Fifteen years have passed since the harrowing terrorist attacks on Mumbai, India’s bustling financial capital. The day November 26, 2008, known as 26/11, is etched in the memory of the nation and the world. Tribute To Martyrs who faced the horror and fought with bravery during the coordinated assaults by ten terrorists from the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terror group.
Each year on November 26, India pauses to honor the memory of those who lost their lives and the bravery of the security forces who fought against the terrorists. This day serves as a reminder of the ongoing battle against terrorism and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity.
Nation Remembers Hero After 15 Years
Prime Minister Narendra Modi honored the memory of the heroes and victims of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. In his Mann Ki Baat broadcast on Prasarbharati, he reminded the nation of the unforgettable November 26, 2008, when India faced one of its most horrendous terrorist assaults.
He emphasized India’s strengthened resolve against terrorism, asserting that the nation is now confronting terror with unmatched bravery.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Modi shed light on another historical significance of November 26. Marking the day in 1949 when India’s Constituent Assembly ratified the Constitution.
Recalling the 125th birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in 2015, he noted the government’s decision to celebrate November 26 as Constitution Day.
Underlining the importance of citizen’s duties toward realizing the vision of a developed India. On this dual-remembrance day, he extended heartfelt wishes to all Indians, urging unity and dedication to the country’s progress.
What Happened in the 26/11 Attacks?
On that fateful night, terrorists infiltrated Mumbai, launching a series of attacks that would last four days. Targeting the city’s landmarks—The Taj, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Nariman House Jewish Center, and Leopold Cafe.
They aimed for places frequented by a diverse group of people, ensuring maximum impact. The attacks resulted in the tragic loss of 166 lives and left over 300 injured, marking one of the darkest chapters in modern Indian history.
The terror ended with the death of nine attackers, while the sole survivor, Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab, was captured. His arrest led to a death sentence in May 2010, culminating in his execution in Pune in 2012.
The incident’s scars remain indelible, serving as a grim reminder of the vulnerabilities and relentless spirit of Mumbai’s citizens.
Eternal Remembrance: Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s Ultimate Sacrifice
Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s legacy is an immortal chapter in the annals of Indian history. His valorous actions on the battlefield, where he laid down his life for the sovereignty of his nation. It has engraved his name in the hearts of his countrymen.
A faithful martyr, Major Unnikrishnan’s bravery echoes in the collective consciousness of India. A nation that holds dear the memory of a hero who fought with an unyielding spirit until his last breath.
On the somber day following his sacrifice, the skies above Bangalore mirrored the nation’s sorrow. With the heavens themselves appearing to grieve the loss of a brave soldier.
As the nation mourned, Major Unnikrishnan’s spouse, Neha Unnikrishnan, retreated from public view. Her world was irrevocably altered by the loss of her partner. Her solace was found in the privacy of her memories and the legacy he left behind.
Among the heroes lost were notable figures like ATS chief Hemant Karkare, Army Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Additional Police Commissioner Ashok Kamte, and Senior Police Inspector Vijay Salaskar. The assaults, which spanned from November 26 to November 29, ended with the security forces neutralizing nine terrorists.
Ajmal Kasab, the sole terrorist captured alive, was later executed on November 21, 2012, marking the end of a dark chapter in India’s history.
The Unnikrishnan Family: A Foundation of Strength and Patriotism
Sandeep Unnikrishnan had roots in the coastal city of Kozhikode in Kerala, where his journey began before his family made the pivotal move to Bangalore. This relocation during his formative years set the stage for a life marked by distinction and bravery.
The Influence of Family
His father, K. Unnikrishnan, is a retired officer from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). While his mother, Dhanalakshmi, is a devoted homemaker. Both his parents played instrumental roles in shaping Sandeep’s character and values.
Despite their initial hopes of him pursuing a career in medicine. They supported his passion for the armed forces, a testament to their nurturing and encouragement of his dreams.
Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s family also includes his sister, Sandhya, whose personal narrative remains less known but is undoubtedly intertwined with the legacy her brother left behind. The bond shared by the siblings is part of the private fabric of the Unnikrishnan family’s life.
Neha Unnikrishnan: A Partner’s Perseverance
Neha Unnikrishnan, Sandeep’s spouse, has been a pillar of grace and resilience. Her companionship with Sandeep began during their school years at the Frank Anthony Public School in Bangalore. It blossomed into a relationship anchored in mutual admiration and deep affection.
The Life They Shared
Neha’s life took a profound turn when she joined hands with Sandeep in marriage, embracing not only the man she loved but also his commitment to the nation. Her unwavering support was a testament to the strength and love that defined their union.
Living with Legacy
Post the tragedy that claimed her husband’s life, Neha Unnikrishnan chose to step away from the public gaze. Carrying the legacy of her husband’s heroism with quiet dignity.
Her life, much like the silent waters that run deep, reflects a fortitude that resonates with the spouses of military personnel everywhere.
As we honor Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s memory, we also recognize the enduring strength of his family, who continue to uphold his legacy of honor and courage. Their narrative is one of collective sacrifice and unwavering support for a loved one who became a national hero.
A Tribute Carved in Stone and Memory
In recognition of Major Unnikrishnan’s heroism, the city of Bangalore bestowed upon him posthumous honors. That is both a tribute and a tangible reminder of his selfless service to the nation.
The renaming of “Mother Dairy Double Road” to Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan Road. Serves as a perpetual reminder of his bravery, ensuring that his journey continues to inspire future generations.
The installation of his bust at a prominent junction in Bangalore serves as a beacon of his undying spirit and the ideals he stood for.
The Ashoka Chakra: A Symbol of Unparalleled Gallantry
India paid homage to Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan with its highest peacetime military decoration, the Ashoka Chakra. A symbol of the valor that he exemplified.
In a poignant ceremony, his mother received the award from President Pratibha Patil, a moment that underscored the nation’s gratitude and reverence for the courageous Major.
Major Unnikrishnan’s military career was distinguished by his involvement in several significant operations, including Operation Vijay and Operation Parakram. His life and career remain a source of motivation, reminding us of the profound courage and determination of the Indian Army.
A Nation’s Ongoing Tribute
Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s story is far more than a tale of military might. It is a narrative that continues to shape the nation’s character.
His sacrifice serves as a perpetual call to duty and honor for the citizens of India. A reminder that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance and valor. As the nation progresses, the memory of Major Unnikrishnan’s unwavering courage will forever be a guiding light for the path of patriotism and sacrifice.
Lessons Learned and the Path Forward
The Mumbai terror attacks have left a lasting impact on global security measures, intelligence sharing, and counter-terrorism strategies. They remind us of the necessity for vigilance, unity, and a collective stance against the forces of terror.
As we reflect on the past 15 years, the lessons learned from 26/11 continue to guide the global community in its unwavering fight against terrorism.
On the 15th anniversary of 26/11, the world stands in solidarity with Mumbai, remembering the lives lost and reaffirming the commitment to a peaceful, safer global community free from the scourge of terrorism.