In a historic first, the Indian Army is set to promote an officer in a wheelchair — Brigadier S.K. Razdan (55) — to the rank of major general.
Razdan suffered a spinal injury during a gunfight in Kashmir 15 years ago on October 8, his birthday. It left the paratrooper paralyzed from the waist downwards.
But his daring effort on that day won him the Kirti Chakra, India’s second highest peacetime gallantry award. Taking on terrorists, he saved the lives of 14 women in that 16-hour operation at Damal Kunzipur.
Col (retd) S.M. Sud, Razdan’s senior from 7 Para, said: “He can neither stand nor walk, but Razdan is a soldier’s soldier.”
Razdan would often tell his friends about how he had cheated death, but sometimes he regretted not being a martyr.
Army Base Hospital Commandant Maj Gen B.K. Chopra, who has treated Razdan, said, “His disability hasn’t dulled his soldierly instincts.”
Razdan will officially pick up the two-star rank as soon as there is a vacancy. Amputee officers have been made generals before but not wheelchair-bound soldiers.
Razdan would not comment on his promotion.