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Post-26/11, no of jawans enlisting in state doubles

Post-26/11, no of jawans enlisting in state doubles

Author: Kartikeya
Publication: The Times of India
Date: November 30, 2009

Until now, we have seen candle-light vigils and peace marches, debates and prayer meetings. But there has been another response to the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai that has gone largely unnoticed. And it has come not from the educated, well-to-do elite visible in the media but from every nook and corner of Maharashtra.

Since 2007, and especially in the wake of 26/11, the number of persons volunteering to serve in the armed forces to defend the country has doubled in Maharashtra. While there were a little more than 2,000 recruits in 2007, over 5,000 have already enlisted till November this year. These numbers relate not to officers but what the defence forces call personnel below officers' rank (PBOR).

Simply put, they are the ordinary jawans or foot soldiers who form the fighting mainstay of our country. These recruits have come from both rural and urban areas of Maharashtra and their social background can be gauged from the fact that they do not possess the educational and other qualifications to seek service as officers.

The volunteers have been lining up at selection centres in Aurangabad, Kolhapur, Nagpur, Lonavla, Pune and Mumbai. As a result, recruitment from the state to all three wings of the defence forces-the army, navy and air force-have shown a significant jump this year. In fact, in 2009, Maharashtra sent the second-largest number of PBORs to the Indian army.

Following the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai, there was a surge of patriotism across the country. After watching images of military commandos fighting terrorists, several young men expressed a desire to don the army's olive green uniform. Thus, states such as Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have also shown an increase in fresh recruits to the defence forces, but nowhere have the numbers gone up as significantly as in Maharashtra.

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