Colonel Santosh Yashwant Mahadik was born on 15th January 1977 in Pogarwadi in the city of Satara in Maharashtra. Son of a dairy farmer, Shri Madhukar Ramchandra Ghorpade and Smt Kalinda, he grew up under the care of his maternal grandparents.
He joined IMA Dehradun as part of 103-Regular Course and passed out as a 2nd Lieutenant in December 1998 at the age of 21 years. After passing out, he volunteered for the Para Special Forces and after grueling probation period, gained entry into 21 Para(SF) unit.
In the year 2001, he as a Captain was awarded his first gallantry award, “Sena Medal” for ‘Operation Santo’ in Lolab valley of Kashmir. Col Santosh Mahadik as Commanding Officer of the 41 Rashtriya Rifles was engaged in anti-terrorist operations in the militancy infected Kupwara area of J & K. Col Mahadik was a leader par excellence and always led from the front.
On 17th November 2015, an operation was launched, led by Col Mahadik himself, to foil the attempt of the terrorists to infiltrate. During the combing operation the suspected infiltrators were spotted and on being challenged they opened fire at the troops.
A fierce gun battle ensued with heavy exchange of fire from both sides. During the operation Col Mahadik got shot in the chest and was critically injured. The injured Col Mahadik was carried down the hill by one of the soldiers to a place near the roadhead. Evacuation by air was not possible as Manigah area was located in a narrow valley.
Gravely wounded, he was driven to 168 Military Hospital in Drugmulla, just off Sopore-Kupwara highway. From there he was airlifted to the Army’s Base Hospital in Srinagar, but he succumbed to his injuries on the way. Col Mahadik attained veergati but his bravery, indomitable spirit, and leadership were truly inspirational. Col Santosh Yashwant Mahadik was awarded the gallantry award, “Shaurya Chakra” for his extraordinary courage, leadership and supreme sacrifice.