Whenever one will talk about the Indian Army and its valiant heroes, Field Marshal K M Cariappa’s name will always be taken with the utmost pride and respect.
However, few know that Field Marshal K.M Cariappa’s son, Air Marshal K.C Nanda Cariappa was taken as a prisoner of war in 1965. As a Squadron Leader with No. 20 squadron during the 1965 Indo-Pak war, he was shot down while attacking an air base in Pakistan.
When Pakistani General, Ayyub Khan, learnt of the identity of this fearless Indian pilot, he immediately called up his former colleague, General Cariappa, and offered him his son’s release. General Cariappa supposedly replied,
The POWs are all my sons, look after them well. He is the child of this country, a soldier fighting for his motherland like a true patriot. My many thanks for your kind gesture, but I request you to release all or release none. Give him no special treatment.
After the repatriation, K.C Cariappa moved to helicopter squadron and later commanded a squadron based at Pune. He retired as Air Marshal. He also wrote the biography of his father Field Marshal K.M Cariappa and is actively involved in forest conservation in and around Coorg.