In Gahmar, one of the country’s largest villages and where almost every household has members who have served or are serving in the Army, the enthusiasm is palpable on the eve of Independence Day with the tricolour hoisted atop every house.
In this ”village of soldiers”, hoisting the tricolour on Independence Day and Republic Day is a tradition and the government’s ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign this year has only added to the spirit of patriotism.
The central government has launched the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign under which people are being encouraged to hoist the tricolour at their houses to mark 75 years of India’s independence.
Villagers say soldiers from Gahmar have fought in wars from World War II to Kargil conflict. Pictures and medals of soldiers adorn shelves in most houses of Gahmar.
Village head Balwant Singh estimates that Gahmar has given 20,000 soldiers to the country so far. Currently, about 5,000 villagers are working in different positions in the Army, he said.
Gahmar has a population of about 1.25 lakh.
”The spirit of patriotism resides in the heart of every family living here. Ours is a village of soldiers. You will definitely find a soldier in almost every house here. Many members of most families are serving in the Army,” Balwant Singh told PTI.
”Though Independence Day is celebrated every year in Gahmar village, this time special preparations are being made to mark 75 years of independence. People of the village have also joined the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign,” he said.
The tricolour has been hoisted atop every house in the village and the administration is also doing its bit to make the campaign a success, he added.
Ishwar Chandra, a social worker, said the spirit of patriotism gripped the village after many of its soldiers laid down their lives in World War II.
Multiple generations of some families have been associated with the Army, he said.
One such family is that of Lt. Col Ram Bachan Singh (retd.) who took part in the 1971 India-Pakistan war.
Three generations of Ram Bachan’s family have served in the Army. His son Ashok is currently serving in the Army.
Gahmar even has a training ground to help those who wish to join the Army prepare for it.
Village youths have arranged all the necessary equipment for running and exercise in a ground near a river bank and they train every morning and evening, social worker Chandra said.
The ground resembles an Army training unit, he said, adding that it has a running track and various other facilities needed for rigorous training for Army recruitment.
Chandra said youths of the village are inspired by their elders and also get preference in Army recruitment as children of ex-servicemen.
But due to youngsters focusing on training for military recruitment instead of pursuing higher education, hardly a dozen people from the village have made it to officer ranks, he said.