For a population of 5,000, there are over 600 soldiers

For hearing exploits of soldiers on the war front, one must go to Mugaiyur village. The otherwise non-descript place tucked away in a corner of the Thirukkoilur block in Villupuram district is full of war veterans and serving defence personnel.

What is unique about the village is that the patriotic fervour and nationalism seem to be naturally running in the veins of the young and the old, and, men and women. It has acted as a trigger to inspire more and more residents of Mugaiyur to join the Army.

The village hogged the limelight when its “proud son of the soil” V. Anthony Nirmal Viji (31), a Lance Naik in Artillery 111 Rocket Regiment, was killed by terrorists at Jammu recently. By laying down his life, he has become the hero of the place and it is most likely that he would become part of the folklore too.

For a village with a population of about 5,000, there are no less than 600 soldiers. Some of them have tagged on the prefix ex-servicemen to their names for, they had served in the India-China war, the India-Pakistan war and the recent Kargil war.

Elevated ranks

A few of them occupied elevated ranks such as Captains and Junior Commissioned Officers. They are proud to be seen in their starched uniforms decorated with medals. They were seen strutting here and there, regulating the mourners who had turned up for the funeral of Viji.

Unlike in other mourning places the village looked different on the day the body arrived there. A. Lourdusamy and Irudhayanathan, ex-servicemen, told this correspondent that the village had the long tradition of swelling the ranks of the military from the days of World War II. Therefore, for generations, they were willingly joining the Army, with the fullest support of women.

The boys in turn got inspired by the elders, and from young age, they start equipping themselves for the task.

While the elderly persons had acquired remarkable brisk gait in their walks thanks to the strict regimen in the Army, the youths look like ramrods with erecting chest and bulging biceps.

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