21-Gun Salute for Martyred Colonel Santosh Mahadik, A Village Mourns Its Son

Satara, Maharastra: Colonel Santosh Mahadik, the 38-year-old Indian Army Officer who died in an encounter with terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday, will be cremated with full military honours in his home town Satara in Maharashtra today.


Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, many politicians and retired armymen will attend the last rites of the martyred officer who is survived by his wife and two children, aged 11 and seven. A 21-gun salute will be fired.

Hundreds have gathered in his village, Pogarwadi to pay homage to the officer. As a mark of respect, many women in the village are not wearing bindis on their forehead today; several others have not eaten today in mourning.

Colonel Mahadik was the Commanding Officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles.
Colonel Mahadik died leading from the front and the proud Indian Army is paying glowing tribute.

Colonel SS Shekhawat, an officer of the Army’s elite 21 Special Forces who once commanded Colonel Mahadik, told NDTV, “It is a great loss. But he has gone in style. With a bullet in the chest and we draw inspiration from him. This is the way to go for a soldier. And this is the way to lead for a soldier. From the front.”

And Northern Army Commander, Lieutenant General DS Hooda said in an interview to NDTV, “The ethos of the Indian Army, the culture of the Indian Army – these are things that are sometimes not very well understood. We have a concept of unlimited liability. A man goes into battle, a man faces terrorists and he faces them sometimes with certainty that he could lose his life.”

Colonel Mahadik, the commanding officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles, was killed in a counter-infiltration operation in the Manigah forest of Kupwara. He was at the forefront of a search party which was pursuing terrorists in extremely inhospitable terrain when terrorists targeted him with heavy machine gunfire.

The bullet that killed him struck his neck, an area that was not protected by his bullet-proof jacket. The operations to neutralise the terrorists are still continuing.

The son of a milkman in Maharashtra, Santosh Mahadik stepped away from the family trade to join the Army.

Friends describe him as a champion boxer, goalkeeper and runner; one of the fittest boys in school. “He was the most prepared officer to come to the Academy. He was physically the fittest, the strongest with the most endurance. He had a penchant for helping not just his peers but also his subordinates,” said Colonel Sumeet Dua, an old friend from when the two were in the Indian Military Academy together.

1 Comment

  1. I am shocked and dismayed at the death of Col. Santosh Mahadiv, a Commando by profession and the Commanding Officer of the 41st Rashtriya Rifles. I extend my deepest sympathies to his family and pray to Almighty God to give his family the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss and get on with their lives.

    Though the present government is tough with Pakistan, it should change its strategy. India should indulge in constant small and medium arms firing across the border to pin down Pakistani forces and make them bleed, have difficulty in allocating froorces to fight anti-Pakistani elements and affect their economy. For every Indian killed, be it soldier or civilian, India should try to kill as many Pakistanis soldiers as possible. Pakistan is a terrorist and failed nation that only understands this language. Latton ka bhoot battonsey nahin mantey. Further, I came across an interesting piece of news from the Pakistani media. Thoteir government borrows money not necessarily for spending on development projects, but to pay interests on the loans they have borrowed from foreign countries and financial institutions.

    I have high admiration for military personnel, who like Col. Santosh Mahadiv are true heroes (and not tinsel heroes that we find aplenty in Bollywood stars, who lead surreal lives and are always hogging limelight and speak of virtues when, in fact, they lead different lives. Then in cricketers, we have tin pot heroes, who are accorded all sorts of awards and honorary military ranks and earn much beyond their true worth to the nation. The government has accorded the fallen hero an apt funeral with 21-gun salute. I have high admiration for a milk-man’s son, who achieved the rank of Colonel at the mere age of 38 years. It is a life and career that has been prematurely snuffed out by militants.

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