Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, AC (15 March 1977 – 28 November 2008) served as an officer of the Indian Army in the 51 Special Action Group of the National Security Guards while on deputation. As a result of the Mumbai attacks in November 2008, he was martyred in action. On 26 January 2009, he was awarded the Ashoka Chakra, India’s highest peacetime gallantry award.
It is believed that Sandeep Unnikrishnan comes from a Malayali family residing in Bangalore, where they had relocated from Kozhikode, Kerala. His father was retired ISRO officer K. Unnikrishnan and his mother was Dhanalakshmi Unnikrishnan. In 1995, Unnikrishnan graduated from The Frank Anthony Public School in Bangalore with a degree in ISC Science. Since he was a child, he had the desire to join the armed forces. His wife was Neha.
Sandeep Unnikrishnan Bio/Wiki
The table below reveals concise information about Sandeep Unnikrishnan. It gives you the ability to read through the Indian army officer’s profile as fast as possible.
|Nickname/ Popular Name
|31 Years (at the time of death)
|Sun Sign/Zodiac Sign
|Date of Birth
|15 March 1977 (Tuesday)
|Date of Death
|28 November 2008 (aged 31)
|Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
|During his battle against terrorists at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan lost his life. He was shot by terrorists, resulting in fatal injuries to his body. In a pool of blood with several bullet wounds, his body was discovered the following day.
|Watching Movies, Horse Riding, Swimming
|K. Unnikrishnan (retired ISRO officer)
Marital Status, Wife and Children
|Neha Unnikrishnan (m. 2008)
|The Frank Anthony Public School, Bangalore
|National Defence Academy, Pune
|Years of service
|51 SAG, NSG, 7 Bihar, Bihar Regiment
|• Operation Vijay
• Operation Parakram
• Operation Rakshak
• Operation Black Tornado
|• Ashoka Chakra
• Operation Parakram Medal
• Special Service Medal
• Sainya Seva Medal
• High Altitude Service Medal
• 9 Years Long Service Medal
Height, Weight, and Figure Measurements
|in centimeters- 188 cm
in meters- 1.88 m
in feet inches- 6'2"
|in kilograms- 85 kg
in pounds- 187 lbs
Extra Ordinary Features
|Race / Ethnicity
|Fruits and Veg
|Favorite Pet Animal
|Favorite Cell Phone/Brand
Sandeep Unnikrishnan Family – Parents, Wife, And Children
Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s father’s name is K. Unnikrishnan and his mother’s name is Dhanalakshmi Unnikrishnan. K. Unnikrishnan is a retired officer of the Indian Space Research Organization. Originally from Kozhikode, Kerala, Sandeep Unnikrishnan was born into a Malayali family that had relocated to Bangalore. His parents had only one son, Sandeep Unnikrishnan; he did not have any siblings.
Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan has always harbored the desire to join the military since he was a child. He attended Bangalore’s Frank Anthony Public School for 14 years before graduating in the Science stream in 1995. As well as participating in school activities, he excelled in athletic competitions. Additionally, he participated in the school choir and enjoyed watching movies.
It is Neha Unnikrishnan who is the wife of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan. During their fourteen years at Bangalore’s Frank Anthony Public School, Neha and Sandeep became friends for the first time. Sandeep and Neha were married in 2008.
Neha Unnikrishnan provided Sandeep with a great deal of support up until his death. In recognition of his sacrifice for the nation, he received the Ashoka Chakra Award from the Indian government. His wife was awarded that distinction by former President Pratibha Patil.
Sandeep Unnikrishnan Military Career
In 1995, Unnikrishnan joined the National Defence Academy (India) (NDA), Pune, Maharashtra. He was a member of the Oscar Squadron (No. 4 Battalion) and graduated from the 94th Course NDA with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
He was a member of the 104th regular course at the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun. His graduation from IMA took place on 12 June 1999, and he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the 7th Battalion of the Bihar Regiment (Infantry) of the Indian Army.
He was regarded positively at the forward posts during Operation Vijay in July 1999, despite heavy artillery fire and small arms fire from Pakistani troops. He led a team of six soldiers in establishing a post 200 meters from the opposing side under direct observation and fire on 31 December 1999.
On 12 June 2003, Unnikrishnan was promoted to captain, followed by a promotion to major on 13 June 2005. During the ‘Ghatak course’ (at the Infantry Wing Commando School, Belgaum), he earned an Instructor’s grade and a Commendation.
Additionally, he received training at the High Altitude Warfare School in Gulmarg. A member of the National Security Guards, he served in different locations including Siachen, Jammu, Kashmir, Gujarat (during the 2002 Gujarat Riots), Hyderabad, and Rajasthan. After completing his training, he was assigned to the 51 Special Action Group (51 SAG) of the NSG in January 2007 and also participated in various NSG operations.
Sandeep Unnikrishnan Last Moments And Words
Several buildings in South Mumbai were attacked on the night of 26 November 2008. The iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel was one of the buildings where hostages were held. Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan led 51 Special Action Groups (51 SAG) deployed in the hotel to rescue the hostages.
Sandeep Unnikrishnan was required to report for duty in Mumbai on 27 November 2008. One of the iconic buildings of Mumbai, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, was attacked on 26 November 2008.
He led a team of NSG commandos tasked with rescuing all the hostages from the hotel and clearing the area for further procedures. One of Sandeep’s colleagues, Sunil Kumar Yadav, was shot in both legs as the terrorists rushed through a room in search of the hostages.
