Captain R Subramanian was born on 12th August 1976 in the locality of Goregaon in Mumbai in the family of Mr. S Ramachandran and Mrs. Subbalakshm. He had his primary education at St.Joseph’s school, Sabarmati near Ahmedabad. In 1986, he came to Mumbai and joined Vivek Vidyalaya, Goregaon in the VIth standard and completed SSC in 1991. He joined MVLU College, Andheri (East) for the 1st year and completed Inter (HSC) from MVLU in 1993. Capt Subramanian was always a very good student in his school days and had secured an astounding 94% and 96% in his 10th and 12th examinations respectively.
He was selected for the 90th course at the illustrious National Defence Academy and joined in July 1993. He graduated from the academy in 1996 and completed his training at IMA, Dehradun in 1997. The same year, on 7th June, he was commissioned into the 1st Para as Second Lieutenant. He was then posted at Jorhat (Assam) and was inducted in the No. 1 Parachute Regiment (Special Forces) Unit after a rigorous training. He had his further training at Military Head Quarters of War (MHOW, Indore) and Training in Artillery at Belgaum.
Capt Subramanian underwent the free fall jump training in Agra and upon completion, he was called to serve in the Kargil Sector in May 1999. He remained in the Drass Sector of Mushkoh Valley until August, leading several challenging operations. Later, he was posted in Nahaan of Himachal Pradesh from where he was sent to Srinagar for Operation Rakshak in February 2000. In March 2000, he was promoted to the rank of Captain.
Capt Subramanian was very much interested in sports (Chess, Volleyball, Football) and took an active part in School and college sports. He was a member of the NCC from school days and College till he joined NDA, Pune in 1993. His friends recall that even during his school days, he had made up his mind to join the NDA and become an officer in the Army. At NDA also he excelled in sports and won nearly a dozen medals during his training period. He was an avid reader of books and liked to read about the works of great men like (Hundred great lives). He had a keen interest in music and Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh were his favorites.
Kupwara Operation: 19 June 2000
On the 18th of June, 2000, Capt Subramanian was leading a column that was conducting an operation in the Haphruda forest of the Kupwara district. In the late evening, his troops were caught in an ambush with heavy fire from a militant group. Capt Subramanian was quick on his feet and gauged the situation immediately. He commanded his troops over difficult terrain and engaged the militants in a fight. The gun-battle went throughout the night and they managed to neutralize most of the hardcore terrorists.
The following morning, he and his men went to the site of the gun-battle. While removing the enemy bodies, three militants began firing on his troops while hidden in a vantage position. The brave Captain, seeing the danger for the lives of his men, charged at the enemy militants and opened fire on them and killed two of them. In the process, he was injured in the neck and shoulders. Undeterred, he continued his assault and closing in and gunned down the third militant also. However, in the continuing exchange of fire, he received more bullet wounds.
Capt Subramanian’s quick thinking and skill saved his men from the surprise ambush. Seriously wounded, Capt Subramanian was evacuated immediately and taken to a hospital by helicopter but he could not survive and succumbed to his grievous injuries. Capt Subramanian displayed unparalleled valour and outstanding combat leadership during the operation in the highest traditions of the Indian Army. Capt Subramanian was given the nation’s second highest peacetime gallantry award “Kirti Chakra” for his exceptional courage, unyielding fighting spirit and supreme sacrifice.
Capt R Subramanian is survived by his father Mr. S Ramachandran, mother Mrs. Subbalakshmi and younger sister R.Varalakshmi.
The citation for the Kirti Chakra awarded to him reads :
” On 17th June 2000, when Captain R. Subramanian had rejoined from casual leave, his team was already inducted in Haphruda Forest in Jammu and Kashmir. He joined the scene of action where his team had established contact with a group of infiltrating foreign terrorists at 1430 hrs on 18th June 2000. The ensuing encounters resulted in the killing of six foreign terrorists and recovery of one RPG Launcher and two AK 47 Rifles. Next day when the search of the area was resumed, Captain Subramanian volunteered to lead from the front. At 0800 hours, the leading scouts were fired upon and pinned down from very close range. Captain Subramanian closed onto the terrorists from the flank and shot two of them dead. However, a third terrorist fired an AK 47 burst, injuring him grievously. Disregarding his wounds, he assaulted the terrorist and shot him dead. He succumbed to his injuries.
Captain R. Subramanian, thus displayed conspicuous courage, unparallel valour and outstanding combat leadership in the face of the militants and made the supreme sacrifice.”
Captain R. Subramanian was posthumously awarded the Kirti Chakra by President K Narayanan on 26th January 2001. It was received by his mother Mrs Subbalakshmi on 12th Oct 2001.
“You have never lived until you have almost died, And for those who choose to fight, life has a special flavour, The protected will never know!!!” – Capt R Subramanian
(Not just mere words written across in the random pages of someone’s diary; but one brave soldier who had lived up his life true to this quote.)