Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Saturday put forth his recommendation of independent India’s first army chief, Field Marshal Kodanera Madappa Cariappa (KM Cariappa) for the nation’s highest civilian honour Bharat Ratna. General Rawat was in Karnataka’s Kodagu district to attend a function at the Cauvery College, Gonikoppal. Praising the valour of KM Cariappa and his extraordinary services to the Indian armed forces, who took charge as Independent India’s first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army on January 15, 1949. He had the honour of five-star rank of field marshal which was held by only Sam Manekshaw earlier.
“The time has also come to recommend Field Marshal Cariappa for the award of Bharat Ratna. If others can get it, I see no reason why he should not, a deserving person for the same. We will shortly address the issue on priority,” said General Bipin Rawat after unveiling the statues of Marshal Cariappa and General KS Thimayya, a former Indian army chief who also hailed from Karnataka. The event was organised by the Field Marshal Cariappa General Thimayya (FMCGT) forum to honour the warriors of the nation.
During the event, a member of the FMCGT and retired Indian Army Colonel KC Subbayya during his addressal mentioned that late KM Cariappa’s name should be recommended for the Bharat Ratna for his services to the nation. “If they can give it to Sachin Tendulkar, either the level of the Bharat Ratna has come down or since he (Cariappa) is an army man, he is being overlooked?,” Colonel (Retd) K.C.Subbiah and member of the Field Marshal Cariappa and General Thimmayya forum (FMCGT) said after the event. He added that he didn’t see any hurdles in bestowing a civilian honour on a defence veteran.
General Bipin Rawat’s statements were in support to General Thimmayya’s recommendations as he added that he sees no reason why Field Marshal Cariappa should not be honoured. Both Cariappa and Thimmayya were gems of the Indian Army who inspired and will continue to inspire the youth with their sacrifices. Colonel (Retd) K.C.Subbiah assured that the organisation will put Marshal Cariappa’s name forward to the Karnataka Government and the Indian Army for the honour.
KM Cariappa led the Indian Army on the Western front during the India-Pakistan war in 1947 and successfully led his troops in capturing of Drass and Kargil sectors. After retiring from the Indian Army he served as the High Commissioner to Australia and New Zealand. He breathed his last in Karnataka at the age of 94.