Devbrat Patnaik

Berhampur: Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. At a time when the entire nation paid homage to the martyrs today, OTV took a stride forward to show gratitude and honour to the jawans of Odisha's Kamalapur. This village under Rangeilunda block in Ganjam district has given birth to many bravehearts, some of whom have dedicated their entire life serving the nation and some laid their lives in the line of duty in Kalinga and China wars.

Retired Army personnel M Gopinath Rao of Kamalapur is a proud father of two sons- M Keshab and M Krishna, as both of them followed in his footsteps to script a story for the nation. His younger son Krishna lost his life during the Kargil War in 1998.

At the entrance of the village, a statue of Krishna has been installed as a mark of tribute to him that reminds his tale of bravery. He may not be present with his people physically, but his mother M Parvati has preserved Krishna's last signature.  

“My husband was in Army. My two sons also joined Army. My younger son was killed in Kargil War at a very young age,” says Parvati.

There is one more family which has inspired many to take up the Armed Forces as a career. Havildar A Gobinda Rao of the same village was killed during a battle with the terrorists in Srinagar in 1996, but his wife M Bhanumati was courageous enough to let their son join the Army to fulfil the dreams of his father.

“My husband was killed in the line of duty but before he died, he killed many terrorists. I received a telegram but it was hard to believe that he was no more,” said Bhanumati.

Narrating the stories of achievement, the retired men here have also founded an 'Ex-Servicemen Welfare Committee' to train the youths of the area.

Retired Jawan A Babu Rao said, “We are four brothers. Our elder brother Gobinda was killed in Srinagar during a terrorist operation. We three were also in the Army. After we retired, both my sons joined the Army and it feels really proud.”

“We provide basic military training to the youths to inculcate a sense of patriotism. They will serve the nation and won’t even think twice to die for the nation. Those who are economically backward, those who face difficulty in studying outside mostly take up Army as a career. We urge them to inspire others to join the Armed Forces,” said A Purushottam, President of the Ex-Servicemen Committee.

These families certainly inspire billions!