at10:32 pm

      It’s nice to know that Nathan Sir is your uncle. My father fought this battle. He was in 2/11 GR. My father always remember him and feel proud that he was with such a Brave officer. My dad always sharing his experience with Nathan sir.

  • Anuprash

    2021at10:23 pm Reply

    My father who fought this war with v Nathan always sharing his experience with us. My father always remember V Nathan. Hav Phurba of the same 2nd 11 was awarded with Veer chakra.

    Jai Hind Jai Gorkha

  • Lt Gen Prakash Gokarn PVSM, AVSM

    2021at10:44 am Reply

    Maj Vetri Nathan was with me in the Sea Cadet Corps. He was a couple of terms junior to me, but in the same Kohima Company at the
    IMA. Later we did the weapons course together at Infantry school Mhow. He had a beautiful white set of teeth which enhanced his personality when he smiled. His act of bravery will go down in history of the Indian Army forever. His statue outside the Army Officers Institute Colaba is a proud edifice of his valour and sacrifice. Mumbaiites should be proud of him as should be his school, St Mary’s Mazagaon.
    God bless you Vetri. You will reman immortal in our hearts.
    LIeutenant General Prakash Gokarn, PVSM AVSM (Retired)
    Former DG Adjutant General & Signal Officer in Chief,
    28 Lotus Court
    J Tata Rd, Churchgate, Mumbai 400020
    Tele 022 2282 0096/ 0982060122820096.

  • Ruben Fernandes

    2021at9:40 pm Reply

    Stumbled across these posts and my heart fills with pride when I read them. Have heard the entire narration of events countless times as a kid from my dad and other officers of 2/11 who were part of the capture. I had the privilege of visiting Vetri Post a few years ago with the war veterans who were part of the capture of 13,620.
    My dad(2nd Lt. TL Fernandes back then), who lead his coy behind Maj Vetri and finally managed to capture the point, fondly remembers the times he shared with his senior and friend and recollects the the supreme sacrifice made,true to his nature.
    I’m a serving Naval Officer and very proud to be part of the Shingo family.

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