KARNATAKA: If anyone wants to find love for the armed forces and respect for soldiers in the country, Kodagu is a place they must visit.
Since the Second World War, Kodagu district has been known for sending people to serve in the armed forces and its contribution to the country's defence forces has arguably been the highest.
It has given the country patriots like Field Marshal Kodendera Madappa Cariappa, Kodendera Subayya Thimayya, Air Marshal Cheppudira D Subbia, Lt General Apparanda Aiyappa, Air Marshal K C Nanda, Major M C Muthanna and Brigadier P T Monappa.
In Madikeri, the district headquarter, every other road or traffic circle is named after the heroes from Kodagu.
Last Thursday, it named one more circle after one of its heroes, Major M C Muthanna. This became the fourth traffic junction in the city that was named after a hero.
Those who join the armed forces from say it was the martial race they belong to and the hunting habit that needed bravery that egged them on.
During the 1950s and till the 1980s, each family had up to 14 children and many of them volunteered to the army.
The recruitment process was also easier to crack then than it is now.
Now, with families becoming smaller in size, the number of soldiers from the district has also gone down. Other career options like information technology, etc. has further reduced the interest in the armed forces.
Remembered with names
The Sudershan Circle in Madikeri has been renamed after Field Marshal K M Cariappa.
It also has a lifesize statue of the field marshal, who was the first CommanderInChief of the Indian Armed Forces. In his memory, the army observes Army Day on January 15 every year.
The statue was inaugurated on January 28, 1996, by the then Army Chief Shanker Roy Chowdhary. To commemorate his services, the Indian Postal Service released a postage stamp, valued `2, on his name on January 15, 1995.
Then there is the General Thimmaiah Circle, which was earlier known as the Toll Gate. It was named after General K S Thimmaiah, the second chief of the Indian Army.
Thimmaiah is known as one of the best generals of the World who emerged from the Indian Army. He was also known for his service when the Indian army sent peacekeeping forces to Turkey. He died in Turkey.
His statue at the circle was inaugurated by Field Marshal Manek Shaw on March 20, 1973.
Both Cariappa and Thimmaiah belonged to the same ethnic group (Kodava) and came from the same lineage (Okka) - Kodendera. And the district prides itself because they both reached the topmost position in the Indian Army.
To mark the birth centenary of General Thimmaiah on April 7, 2006, a special First Day cover was released in Cyprus, where he worked as the commander of the Peace Keeping Forces.
The Squadron Leader A B Devaiah Circle came up after he disappeared during the war between India and Pakistan in 1965 and was honored with the Mahaveer Charka posthumously.
The family members of Devaiah decided to name the Private Bus Stand Circle after him and the change was effected with the help of the district administration and the city municipal council in September 2010.
The family has also decided to install a bust of Devaiah at the place soon.
Major Mangerira Muthanna, who made supreme sacrifice for the country on January 12, 2000, while fighting with terrorists of LashkerEToiba in Ananthnag, Jammu and Kashmir, also hailed from the district. He was awarded with the Showrya Chakra posthumously and to commemorate him, Kodagu named the municipal circle after him on December 9.
In Khanbal district of Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian Army named a road, a recreation hall and a school after Major Muthanna.
Madikeri also has a war memorial to remember the soldiers and officers who died fighting in the Second World War. The British Government set up the memorial in 1947.
On every December 7, the Indian Army observes the Armed Forces Flag Day in their memory.