Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Colonel Neelakantan Jayachandran Nair

The only Indian Military Officer to have won both Ashoka Chakra and Kirti Chakra

by Praveen Shanker Pillai

Colonel Neelakantan Jayachandran Nair (1951-1993) was one of the most outstanding and decorated officers of the Indian Army. Colonel N.J Nair commissioned into 16 Maratha Light Infantry on 18th June 1971.

In December 1993, the 16th Maratha Light Infantry Battalion, deployed for Mobile Counter Insurgency Operations in Nagaland, was being in the process of being de-inducted. Colonel N.J. Nair was then due for his transfer & promotion. On 20 December 1993, at 8:40 A.M., negotiating a series of road bends with his soldiers on the Mokokchung-Mariani Road, he was ambushed by about 100 armed insurgents.

Unmindful of the overwhelming enemy fire that killed a Junior Commissioned Officer and 13 Jawans on the spot, and of his own grave injures, Colonel N.J Nair ordered a Lance Naik to mount upon his shoulders and throw grenades at the enemy. In the brief respite that followed, he organised his troops in an assault line and charged, leading from the front. Confounded by such recklessness, the enemy broke ranks and fled. Colonel N.J Nair was later found dead, close to the firing position of the insurgents.

For his outstanding valour and for displaying exceptional gallantry and courage, far beyond the call of duty, Colonel Neelakantan Jayachandran Nair was awarded the Ashoka Chakra and Kirti Chakra posthumously. Colonel Neelakantan Jayachandran Nair is only Indian Military Officer to have won both the Ashoka Chakra and the Kirti Chakra Awards.

On 17th February 2007 General J.J. Singh, Chief of Army Staff, released a souvenir in the name of the Colonel Neelakantan Jayachandran Nair at Sainik School in Thiruvananthapuram in the presence of Manju Nair, the wife of the war hero. The souvenir, `Tribute to Dear Jayan,' was brought out by the Sainik School Old Boys Association.

Reddy, Kittu (2007). "Chapter 6: Colonel Neelakantan Jayachandran Nair". Bravest of the Brave (Heroes of Indian Army ). Ocean book Publisher. pp. 102–105. ISBN 81-87100-00-1.

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