9 December 1971. 8.45 p.m. Torpedoed by a Pakistani submarine, the INS Khukri sank within minutes. Along with the ship, 178 sailors and 18 officers made the supreme sacrifice. Last seen calmly puffing on his cigarette, Captain Mahendra Nath Mulla, captain of the Khukri, chose to go down with his ship. This defining moment of the 1971 war between India and Pakistan is the basis of Major General Ian Cardozo's attempt to understand what happened that day and why. Major General Cardozo brings fresh insight into the hellish ordeal by including the heartfelt accounts of the survivors and of the members of their families. These accounts transform the stereotypical understanding of the incident; they also supplement it. We glimpse fear, trauma and death at first hand. In the annals of war writing, General Cardozo humanizes this cataclysmic event as never before.
About the Author
Major General Ian Cardozo was born in Bombay and educated at St. Xavier's School and College. In July 1954, he joined the joint Services Wing, which later became the National Defence Academy. Here, he was the first cadet to win the gold medal for being the best all-round cadet, and the silver medal for being the first in order of merit. He was commissioned to the first battalion of the Fifth Gorkha Rifles (FF) in 1958 and was one of the first officers to be awarded the Sena Medal for gallantry on a patrol in NEFA in 1960. Wounded in the battle at Sylhet in Bangladesh in 1971, he overcame the handicap of losing a leg and became the first officer to be approved for command of an infantry battalion. He retired in 1993 from his appointment as chief of staff of a corps in the East. He has worked with the Spastic Society of Northern India. At present he is working for persons with disability as Chairman of the Rehability Council of India and as the Vice President of the War Wounded Foundation.