Sandeep Unnikrishnan – The Hero of 26/11

Sandeep Unnikrishnan – The Hero of 26/11: If you are a defence aspirant or you love to read about our army heroes you must have heard of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, the man who showed extreme courage and give the supreme sacrifice in the Mumbai Attacks of 2008.

Today in this blog we will discuss the life journey of late Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, his contribution to the nation and the lessons every defence aspirant can learn from the journey of this great hero.

Mumbai Attacks of 2008

The Mumbai Attacks of 2008 are a series of attacks on Mumbai from 26 November to 29 November 2008. A group of militants from Pakistan carried out 12 coordinated bombing and shooting attacks in the city of Mumbai at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, the Oberoi Trident, the Taj Palace & Tower, the Leopold Cafe, the Cama Hospital, the Nariman House, the Metro Cinema, and in a lane behind the Times of India building and St. Xavier’s College.

The attacks resulted in the death of nearly 175 people and more than 300 people were wounded. The attackers were killed and some of them were arrested alive by the Indian Special and Paramilitary Forces including NSG and Marine commandos.

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan was there in one of the units of NSG commando.

Background and Early Life of Sandeep Unnikrishnan

Sandeep Unnikrishnan was born on 15 March 1997 in a Malyali Family in Malyali Family in Bangore and later his Family moved to Kozhikode, Kerala.

He was the only son of K. Unnikrishnan and Dhanlakshmi Unnikrishnan. Major’s father was a retired ISRO officer.

Sandeep Unnikrishnan attended The Frank Anthony School in Banglore and after completing his 10+2 he qualified for the NDA exam. He graduated in 1995 with ISC Science stream from NDA Khadakwasla, Pune. He was married to Neha Unnikrishnan.

Joining the armed forces and His military Carrier

Sandeep Unnikrishnan always had a keen interest in joining the Indian Armed Forces. He always used to keep in military buzz cut from his school days only.

So he decided to join the defence forces only and he applied for the NDA exam which is the exam for officer entry in Indian Armed Forces. He cleared the exam and got into Indian Defence Academy, Pune which is famously known as NDA.

This was the start of his military carrier, he then graduated from NDA and was first commissioned in the 7th Battalion of the Bihar Regiment (infantry) on 12 June 1999.

The thing that most people don’t know about Sandeep Unnikrishnan is that he was part of the Kargil War of 1999. He was at the forward post with his team where he faced heavy artillery shelling.

Sandeep Unnikrishnan was then promoted to the rank of Captain on 12 June 2003 and to the rank of major on 12 June 2005.

Later on, he decided to join the special forces and after the special forces training, he was commissioned into SAG (Special Action Group) of the NSG (National Security Guards).

He was very dedicated to his work and he topped the most difficult course of the Indian Army that is “Ghatak Course”.

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The Heroic Actions of Sandeep Unnikrishnan on 26/11

On 26 November 2008, Major Sandeep was asked to report for duty in Mumbai. The terrorists had started bombing the city and killing innocent people of the city.

One such place was the iconic Taj Mahal hotel where terrorists had made several people and children hostage and also killed many innocent people out there.

Upon arriving at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Sandeep Unnikrishnan displayed exceptional courage and leadership. He led his team in engaging the heavily armed terrorists and rescuing the hostages trapped inside the hotel. During the operation, Sandeep Unnikrishnan rescued many people, putting their safety above his own.

Tragically, during the operation, Sandeep Unnikrishnan was critically injured while engaging the terrorists in close combat. Despite his injuries, he continued to lead and motivate his team, ensuring that the mission was carried out successfully.

Later to evacuate his colleague Sunil Kumar Yadav he went up to the terrorists alone where he got a serious bullet fire on him causing him multiple injuries and blood loss and he gave his supreme sacrifice for his nation.

His last words were “Do not come up, I will handle them!”

Sandeep Unnikrishnan

Legacy and Honors

Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s bravery during the 26/11 Mumbai attacks left a profound mark on the entire nation and the Armed Forces of India. People all around India are inspired and motivated by his noble efforts and sacrifice. His legacy is one of bravery, leadership, and bold patriotism.

He was presented with the Ashoka Chakra, India’s highest peacetime gallantry award, in appreciation of his remarkable bravery and sacrifice. This honour recognises his amazing bravery and establishes him as a great national hero.

In addition to the Ashoka Chakra, Sandeep Unnikrishnan has been commemorated in various ways. The National Police Memorial in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, features his name among the brave officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. It stands as a solemn reminder of his sacrifice and serves as a tribute to all the brave men and women who protect the nation.

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Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s alma mater, the National Defence Academy (NDA), holds him in high regard and pays tribute to his memory. The academy has established the Sandeep Unnikrishnan Memorial Trophy, an annual athletic event that honours his legacy and inspires cadets to embody his spirit of courage and selflessness.

Beyond official honours and memorials, Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s legacy lives on through the stories and anecdotes shared by those who knew him. His comrades and fellow soldiers remember him as a true leader, always leading by example and displaying exceptional professionalism, integrity, and dedication to his duty.

Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s heroism serves as a shining example for future generations. His story teaches us the importance of courage, selflessness, and unwavering commitment to our nation’s values. His sacrifice reminds us of the extraordinary lengths that individuals are willing to go to protect others and preserve the ideals of freedom and security.

His life and actions continue to inspire young men and women to join the armed forces and serve their country with honour and distinction. Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s legacy is a constant reminder of the sacrifices made by our armed forces and a testament to their unwavering dedication and commitment.

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So this was all about Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, from his life to his military carrier. Hat’s off to the brave soldiers of the Indian Armed Forces!

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