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Major General Cyrus Addie Pithawalla, is a retired General Officer of the Indian army. He was awarded India’s highest peacetime decoration for gallantry, the Ashok Chakra, in 1981.
Cyrus Pithawalla, born in Bangalore on 13th January, 1957 and took his education from the Air Force School, Delhi. After completing his degrees in Commerce from Delhi University, he was placed as a Second Lieutenant on a short-service commission in the 17th battalion, Jammu and Kashmir Rifles on 1st September, 1979. On 1st September 1984, he received a permanent commission as a lieutenant.
On 1st August 2008, Pithawalla became the first nominee to receive either the Param Vir Chakra or the Ashoka Chakra to become the one-star rank of Brigadier. Being promoted to the rank of Major General on 20th January 2013, who was the first Ashoka Chakra recipient to attain the rank of a general officer in a Two-star rank. As a major general, he was posted as the General Officer Commanding (GOC) in the Andhra Sub Area.
In his 35-years of career, he held various instructional, staff and command positions across India. Moreover, he served as a Military observer in Cambodia as part of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia mission. He also served as the Deputy Commander of an Infantry Brigade Group in the UN Mission at the Democratic Republic of Congo.
SECOND LIEUTENANT CYRUS ADDIE PITHAWALLA
On 6th July, 1981, 2/Lt Cyrus Addie Pithwalla while in command of a Company Column of 17 JAK Rifles was instructed to cordon and search area Tekcham in Manipur and to apprehend insurgents who were reported to be present there.
2/Lt Pithawalla guided his men through marshy and difficult terrain for over 7 kilometres. When he was about 200 metres away from the Tekcham Hill, he confronted fire from the militants. Regardless to his personal safety, the officer attacked on the militants with lightning speed. When he was just 50 metres away from the area, he noticed a militant who was trying to escape. Instead of shooting the individual dead, he decided to arrest him alive. While nearing the fleeing militant, 2/Lt Pithawalla got injured in the right shoulder by a gun shot.
Althoug being serious injured, he personally took the responsibilty and arrest the militant who turned out to be one Bisheshwar Singh, the foremost leader of the PLA. In spite of his serious condition, he denied to be move out and continued to guide his men in a combing operation till 6.00 a.m. the next morning. These operations ended with the death of seven militants and accused of a very huge quantity of arms and ammunition. 2/Lt Cyrus Addie Pithawalla showed bravery of the highest order, extraordinary and inspiring leadership and was awarded the Ashok Chakra.