Major Ramaswamy Parmeshwaram or Major Parry as his troops called him, was a military officer in the Indian Army and the recipient of the revered Param Vir Chakra awarded posthumously for his services and heroic fights that he gave for the nation. He was born on 13 September 1946, in Bombay, Maharashtra. He joined the Officers’ Training Academy in Chennai and passed out in 1972, which now also has a drill square on his name.
Parmeshwaram, after being part of many operations undertaken by the Indian Army was again selected for 8 Mahar which was the first Indian Army Unit to be sent to Sri Lanka as part of the Indian Peace – Keeping force and Parmeshwaram’s knowledge of Tamil was helpful.
The Operation which was supposed to establish peace turned out to be a failure and the army tasked to take surrender of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) militants was itself ambushed and had to fight the enemy force.
On 25 November, in North Jaffna, Sri Lanka, the Mahar regiment’s column under the command of Major Parmeshwaram was marching towards Kantharodai after a late night search operation. They planned on avoiding any terrain expected with LTTE ambushes but unfortunately, the only route had three temples which were sheltered by the militants.
In the morning at 6:30, the rain soaked and sleeps – deprived soldiers were passing that area when they were attacked by a group of militants who opened fire from all three temples. This scattered the entire patrol as the soldiers unintentionally walked into an LTTE hideout zone.
Parry, not scared for his own life crawled forward to help his men and taking cover behind a tree he fired the LMG perturbing the LTTE militants. During the hand-to-hand combat, Parry was shot in the chest and even that did not stop him from snatching the rifle from that militant and shooting him dead. Being badly wounded and unstable, Parry continued to give command to his men and pushed them to keep going.
Major Parmeshwaram’s injures proved to be fatal in the battle of Kantharodai and he attained martyrdom. His sacrifice was not wasted as the ambush was cleared killing five militants and also two rocket launchers and three rifles were recovered.
Major Ramaswamy Parmeshwaram is still remembered for his courage and leadership and was posthumously awarded Param Vir Chakra to celebrate his bravery and patriotism for the country. In the honour of his courage, the Army welfare housing board built a colony in Chennai called “Parmeshwaram Vihar”.
Major Ramaswamy Parmeshwaram is the only member of Indian Peace Keeping force (IPKF) to have been awarded with the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest military decoration, for his bravery.