|Year of Award||1999 (Independence Day)|
|Rank at time of Award||MAJ|
Major M Saravanan was born on 10 Aug 1972 in Rameshwaram in Tamilnadu. son of an army
officer Lt Col Adi Mariappan and Amrithavalli Mariyappan, Maj Saravanan had made up his mind
to follow in the footsteps of his father since his childhood. His father Lt. Colonel Adi Mariappan a
doctor in the army died in a road accident in Bangalore in 1989, while serving in the Indian Peace
Keeping Force during Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka.
Maj Saravanan, after completing his schooling in various places — Belgaum, Kannoor, Gurdaspur,
Jorhat, and Bihar, had joined St Joseph’s College in Tiruchirapalli which was founded in 1844. Maj
Saravanan during his college days was also the president of the student union at St. Joseph’s
College in 1992 and was a C certificate holder of NCC. Maj Saravanan graduated from the OTA in
1995 and was commissioned into 1 Bihar of the Bihar Regiment, a regiment known for its
numerous battle honours. After passing out of OTA, he was posted to Tamulpur, Cooch Bihar, and
Bhutan before moving to Kargil. He was promoted to the rank of captain in 1996 and major in
Operation Vijay (Kargil) : 29 May 1999
Major M Sarvanan’s unit was moved from Assam to Jammu & Kashmir for the Kargil operation in
1999. He wrote to his mother that he had been waiting for just such an opportunity and would
bring home a “Vir Chakra”. Operation Vijay was launched on 26 May and his unit was tasked to
capture Point 4268 in Jubar Ridge located on the western side of the Batalik sector, the second
highest battlefield in the world after Siachen. The terrain comprised of jagged rocks covered with
snow and knife-edge ridges with no greenery.
Following the failure of two attacks, Major Saravanan volunteered to launch the third attack. A
frontal attack was the only way. The enemy was well entrenched on heights but the steep climb
did not deter him. The attack was launched at 4 a.m. on 29 May with his final command to the
men, “Do or Die”. He killed two enemy soldiers by firing a rocket launcher and was wounded in the
stomach by shrapnel, but he did not give up. His commanding officer asked him to fall back in view
of many casualties. Maj Saravanan replied that he was close to the objective and would not spare
the enemy who had killed his men. He added, ‘Nothing will happen to your Genghis’, which was
his code name. He charged through a hail of bullets and killed two more enemy soldiers. He was
the first to reach the top but received a bullet injury in the head at 6.30 a.m. and fell into a ravine.
His unit 1 Bihar took an oath to capture Point 4268, which they did by 6 July. Major Saravanan’s
body could be recovered, 37 days after his death, following a bitter fight. The entire Jubar ridge
was cleared by 8 July.
The body of Major Sarvanan was brought by air and the Tri-colour draped coffin was placed at the
feet of his mother. Hundreds of garlands were placed on it and thousands of people came to pay
homage to the hero of Batalik- the first officer casualty of Operation Vijay. He was posthumously
awarded the Vir Chakra and it was presented to his mother by President K Narayanan.
Major M Saravanan is survived by his mother Amrithavalli Mariyappan, and two sisters Chitra and