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Bapoda village basks in Gen VK Singh’s glory
Raman Mohan/Tribune News Service

Bapoda (Bhiwani), January 23
This dusty obscure hamlet is suddenly basking in glory. A son of the soil, Lt-Gen Vijay Kumar Singh, has been designated as the next chief of the 1.3 million-strong Indian Army. The village has never had one of its residents rising to a similar position. Understandably, the villagers are celebrating in every way they know of.

Ever since the news came in, one can hear drumbeats every few minutes. Fresh “halwa” is served to every visitor, mostly mediapersons and residents of nearby villages, pouring in to congratulate the officer’s family.

You do not need to seek directions to Lt-Gen Vijay Singh’s modest ancestral house. Since last evening, visitors have been making a beeline for the house.

It is a pucca house renovated recently. When Vijay Kumar Singh was born here on May 10, 1951, the house was a kutcha structure. His grandfather - Mukh Ram - was also a soldier, who rose to the rank of Risaldar Major. His father Jagat Singh also joined the Army and retired as a Colonel. Vijay is the youngest of Jagat Singh’s three sons. He entered the National Defence Academy in 1966 after completing his schooling from Birla Public School, Pilani. He passed out of the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, where he also bagged a Gold medal.

Lt-Gen Vijay Singh has several relatives and friends in the village. Uday Singh, a childhood friend, remembers him as very affable gentleman cut out for the Army. He says Vijay Kumar often visits his village and talks to his fellow villagers in the local dialect. “Vijay has not forgotten his roots despite being away for almost four decades. He last came here a year ago. We expect him by the year-end,” he said.

Vijay Singh’s cousin Santosh Kumar works as a manager in Bhiwani Textile Mills at Bhiwani. He said Vijay evinced a lot of interest in several sports right from childhood though he later played basketball.

Another cousin Anup Singh Tanwar said he was doubly happy because his cousin made it to the top despite unnecessary controversies raised regarding Vijay Kumar Singh’s age in a bid to stall his promotion. “He deserved it and he has got it,” he added.

The villagers are planning to send a panchayat to Delhi before Vijay Kumar Singh receives the baton from General Deepak Kapur on March 31. “He needs our blessings,” explained an octogenarian villager. Another group of youngsters are planning a Diwali-like celebration on the day the son of the soil takes charge of the Indian Army.

VK Singh has his task cut out P 8



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