As a result, Sandeep made arrangements for the evacuation of his colleague Sunil Kumar Yadav, and he decided to pursue the terrorists on his own.
Sandeep followed the terrorists’ tracks to another floor of the hotel, where he was caught off guard and shot in the back. His death was caused by blood loss caused by multiple injuries and bullet wounds. He was last heard saying the following words, according to the NSG officials:
“Do not come up, I will handle them,”
As the search operation for hostages was still underway, and the terrorists were trapped in the building, the news of his death was shared after a day. As soon as the targets were neutralized and the hostages were saved, the news spread.
“Sandeep Unnikrishnan Amar Rahe” (“May the name of Sandeep Unnikrishnan be eternal”) was chanted at Unnikrishnan’s funeral. Thousands of people lined up outside his house in Bangalore to pay their respects.
The funeral was conducted with full military honors.
The Ashoka Chakra was presented to Sandeep’s mother by President Pratibha Patil on 26 January 2009.
According to the official Ashoka Chakra Award citation:
IC-58660 MAJOR SANDEEP UNNIKRISHNAN BIHAR REGIMENT/51 SPECIAL ACTION GROUP (POSTHUMOUS)
During the commando operation launched on 27th November 2008 to flush out terrorists from Hotel Taj Mahal, Mumbai, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan rescued fourteen hostages.
He and his team came under intense hostile fire during the operation, which resulted in the death of one of his team members. As a result of accurate fire from Major Sandeep, the terrorists were pinned down and the injured commando was rescued. During this process, he was shot in the right arm. In spite of his injuries, he continued to fight terrorists until the very end.
The late Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan displayed exemplary bravery, camaraderie, and leadership, making the supreme sacrifice for his country.
Honor And Legacy
- In honor of him, the Mother Dairy Double Road in Yelahanka New Town, Bengaluru, which runs from Federal-Mogul on Doddaballapur Road to MS Palya intersection, has been renamed Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan Road.
- An equestrian bust of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan has been erected at the Ramamurthy Nagar Outer Ring Road intersection in Bangalore.
- A bust of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan stands at the entrance to the Indian Education Society on Jogeshwari Vikhroli Link Road in Mumbai.
- Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s bust is located in Whitefield, Bangalore, in the center of an army housing complex called Sandeep Vihar.
Facts About Sandeep Unnikrishnan
- Throughout his school years, Sandeep had a simple crew cut, and he expressed an interest in joining the Indian Army. Sandeep joined the National Defence Academy in 1995 after completing his education at The Frank Anthony Public School. On 12 June 1999, he was commissioned into the 7th Battalion of the Bihar Regiment (infantry).
- Sandeep served in the Kargil War of 1999. Standing at the forward posts with his team, he faced heavy artillery and small arms fire from Pakistani troops. Later, in December 1999, he was able to establish a post just 200 meters away from the opposing side.
- Pratibha Patil, the President of India, presented the Ashoka Chakra to Sandeep’s mother on 26 January 2009. This is the official citation for the Ashoka Chakra award:
- In addition to being Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s uncle, K Mohanan shared a very close relationship with him. In February 2011, his uncle committed suicide by setting himself on fire in front of Parliament. As soon as medical help reached them, his body had burned at 98%, and when treatment began, he suffered a heart attack and was unable to survive. In a suicide note, he stated the following:
- There was nothing that administrators and representatives of political parties could do to help the victims of the 26/11 attack. Was it in fact a war between two nations? Did the government’s decision following the Kandahar incident contribute to the Mumbai attack? You are forgotten every day, Sandu mon (Sandeep Unnikrishnan). But I cannot forget you.”
- In response to the 26/11 attacks, many filmmakers created films, including Ram Gopal Varma’s ‘The Attacks of 26/11’ (2013) and ZEE5’s ‘Operation Black Tornado’ (2018).
- Sony Pictures Entertainment registered two titles with the producers association in 2020 entitled “Major” and “Major Sandeep” for a biopic on the life of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan. Mahesh Babu produced the film, and Adivi Sesh played the lead role of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan. In 2021, the movie is scheduled to be released.
- Before principal photography began, the cast and crew met with Sandeep’s parents to convince them that the crew intended to make a film in his memory. Before working on the film, the producers and actors required the consent of Sandeep’s parents. In response to the media ruckus, many filmmakers contacted them. Sandeep’s mother told me that she could see her son in me and I promised myself I would treat them like my own parents for the rest of my life, regardless of whether we made the film or not. I was so overwhelmed that I embraced her for a long time.”
In 2008, Neha Unnikrishnan married Sandeep Unnikrishnan. Although Neha was upset by Sandeep’s death, she remains thankful that he was able to save many lives during the attack. There is no information on the internet about her or where she lives, and she is living a happy life somewhere.
Probably the last words Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan told his men as he was hit by bullets while engaging terrorists inside the Taj Mahal were “Do not come up, I will handle them.” During the 26/11 attacks, Major Unnikrishnan died from his injuries on 28th November at the age of 31.
Major, an action-adventure film, is inspired by the true story of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, the hero of Mumbai’s Taj Mahal hotel siege on 26/11/2008.
He was 31 years old.
An Appreciation Note For Your Consideration
Thank you for reading this engaging article about the life journey of the Indian Army Officer. Hopefully, Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s childhood story has made you believe that patience and persistence can overcome anything.
At WoodGram, we strive for fairness and accuracy in our biographies. Feel free to contact us or leave a comment below if you found anything fishy in the article on Sandeep Unnikrishnan.