Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Valour is their forte

The Hindu 27 January 2011, by G. Nagaraja
It is a legacy to respond to the call of duty in defence of the motherland that is handed down from generation to generation in this village.

DESERVING HONOUR: The memorial built in commemoration of war heroes killed in World War I and II at Military Madhavaram in West Godavari district.

MILITARY MADHAVARAM (W.G. DT.): The very prefix of this nondescript village, 12 km from Tadepalligudem in West Godavari district, speaks volumes about its key role in the armed forces.

The term ‘military' has become a household name in the village. The imposing war memorial built in commemoration of the ‘sons of the soil' who laid down their lives in the World War I and II in the heart of the village generates an indomitable spirit of bravery that wafts through the ambience.

It is a legacy to respond to the call of duty in defence of the motherland that is handed down from generation to generation in this village. Take the case of 78-year-old Vempali Markhendeyulu for instance.

He joined the military and served the country from 1960-87, drawing inspiration from his grandfather Vempali Venkatachalam Subedar Bahadur, who served in the British army in World War I. “My elder son is an ex-serviceman and my grandson joined the Army recently,” says Markhendeyulu with a sense of pride.

Markhendeyulu fought in the China War in 1962, Indo-Pak war in 1965 and in the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971. Jamedar Bandaru Venkata Satyanarayana (90), the lone survivor among all those who took part in World War II from the village recalls, “The British conducted an army recruitment camp in our village in the run up to World War II and I got selected in that camp.” He served the country on the Burma and China borders, besides fighting in the World War II from 1940 to 1942. As per inscriptions on the war memorial, 90 persons from the village fought in the World War I and 1,110 in the World War II. Eleven personnel were killed in World War II. According to Markandeyulu, the village with a population of 10,000 has 2,400 ex-servicemen and 1,200 serving the military in different capacities. There are 68 in-service men in the village who retired in the rank of ‘Subedar'.

Minister to visit
Impressed by the lofty history of the village, Union Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju is planning to visit it on February 6 for an interaction with the ‘patriots.'
Patriotism: Valour is their forte

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