Field Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa the first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army. KM Criappa was the second General of the Indian Army to have been conferred the rank of Field Marshal in 1986. Sam Manekshaw was the first Field Marshal of India. Field Marshal Cariappa took command of the Army from its British Commander in Chief, General Sir Roy Bucher on January 15, 1949. The day is now celebrated in India as the Army Day. The year 2020 marks the 121st birth anniversary of Field Marshal KM Cariappa. Field Marshal KM Cariappa 26th Death Anniversary: Remembering First Commander-in-Chief of Indian Army.
Field Marshal Cariappa, also nicknamed as Kipper, was born on January 28, 1899, in Madikeri, Kodagu which is today part of Karnataka. Field Marshal Cariappa had his formal education in Madikeri and pursued his college education from the prestigious Presidency College in Chennai. Cariappa joined the British Indian Army in 1919 and was commissioned in the 88th Carnatic Infantry at Bombay (now Mumbai) as Temporary Second Lieutenant. He played an instrumental role in shaping the Indian the Army into a highly professional force and making it an apolitical organisation. Sam Manekshaw 105th Birth Anniversary: Remembering Indian Army's 1st Field Marshal With His Memorable Quotes!
Here Are Interesting Facts About Field Marshal Cariappa:
- He was granted permanent commission on September 9, 1922. In 1927, he was promoted to the rank of Captain.
- During the World War–II, Field Marshal Cariappa actively served in Iraq, Iran and Syria in 1941–1942 and then in Burma in 1943–1944.
- He was posted as second-in-command of the newly raised 7th Rajput Machine Gun Battalion at Fatehgarh. In 1942.
- Cariappa was posted as AQMG of the 26th Indian Division stationed at Buthidaung in Burma, which played an important role in pushing the Japanese back from Arakan. He was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in June 1945 for displaying bravery during the operation.
- In the same year, 1945, Cariappa was made the commander of the Bannu Frontier Brigade in Waziristan and Colonel Ayub Khan – later Field Marshal and President of Pakistan from 1962–1969 – served under him.
- In 1947, Cariappa was the first of two Indians selected to undergo training at the Imperial Defence College, at Camberly, in the UK.
- In November 1947, Cariappa was appointed as the Eastern Army commander after being promoted to a rank of Lieutenant General.
- He also led Indian forces on the Western Front during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947.
- He raised Brigade of The Guards — a mechanised infantry regiment of the Indian Army — in 1949 to do away with caste, creed and other barriers in the Indian Army.
Cariappa was married in March 1937, in Secunderabad, to Muthu Machia. The couple had a son and a daughter: their son, K.C. Cariappa also known as "Nanda", joined the Indian Air Force and rose to the rank of air marshal. After his retirement in 1953, he served as the Indian high commissioner to Australia and New Zealand until 1956. On April 28, 1986, the Government of India conferred the rank of Field Marshal on Cariappa. He was the second Field Marshal of the Indian Army after Sam Manekshaw.
One of the famous anecdotes about Field Marshal Cariappa, which showcased the military values of the highest order was related to the 1965 Indo-Pak war. His son, was taken prisoner of war by Pakistan. The then President of Pakistan Mohammed Ayub Khan who had also served under Field Marshal Cariappa in 1945, had offered to release him. However, Field Marshal Cariappa refused the offer and said that his son should not be given special treatment.
Cariappa's health began to deteriorate in 1991. He suffered from arthritis and heart problems. He died on May 15, 1993, at the Bangalore Command Hospital.