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Major General Ian Cardozo

Major General Ian Cardozo

Major General Ian Cardozo

How did you join the army?

I was in my second year in St. Xavier’s College Bombay when I realised that at the end of my studies I would end up with a 9 to 5 o’clock job with an endlessly boring routine when I came across an ad in the newspapers asking for applications to join the National Defence Academy. I appeared and was selected and joined and have never looked back. I understood that the armed forces would give me the opportunity to live an adventurous life, see places, and if I was lucky get an opportunity to see some action in battle. I was proved right. I took part in the Sino-Indian war of 1962 and the Indo-Pak wars of 1965 and 1971.

Can you tell us about your favourite moments at Valley of Words 2018?

My favourite moments were the warm welcome and the friendly interaction between the authors and the organisers which made the festival so enjoyable. The ambience generated during the festival combined professional competence with joyous participation.

What do you look forward to from the military sessions?

The military sessions last year struck a responsive chord with the audience perhaps because so little is known about all the wars that India has fought by the Indian armed forces.
This year promises to be even more interesting because we will be looking at ‘World War I and India’; the life and times of Zoru Bakshi – India’s most highly decorated general and the part played by him in India’s wars before and after independence.

Do you have any feedback for the festival?

Too many sessions results in reduction in time for the sessions and compromises on time for the authors to get across to their audience.
Too many simultaneous sessions cuts down on the size of the audience at various sessions.
School children – specially from the senior classes need to be part of the audience. Literature festivals are a form of education and the sessions could make a lasting impression on young minds. Principals of schools must understand this and spare children for the festival.

Do you think graphic novels are the way forward?

Yes, I do believe that graphic novels are the way forward for the future. Readers today, by and large, want to get the essence of a story in the shortest possible time and pictures speak volumes. Illustrated stories meet this need not only for the younger generation but for all ages.
This can be done if a special session is organised for school children.

About the Interviewee:

Major General Ian Cardozo was born in Mumbai and studied at St Xavier's School and College. In July 1954, he joined the Joint Services Wing which later became the National Defence Academy. Here he was the first cadet to win the gold medal for being the best all-round cadet and the silver medal for being first in order of merit. He was commissioned at the Indian Military Academy into the 1st Battalion the Fifth Gorkha Rifles (FF) in 1958 and was the first officer of the army to be awarded the Sena medal for gallantry on a patrol in NEFa in 1960. Wounded in the battle of Sylhet in Bangladesh in 1971, he overcame the handicap of losing a leg and became the first officer to be approved for command of an Infantry Battalion. He retired in 1993 from his appointment as Chief of Staff of a corps in the East. He is the author of The Sinking of INS-Khukri: Survivor's Stories, The Bravest of the Brave: The Extraordinary Story of Indian VCs of World War I, In Quest of Freedom: The War of 1971 - Personal Accounts by Soldiers from India and Bangladesh,Param Vir: Our heroes in Battle and Illustrated war stories on the Param Vir Chakra.