FLD MRSHL KM CARIAAPA 1899-1993

1899-1993

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Field Mar­shal Ko­dan­dera Madappa Cari­appa OBE was the first In­dian Chief-of-Staff. He took over from the British Com­man­der- in- Chief Gen­eral Sir Roy Bucher on Jan­uary 15, 1949 and held of­fice till Jan­uary 14, 1953. He is one of the two In­dian Army of­fi­cers to hold the rank of Field Mar­shal (the other be­ing Field Mar­shal Sam Manek­shaw). His dis­tin­guished mil­i­tary ca­reer spanned al­most three decades, the high­est point of which was his ap­point­ment as the Com­man­der-in-Chief in 1949. He was af­fec­tion­ately called ‘Kip­per’, be­cause as the story goes a British of­fi­cer’s wife found it dif­fi­cult to pro­nounce ‘Cari­appa’ and short­ened it to a con­ve­nient ‘Kip­per’. Af­ter the end of World War-1 in 1918, In­dian politi­cians raised a de­mand to sanc­tion In­di­ans to the King’s Com­mis­sion. He joined the first batch of KC10s (King’s Com­mis­sioned In­dian Of­fi­cers) at Daly Cadet Col­lege in Indore and was com­mis­sioned in Car­natic In­fantry at Mum­bai. Cari­appa saw ac­tive ser­vice with the 37(Prince of Wales) Do­gra in Me­sopotamia (present­day Iraq) and was later posted to the 2nd Queen Vic­to­ria’s Own Ra­jput Light In­fantry which be­came his per­ma­nent reg­i­men­tal home. He was the first In­dian of­fi­cer to un­dergo the course at Staff Col­lege, Quetta, in 1933. In 1946, he was pro­moted as Brigadier of the Fron­tier Brigade Group where Colonel Ayub Khan, later Field Mar­shal and ex-Pres­i­dent of Pak­istan (1962-1969) served un­der him. In 1947, Cari­appa be­came the first In­dian to un­dergo a train­ing course at Im­pe­rial De­fense Col­lege, Cam­berly, UK on the higher di­rec­tions of war. Dur­ing the trau­matic pe­riod of par­ti­tion, he han­dled the divi­sion of the In­dian Army and shar­ing of its as­sets be­tween Pak­istan and In­dia as the In­dian Of­fi­cer-in-charge of over­see­ing the tran­si­tion. Post-In­de­pen­dence, Cari­appa was ap­pointed as the Deputy Chief of the Gen­eral Staff with the rank of Ma­jor Gen­eral. On be­ing ap­pointed as the first Com­man­der-in-Chief of an in­de­pen­dent In­dian Army on Jan­uary 15, 1949, he played a key role in in­te­grat­ing the troops and turn­ing an Im­pe­rial Army into Na­tional Army.

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