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Army on a PR drive in Mumbai
Shruti L Mathur in Mumbai |
November 13, 2003 16:30 IST
Last Updated: November 13, 2003 20:29 IST
Normally, Mumbai's Shivaji Park is packed with people playing cricket. But this weekend it is filled with tanks, artillery weapons, guns and ambulances.
It is all part of the Indian Army's 'Know Your Army' exhibition from Thursday until Sunday.
The army said the purpose of the exhibition is to create awareness about its might and way of life.
"Basically, we are here to close whatever gaps people have," Lieutenant Colonel A K Garg, who takes care of any problems that occur at the event, said.
"Once the common man has gone around, it will instil some confidence."
People lined up around the perimeter of the park, which was surrounded by rolls of barbed wire usually used to keep enemies at bay during a conflict, waiting for the gates to open. Once inside, they climbed onto tanks, sat inside field vans, touched bullets and mines and learned more about army life.
"We should know what the army goes through," said Pooja Gawde of Goregaon, who brought her children. "You don't go to the border and see these things, so you should see it."
It was nice to look at stuff one usually sees only in films, she said. "When you see them firing a gun [on film], it looks so easy," she said, "but you see it is difficult when you come here."
"The weapon now looks so simple, but it's not so simple when it's in someone's hands," said an army jawan in the 'weapons seized from J&K' stall.
For Padma Bopardikar, a teacher at Dilkush Special School in Juhu, the exhibition was a learning experience for her mentally handicapped children. "They've been talking about the Kargil War [in school]," she said. "We thought it would be good for them to see it; you learn differently when you actually experience it."
Though the army said the event was not for recruitment, they had one booth set up with recruiting material.
Jayshree Nair, 19, said she and her friends were thinking of joining the army after graduation to "give meaning to our lives". "I want to do something for our country."
She said the exhibition helped them learn more about the age and education requirements for women to join the army.
Siddharth Bhandare of south Mumbai also came to learn more about joining the army. "I wanted to know how they live and how they use the equipment," he said, clutching an army brochure in his hands. "After looking at all this, I want to be part of the army force or navy because I want to do something for our country. Everyone should do something."