Friends and family erect new statue for ‘Bengaluru’s pride’

Sixteen years ago, Major Sylvester lost his life trying to save three jawans. 
Officers from his regiment in Jammu and Kashmir will participate in the event

Published: 13th March 2018 09:33 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th March 2018 05:23 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU : To commemorate bravery of Major Sylvester Rajesh Ratnam, his family, friends and army officers are erecting a bust statue at at the Major Sylvester Rajesh Ratnam Memorial Park, Tippasandra. One of his friends say, “We plan to make it a memorable event as Sylvester’s unit in 21 JAT regiment officers, government officials and all his well wishers are attending the inauguration of the statue.” He also mentioned that there was already a statue installed already in 2002 when Majore Sylvester died. “The statue was made of sandstone and slowly, it started deteriorating. Sylvester is our pride and so is Bengaluru's. So, we want to install this new bust statue of Sylvester," he adds. The new statue is made with just one block of black marble, from Rajasthan, for better durability.

An old statue of Major Sylvester at the park
in Thippasandra l S Manjunath

Hemala Ratnam, mother of Sylvester, says she is thankful to Colonel Sanjeev, M21 JAT Commanding Officer, for supervising the sculpting of the statue at his regiment in Jammu and Kashmir and transporting to KK&G Regimental HQ in Bengaluru and also Thimmiah who coordinated with the government for the event. 

Alumni of St Joseph’s Boys High School and a graduate of Christ College, he had worked for Jet Airways. That’s when he realised that he should follow his dreams of getting into Indian army. “He was commissioned into 21st Battalion the JAT Regiment from Officer Training Academy, Chennai in 1998," says Hemala.Hemala says Sylvester was kind and affectionate. “I am proud of him today. He was also known in the battalion for his sense of humour. He would crack jokes under stressful conditions to support junior officers," she adds. 

But unfortunately, he could only serve four years in the army. He died at the borders when he was 29 years old. Before leaving for his last trip to Delhi, he had told his mother that his name would be etched in memories forever. ‘I’ll be happy to die for my country. You will see my photo in the papers,’ he had said. He spoke to his mother last on July 31, 2002.

Hemala recalls 'Operation Parakram'. He tried to protect his two jawan friends at the Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir, “On August 2, 2002, Pakistanis attacked on the Line of Control. Three Jawans from 21 JAT were unaware that the firing had commenced in the neighbouring sector and were busy repairing the communication lines which were damaged due to bad weather. Sylvester realised the imminent danger to these jawans and he took the splinters onto himself shielding the jawans. Sylvester became a martyr,” she adds. Sylvester always believed that the safety, honour and welfare of one's country come first.

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