Bengaluru, Nov 3 (IANS) Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat would honour his two Kodava predecessors on Saturday in Karnataka’s Kodagu district, a defence official said.
“The army chief will pay homage to Indian army chiefs, Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa and General K.S. Thimayya by unveiling their statues at Cauvery College at Gonikoppal to inspire the students as martial race of Kodavas,” the official told IANS.
Cariappa was the first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Army and was conferred the Field Marshal rank on April 1986. He is also a recipient of the Order of the British Empire for his role in the Burma campaign against the Japanese during the Second World War.
Cariappa also led the forces on the western front during the 1947 India-Pakistan war. He is the first of the two officers to hold the five-star rank of Field Marshal, the other being S.H.F.J. ‘Sam’ Manekshaw.
Thimayya, who was Chief of Army Staff from 1957 to 1961, was the only Indian to command an infantry brigade in World War II.
“Our Army’s history is incomplete without knowing the valour of Kodava warriors like Cariappa and Thimayya who are commanded for their leadership and inspiration,” said the official.
Located in the southern part of the Western Ghats, around 240 km from Bengaluru, Kodagu has a sizeable population of war veterans and war widows.
The bronze statues are installed in the vicinity of the ‘Lyn House’, the ancestral house of Kodavdira family, to which both the Generals belonged to.
“The 7 feet, 6 inch tall statues were made at Bidadi (near Bengaluru) at a cost of Rs 17 lakh. It’s the only location in the country where statues of two Generals are installed at one place,” said the official.
Lt. Gen. R.K. Anand, General Officer Commanding, South India area, Major Gen. K.S. Nijjar, General Officer Commanding, Karnataka & Kerala Sub-Area and serving and retired Army officers will be present on the occasion along with their families.
The Army had set up over a decade ago the Field Marshal Cariappa-General Thimayya Forum with a view to helping Kodagu veteran soldiers and motivate the youth to join the armed services.
The Forum has been celebrating the birthdays of Carippa and Thimayya every year since 2007 at Madikeri in the same district where they were born.
Cariappa was born on January 28, 1899 and died May 15, 1993 at the age of 94 in Bengaluru, while Thimayya was born on March 30, 1906 and died on December 17, 1965 at the age of 59 in Cyprus.
“The Forum has converted Thimayya’s residence ‘Sunny Side’ at Madikeri as a museum and is building a war memorial in his honour. It will be unveiled next year” added the official.
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