New Delhi. This is one of the lesser known stories of supreme valour of an Indian soldier. Major Ramaswamy Parameswaran, PVC (13 September 1946, Mumbai – 25 November 1987, Sri Lanka) was an Officer of the Indian Army who was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest military decoration, for his bravery in the face of the enemy , but not before making the ultimate sacrifice.
On 25 November 1987, when Major Ramaswamy Parameswaran was returning from search operation in Sri Lanka, late at night, his column was ambushed by a group of militants which had five rifles. With a cool presence of mind, he encircled the militants from the rear and charged into them, taking them completely surprise. During the hand-to-hand combat, a militant shot him in the chest. Undaunted, Major Parameswaran snatched the rifle from the militant and shot him dead. Gravely wounded, he continued to give orders and inspired his command till he died. Five militants were killed and three rifles and two rocket launchers were recovered and the ambush was cleared .
Major Ramaswamy Parameswaran, was born on 13 September 1946, in Bombay, Maharashtra. Son of Mr K S Ramaswamy and Mrs Janaki, he completed his schooling from SIES( South Indian Education Society) High School, Mumbai in 1963. He then went on to do his graduation in science from SIES college in 1968. He later joined the OTA in Chennai and passed out on 16 June 1972. He was commissioned into 15 Mahar of the famed Mahar Regiment of Indian Army and served there for eight years. He was later transferred to serve with 5 Mahar battalion in 1983.
During his service with 15 Mahar and 5 Mahar battalions, Maj Parameswaran took part in a number of counter insurgency operations in the North East region and soon earned a reputation for possessing steely resolve and unfaltering leadership skills. Affectionately called “Parry Sahib”by his men, Maj Parameswaran was always at the forefront during the challenging missions undertaken by his unit. When Op Pawan was launched Maj Parameswaran was handpicked to serve with 8 Mahar battalion, one of the first units to land in Sri Lanka in 1987.
Maj Parameswaran’s unit was part of 54 Infantry Division that was tasked to oversee the implementation of Indo-Sri Lanka accord signed on 29 July 1987. After the induction of Indian forces in Aug 1987, the militants were supposed to surrender but the dreaded LTTE backed out and unleashed war on Indian forces. On late night of 25 Nov 1987, Maj Parameswaran was tasked to lead a team of soldiers for a search mission in Kantharodai near Uduvil in Jaffna, the stronghold of LTTE. When they were on the way to locate a consignment of weapons in the hideout of LTTE militants, a group of heavily armed LTTE militants attacked them. Maj Parameswaran and his team of about 30 soldiers had inadvertently walked into the militants’ hideout and were facing heavy firing from all directions.
The militants were using AK-47s, grenades, explosives and the deadly HMGs(Heavy Machine Guns) that inflicted heavy damage. The LTTE cadres had even mined the area that restricted the movement of the soldiers, who were totally at a disadvantage. Maj Parameswaran quickly assessed the gravity of the situation and decided to launch a counter-ambush to save his soldiers. Maj Parameswaran took 10 of his men and moved forward to put his plan into action. In the face of incessant fire form HMGs, Maj Parameswaran fought back ferociously and continued to surround the militants. With no concern for his own safety, Maj Parameswaran dropped on his stomach and continued to crawl forward through the coconut grove in the direction of the ambush.
Maj Parameswaran startled the militants when they realized that they had been surrounded. But then an HMG burst from a sniper sitting atop a coconut tree caught Maj Parameswaran on his left wrist, nearly severing his hand. Undeterred, he charged at the militant closest to him, snatching his weapon and shooting him down. However just then another HMG burst hit him in the chest. In his pocket he was carrying a Mini Clear pistol and its rounds to use it for sending a success signal. They burst with the HMG hit and Maj Parameswaran collapsed on the ground and was martyred. His soldiers though shocked by the loss of their gritty commander got inspired and succeeded in beating back the militants.
Maj Ramaswamy Parameswaran was given the nation’s highest gallantry award, “Param Vir Chakra” for his cold courage, indomitable fighting spirit and supreme sacrifice. He became the sole recipient of PVC award from the IPKF operation in Sri Lanka and the first from OTA Chennai to get the coveted award.
MAJOR RAMASWAMY PARAMESWARAN
8 MAHAR (IC-32907)
On 25 November 1987, when Major Ramaswamy Parameswaran was returning from search operation in Sri Lanka, late at night, his column was ambushed by a group of militants. With cool presence of mind, he encircled the militants from the rear and charged into them, taking them completely surprise. During the hand-to-hand combat, a militant shot him in the chest. Undaunted, Major Parameswaran snatched the rifle from the militant and shot him dead. Gravely wounded, he continued to give orders and inspired his command till he breathed his last. Five militants were killed and three rifles and two rocket launchers were recovered and the ambush was cleared. Major Ramaswamy Parameswaran displayed the most conspicuous gallantry and thought nothing of dying at his post.
Aviation & Defence Universe salutes Major Ramaswamy Parameswaran for his valour and selfless service and the motherland for producing such a son.