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Field Marshal Sir Kodandera “Kipper” Madappa Cariappa, KStJ, OBE born on 28 January 1898 was the first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army. He was born in Shanivarsanthe, Kodagu (British India). His father worked in the revenue department. He completed his education in Central High school at Madikeri in 1917, and attended Presidency College, Chennai, for his further education. He desired to serve as a soldier in the Indian army and was one of the selected 70 applicants who were finally granted admission into the Daly Cadet College, Indore.

Cariappa graduated on 1st December 1919 and was first granted a temporary commission but the later permanent commission was granted to him on 9th September 1922. He was also the first temporary commissioned lieutenant into the 2nd battalion of 88th Carnatic Infantry at Bombay. Next, he was transferred to Mesopotamia and on returning back, was posted to the 37th Dogras in June 1922, later in June 1923, he was transferred to 1/7 Rajputs, which became his permanent regimental home.

During the World War II, in 1939 Cariappa being the senior who served for about 19 years, was called for a discussion with a Skeen committee which was been set up to examine the options for Indianisation of the Indian Army’s officer rank. Cariappa highlighted the discrimination towards Indian officers.

He was then posted as Brigade major at Derajat. Later, he was also appointed as the DAQMG of 10th Indian Division which was located in Iraq. With these, he became the first Indian to command a battalion in the Indian army on 15th April 1942.

His alliance was spread for decades with the Indian army. After his retirement in 1953, he served as the Indian high commissioner to Australia and New Zealand till 1956

In 1991 he suffered from arthritis and heart problems and died in his sleep on 15th May 1993, Bangalore Command Hospital.

He received the general service medal of 1947, the order of the British empire. He also received Burma star, the legion of merit.

He was one of the greatest and the first commander in chief of the Indian army and will always be remembered for all his services.

Contributed by Soujanya Mudliar, Content writer at Mitti ke rang

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