PRO Raj Bhavan, Chennai, 21 May 23. The Hon’ble Governor of Tamil Nadu in his address, said, today Raj Bhavan is honoured and blessed by felicitating and honouring the veterans, veer naris and gallantry awardees. The contributions of a soldier are yet to be adequately appreciated by the country. Ever since civilization came into existence, the virtue and need of soldiers have been appreciated. Tirukkural has said a lot about valour and the need of strong military. A country and its people can lead a happy, secure, and prosperous life only when the land is strongly protected by the forces. One of the ancient Indian texts, Shukraniti, says that without a strong military, there is no country, no wealth, and no prosperity. A strong country with a strong military, you have friends around, and if you are weak, you are surrounded by enemies. A strong military is not only a guardian of security but also a guardian of a nation’s pride and honour.  

The Hon’ble Governor said that when a soldier joins the forces, it is not just a job but his true commitment with utmost dedication to serve and submit himself to the Nation for its security, safety, and honour. In times of conflict and war, we get behind the military, but in times of peace, we lack the sense of appreciation of what a soldier has been doing all through his or her life.

The Hon’ble Governor said that Ex-Servicemen is not an appropriate word to address the Ex-soldiers. A soldier is disciplined in a way that is committed to Desh Bhakti. In our country, Desa Bakti and Deiva Bakti are inseparable. A soldier with this decision and dedication joins the military; just because he retires from active service, he doesn’t cease to be a soldier. Wherever that soldier goes after his or her service to the military, even if society has not been giving it due recognition, the soldier doesn’t give up. A soldier, after retiring from the service, wherever he lives, if he sees anything wrong, he will not keep quiet. Therefore, even after retirement from active service, he remains a priceless asset to the nation. It is the responsibility of society to be conscious of it. Unfortunately, that level of consciousness is not there, and we have to create it. Since the beginning of my coming here to Tamil Nadu, whenever I visit places, meeting Servicemen has been a priority, invariably, try to listen to them. It is not only to address and try to address their issues, but it is also to give message to the rest of the administration and society that a soldier who retired from the service is our precious asset and we must not forget or ignore them.

Initially, when I got to know and made enquiries that the Government has not released the fund, and as a result, hospitals have not gotten their dues cleared, so hospitals are reluctant to treat our retired soldiers and families. This seems to be a perennial problem. I met Raksha Mantri (Hon’ble Defence Minister) and requested him, and that point of time they had released some money, but it has to be addressed in a very systematic manner, so that the problem doesn’t arise. It has to be resolved, and I will try to do that. There must be decent support, which should permit and make it possible for a soldier and his or her family to live a dignified life. Some issues that are raised today, I am somewhat aware of them. I will take it forward and have meetings with the concerned. I will try my best.

About our soldiers who made ultimate sacrifices for the Nations, I have floated an idea and am still pursuing it: in the village from which he came, in the near schools, can we place a photograph of that soldier, and on his day of martyrdom, an event expressing gratitude to him can be organised in his honour. In such a function, the village should also participate. A brief biography of the hero, about the war and the situation in which he fought, has to be put up. The village will be proud of the soldier who sacrificed his life, and the students see the photograph every day in their school and feel proud of the martyred soldier. We need to immortalise all those who sacrificed their lives in service of the nation doesn’t die.

The Hon’ble Governor of Tamil Nadu said that Tamil Nadu has a strength of more than two lakh Ex-soldiers and war widows. One of the suggestions that I make when I meet Ex-Servicemen and their families at districts is to create a social media group in a particular area. You need to come together and be united as one family through a digitalized forum for coming together as a family, as a Kutumbam. Which can be used for resolving issues during situations of distress and need, even during times of celebration. First, the voice will be heard, and second, it will create critical mass to create greater awareness in society. This can bring positive changes to society and the nation. Let us appreciate our own strength and come together. I also would like to thank all those who are directly or indirectly associated with adding their might to this positive force.

The Hon’ble Governor of Tamil Nadu mentioned that Tamil Nadu has been high in nationalism and patriotism and has always been at the forefront of national defence, even in the National Freedom Movement. When I came to Tamil Nadu and wanted to know the number of freedom fighters from Tamil Nadu, the number was not even in the 40’s. Today, more freedom fighters from Tamil Nadu have been identified, and the number has grown from the 40’s to more than 1000. As a matter of gratitude, we have identified 100 unsung heroes, and our enthusiastic young scholars are doing the researchs, dedicating one year to it. It will continue, and more unsung heroes will be identified. This land is not only the spiritual capital of India but also a single state that has given the largest number of freedom fighters who ignited and carried forward the freedom movement for independence.

Vels Institute of Science Technology and Advanced Studies (VISTAS) handed over the offer letter of Ten free Higher Education seats for Ex-Servicemen family in their Institutions to Hon’ble Governor of Tamil Nadu. Dr. M.G.R. Educational and Research Institute, Chennai has also signed MoU offering Ten free Higher Education seats for Ex- Servicemen family in their Institutions in Arts and Science stream.

On this occasion, Hon’ble Governor of Tamil Nadu felicitated the War Veterans – Air Vice Marshal S.Swaminathan, Col. Ganesan, Major.Natarajan (F/O of Lt. Parthiban,Kirti Chakra), Warrant Officer Balathandayuthan, Veer Naris – Tmt. Shobha Sudhakar, (w/o Maj Sudhakar Madhavan) , Tmt. Vedavalli Vinayak, (W/O of Major Vinayak Seetharaman), Tmt. E. Kumari, (w/o late Regiment Havildar Major (RHM) Ekambaram), Tmt. Vanathidevi, (w/o Havildar Palani Vir Chakra Awardee), Indian National Army – A.Magesh, Netaji Nav Bhatah Foundation, NGO Projects – Husky Injection Molding Systems , Dr.T.K. Lakshmi, Founder Mastermind foundation and Tmt. Archana Mahesh, Founder and Director Sri Gyana Mudhra Acadamy and Bharatanatyam artistes.