Kerala’s first Vir Chakra awardee N Chandrasekharan Nair passes away at 91

Commissioned into the Indian Army in 1964 as a second lieutenant in the Madras Engineers Group, the young officer got an opportunity to showcase his calibre during the 1965 war.
 Lt Col (retd) N Chandrasekharan Nair, Kerala’s first Vir Chakra awardee.
Lt Col (retd) N Chandrasekharan Nair, Kerala’s first Vir Chakra awardee.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : A tale of sheer grit and dedication, that made him part of the Indian military folklore, was what got him the coveted military honour. Lt Col (retd) N Chandrasekharan Nair, Kerala’s first Vir Chakra awardee, won the prestigious medal for his outstanding service during the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war. He passed away at the age of 91, on Tuesday.

Lt Col Nair who was suffering from age-related ailments for the past few weeks, breathed his last at around 2pm at his Kumarapuram residence.

The funeral will be held at Santhi Kavadam on Thursday at 1 pm. He is survived by wife Chandrika Nair, daughters Meena Nair, Meera Nair, Meeta Mukherji, sons-in-law Vijay Kumar M, Rajesh Iyer, Tanmay Mukherji and grandchildren Tushar Nair, Tarun Iyer, Tanya Iyer, Tanish Mukherji, Tanay Mukherji and granddaughter-in-law Nitya George.

Commissioned into the Indian Army in 1964 as a second lieutenant in the Madras Engineers Group, the young officer got an opportunity to showcase his calibre during the 1965 war.

Dera Baba Nanak, a sacred place of the Sikhs on the banks of River Ravi, was the centrestage of the war, and was being defended by the Madras, Gorkha and Raj Rifles regiments.

Nair was posted at Dera Baba Nanak at the time. The Madras Engineers was tasked to provide logistic and technical support to those on the frontline. They were given charge of the area that was less than a couple of kilometres from the enemy watchtowers and bunkers. Removing obstacles like mines and explosives, constructing instant bridges and roads and destroying enemy installations were the responsibilities of the Madras Engineers Group. It was Nair who executed all these tasks with utmost precision and diligence.

“During a particular task that I had to undertake, I had to crawl on hard cement for nearly a mile and come back. On the Pakistan side, there was an approach road et al. The target was a 52-feet tower, with viewpoints located every 10 feet. From there, they could observe everything. The primary task was to destroy that tower. It was the most difficult thing to do,” Lt Col (retd) N Chandrasekharan Nair had once recounted to TNIE. Taking into account his bravery in the face of imminent death, Nair was bestowed with the Vir Chakra at the young age of 31.

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