SALEM: The end of the life journey of N Thirumurugan, the CRPF constable who died in the Monday mayhem in Sukma, was not accidental but was the result of his conscious response to the highest call of the country. From being born in a nondescript drought-torn Nallur-Thitatheri village in Salem district to being slain in the Maoist massacre in another far-flung corner of the country in Chhattisgarh, he is indeed an unsung hero.
As the martyr’s loved ones wept in sorrow, surrounded by relatives and fellow villagers, his father, Nallathambi, who could not rise above his raw humanity, told the intrusive mediapersons, “Last month, when he was here, I told him to retire as he had served long enough to become eligible for lifelong pension. But he refused saying it was a bit early and that he still had a lot to do in the service of the country.”
Born to Nallathambi and Ponammal on June 20, 1981, Thirumurgan grew up in hard circumstances. Nallathambi, who owns 1.5 acres, practices rainfed farming and works for daily wages. Ponnammal also used to work on farms to supplement the family income as the couple had to raise two more sons.
Thirumurgan had revealed his inner spark during schooling and passed the higher secondary examinations with good marks. He got admission in Vivekanada College, Chennai, and Nallathambi and Ponnammal took up work in Chennai to support him. Before he completed graduation, Thirumurgan was selected to the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
“It was not an easy decision for us to let him go at that age. We educated him with dreams that with him the family’s deprivations would end. Our son cheered us by saying he was going to serve the country and that it should make us proud,” said Nallathambi. On August 7, 2000, he joined the CRPF as a constable.
Thirumurugan’s wife Selvi lives in Vellalore, Coimbatore, with their three children, Preetha (11), Priyadharshini (10) and Sreeharan (5). “He was quite cheerful when he spoke to me last – on Sunday night. He said he was coming next month for the housewarming of our new house we were building in Coimbatore,” said Selvi, who is numbed by shock and still cannot believe that he is no more.
“He was very duty conscious. Despite being a loving husband and father, he would not hesitate to keep his scheduled return to his station after his holidays,” she said.
Nallur-Thittatheri, the village in the shadow of the Pachamalai Hills in Gengavalli taluk, had high-profile visitors on Tuesday. MPs, MLAs, Collector and top officials arrived to pay homage to the martyr. In the emotional farewell, the villagers seemed torn between grief and pride in the son of their soil.