Serving members of India’s Armed Forces and war veterans took part in ‘Swarnim Vijay Run’, an event held by the Indian Army Headquarters Dakshin Bharat Area. The run was held as a part of the year-long celebration of 50th anniversary year of victory in the 1971 Indo-Pak war. The historic military victory is being celebrated with much fanfare all across the country as ‘Swarnim Vijay Varsh’ (Golden Jubilee Year of Victory).
Over 700 participants from across age groups ran the under three distance categories – 2km, 5 km and 10 km. The event was also graced by various civil dignitaries including Rajeev Ranjan, IAS, Chief Secretary TN and AS Rajan, Special Director, Intelligence Bureau.
Col A Krishnaswamy, Vir Chakra, (Retd), a war hero of the 1971 Indo-Pak War flagged off the run, which also saw the participation of war veterans, most of whom are now nearing eighty years of age.
Seeing the Young children, spouse of serving officers enthusiastically taking part in the run, he said that the recognition for war heroes was a great feeling, adding that the blessings of the seniors were with the younger generations to bring more laurels to the country and its Armed Forces.
Captain Chitrapu, who had served in the Army in Jammu and Kashmir during the 1971 war, was the senior-most runner, he was aged 76 and had been running for over two decades, despite a shrapnel wound in his leg. After completing his 5K run almost on par with the youth, he gladly said that he would see them all at the next marathon.
S Ramalingam, who retired as a Sergeant from the Air Force recalled his 1971 experience of being bombarded from the Air by Pakistani aircraft, while at the Srinagar Airbase. He said that the air warriors at the base had to fight from trenches to escape the bombardment and flying shrapnel.
He also recalled the heroic act of Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Sekhon, who took off amid heavy bombing of the runway and engaged six Pakistani fighter aircraft and downed two of them, before making the supreme sacrifice.
Speaking at the event, Lt Gen A Arun, General Officer Commanding-Dakshin Bharat Area recognized the efforts of the forces and their families during the war. Lt Gen Arun also emphasized that the city would witness grand celebrations and formal felicitations of war heroes when the ‘Flame of Glory’ or ‘Swarnim Vijay Mashal’ reaches the city sometime in June this year.
War Veterans from the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Veer Naris (Martyr’s wife) were also formally recognized and their immense contributions were shared with the gathering.