The Army has for the first time promoted an officer in a wheelchair — Brigadier S.K. Razdan — to the rank of major general.
Razdan, 55, who was due to retire on October 31, suffered a spinal injury during a gunfight in Kashmir 15 years ago on October 8, his birthday. It left the paratrooper paralysed from the waist down.
His daring effort on that day won him the Kirti Chakra, the second highest peacetime gallantry award. Taking on terrorists, he saved the lives of 14 women in the 16-hour operation at Damal Kunzipur.
HT had reported this March that Razdan had been approved for the rank of major general.
“It is a challenge...as I have to prove my mettle. Else, people will think I have become a general on sympathy vote. Mental capabilities are far more important than brawn. One can overcome physical handicap with cerebral capital,” said Razdan.
He said his promotion would inspire officers and jawans who have lost their limbs in counter-insurgency operations. He credited his wife, Manju, for success in his military career.
Razdan would often tell his friends about how he had cheated death, but sometimes he regretted not being a martyr.