BRAVEHEART Capt Ashok Krishnarao Karkare, Vir Chakra


  Penned down By his Elder Brother, Capt. Arun Karkare of Merchant Marine

IC21909 -35LT REGT,

This brave heart was born on 30th June 1942 in Wardha, Maharashtra. Ashok was the third child blessed to the parents Krishnarao & Sumati Karkare. As the luck could have it, exactly a year later father Krishnarao joined the then Royal Indian Air Force (RIAF) in search of a better life for himself and the family. Ashok brought new job for his father and a better life for his siblings Sheela and Arun too. Things were on the move for all concerned. The family moved to Delhi as Flight lieutenant Karkare was posted at Air Head Quarters there.

Unfortunately, as child of 2 yrs age Ashok was struck by a rare bone disease then known as “RICKETS”. This bone- softening disease in children is due to failure of the body to maintain adequate level of calcium and phosphorus and this resulted in the hampering of the normal growth of baby Ashok to a point that it was evident that Ashok would not make it to a normal expected height as a youth. There was neither timely quality medical help nor remedy available to Ashok. As the days flew past, Ashok overcame this disadvantage. But the destiny had a different plan in place to use this physical adversity. Ashok excelled in field games such as football, hockey and relay race during his school days in Delhi and London and later in his college in Gurgoan.

Ashok attended School in London as his father was now posted as Assistant Air Attaché at the Indian Embassy in Paris –France. This experience was God sent as he blossomed into a smart young boy. On return to India at the age of 15yrs he continued his education but now a strong attraction to serve in any of the three armed services took charge of his mind. Men in uniform simply fascinated his tender mind with desire to join Army. But his father alerted him about his height disadvantage as it was below the Army standards! Ashok was sad and disappointed indeed.

Now destiny unfolded its plan for him. In 1962 Indo-China war took place. Indian Army needed urgent recruitment of officers. It opened up Officer’s Training School (OTS) at Chennai to train emergency commissioned offices. Ashok applied for it. He was in 2nd year BA-degree course then. He kept it as a well guarded secret. No one got the wind of it at home! He cleared all the prerequisite tests except the final interview followed by medical fitness test. He had to disclose now about his application to join Army to his parents as he prepared to leave for the final rendezvous with his destiny so to say.

At the interview the miracle happened. A Major General heading the interview team said “Mr Ashok Karkare, Are you not aware of the height requirement for joining Army?”

Representative Image of Army Interview

Ashok was ready with his make or break answer and said

“ I am well aware of it but please note that being short I will be perhaps last one to die in bullet fire from enemy thus holding the ground till the end for my beloved nation !” His words stunned the entire interview board. They clapped and said “we need people like you. You are selected “.

Rest is history. Ashok fought like a lion in 1971 war and proved every word he said in the board room. He brought glory to his nation, family and to himself. JAI HIND.

e-mail ; [email protected] contact no. 9820129389.

Also See:
The Citation:

Online Memorial:

Foot Note:

Metro city channel held a special function to honour Capt .Ashok Karkare, VirChakra winner, at Taj Santacruz hotel, Mumbai, with union minister Ramdas Athavle as chief guest. A documentary film has been made on Capt Ashok that was shown on the occassion. Special momentous were given to us too . Ashok and CDS Rawat were in the same frame on the Stage. God is kind indeed. Arun Karkare


Manohar Khushalani

Prof. Manohar Khushalani is a former Visiting Faculty at Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi. The courses he taught were: Animation & Graphics, Non-Linear Editing for Film and Radio and Theatre Appreciation.  He has won a total of nine Excellence in Teaching awards for all the courses he has taught at IIITD Earlier he retired from Government of India as Director Environment Management, Central Water Commission and held many senior positions in the Government Based on a Belief that Culture and Environment are the two keys to global sustainability , Manohar Khushalani has launched two portals: A Portal on Environment and Water called One Vorld at url: and two Ezines on Culture called Stage Buzz at url: He has taught extensively in varied subjects such as Dam Safety, Instrumentation, CAD, IT, Animation, Theatre, Newspaper Editing. He has conducted Courses on Environment Management, Water Shed Development, Team Building and Personality Development. He is an Expert Member of Prasar Bharti’s Committee for Grading & Short listing Films for Telecast on all channels of Doordarshan.  He is a Radio Anchor for All India Radio and has moderated several programs for the Rajdhani Channel He is a well-known Theatre Actor/Director and Critic, has been involved in theatre since 1977. He has worked as an actor in over 50 plays with almost every leading director/Actor in the Country including Badal Sircar, Feisal Alkazi, Amal Allana, M.K. Raina, Anuradha Kapoor, Maya Rao, Manohar Singh, Prasanna, Rati Bartholomew and Sushmita Mukherji. He has been active in the social sector as a street theatre activist. As a member of Workshop Theatre, Theatre Union and Prayog, Khushalani has participated in street plays taking up major social issues such as dowry, bride burning, Sati, banned medicinal drugs and communalism. Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist and Can’t Pay Won’t Pay, both directed by him, received rave notices from critics and audiences alike. Other plays directed by him include Badal Sircar’s, Sagina Mahato and Boris Vian’s Empire Builders for Ruchika Theatre Group. Khushalani has also acted in a few films such as Sudhir Mishra's Hazaron Khwaishen Aisi , Shoojit Sircar’s Madras Café and Pradeep Krishan's Annie Gives Those Ones. He is an Animator & Graphics Designer and has directed a number of documentaries. He also held a number of Honorary positions and was President of North India Films Association, He was the Chairman of  Jury for UGC CEC Educational Films Competition and has been on their Preview Committee since last many years. He was on the preview committee of Door Darshan Channel 3, was a visiting Professor at National School of Drama, New Delhi, and Film & Television Institute of India, Pune, AJKMCRR, Jamia Milia Islamia and Professor in Media at FICT, Delhi  He has judged a large number of Drama Competitions and conducted a number of Theatre / Management Games Workshops with Institutions such as AIIMS, NTPC, CWPRS, NWA, Karve Nari Prakshishan Sansthan, FICT, IIT, MAMC, Gargi College, KNC, Tagore International School and Vivekananda School. He is a Theatre Critic for IIC Diary, has also been a Columnist with Midday and Pioneer Daily and wrote Column's Called Culture Cocktail and Footlights Respectively. He was also the Guest Editor for an issue on Folk Theatre of ICCR Journal Horizons. He has written for Times of Indian, Hindustan Times, Blitz, Hard News, Hindu Business Line, Theatre India & Art Times. He has designed dams and hydraulic structures for the Government. He is a programmer and has developed Engineering design software in Fortran. He is a co-author of Irrigation Practice & Design (Vol 1 to5 - 1500 pages) published by Oxford & IBH and sponsored by National Book Trust. He has been a Director, Environment and Sociology, at the National Water Academy, Khadakwasla and Director, Environment Management Directorate, Central Water Commission and Member Secretary, National Environmental Monitoring Committee for River Valley Projects. He was also Director of Instrumentation Directorate in the Dam Safety Organisation. He was Chief General Manager and Head of Water Resources at Scott Wilson and is an accredited consultant with numerous other organizations He is a Delhi Public School, BITS Pilani, IIT Delhi and FTI Pune Alumini. He was also the President of BITS Pilani Alumni Association, Pune.

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