101-year-old Ex-serviceman has ‘unusual visitor’ in city
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101-year-old Ex-serviceman has ‘unusual visitor’ in city

February 9, 2023

M.K. Veeraraj Urs, retired Duffedar of 61st Cavalry Regiment, Jaipur, Rajasthan, greeted by incumbent Commandant Col. Rohit Dagar

Mysore/Mysuru: The 101-year-old lone surviving Ex-serviceman of his time of 61st Cavalry Regiment, Jaipur, Rajasthan, had an unusual visitor in the City of Palaces Mysuru on Wednesday evening.  

M.K. Veeraraj Urs, a Mysurean residing at LIG 99, CITB House, Kuvempunagar in the city is that Ex-serviceman, who was excited to receive the incumbent Commandant of 61st Cavalry Regiment, Jaipur, Rajasthan, Col. Rohit Dagar, at the doorsteps of his house, with a childlike enthusiasm, rarely seen among his peers.

Col. Dagar, who had heard about Veeraraj Urs from Brigadier Arupendu Gupta (of Grenadiers Regiment, presently posted in Bhopal Selection Centre), drove all the way to Mysuru from Bengaluru, where he (Col. Dagar) is currently on a visit to oversee the selections for forthcoming Asian Games.

Col. Dagar presented a miniature idol of the horse to Veeraraj Urs (who retired as Duffedar from 61st Cavalry after serving for 22 years from 1940 to 1962), denoting the Cavalry unit, that opened a flood of memories with the ‘oldest and the new member of the Cavalry’ exchanging a gamut of information in Hindi.

Col. Rohit Dagar, who presented a miniature idol of the horse to M.K. Veeraraj Urs in Mysuru yesterday, seen with (from left) Col. (Retd.) Bhanuprakash, Urs’ daughter-in-law Pushpa Nagaraj, son-in-law L.N. Sridhar, son M.V. Nagaraj, Urs’ wife B. Nagarathna, daughters M.V. Srimathi and M.V. Vasantha and son-in-law M.S. Srikantaraje Urs.

This interaction made for an interesting watch, with the Urs’ family members including M. K. Veeraraj Urs wife, 91-year-old B. Nagarathna, eldest son Nagaraj and his wife Pushpa, daughters M. V. Vasantha and M.V. Srimathi,  sons-in-law L. N. Sridhar and M. S. Srikantaraje Urs and their relative Col. (Retd.) Bhanuprakash lending their ears curiously.

Like a horse that gallops before taking a leap at the pull of the reins, for nearly an hour, Veeraraj Urs let his memory do the talk, that even left the visiting Commandant spellbound, in awe of the former.

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As Col. Dagar jotted down some of the important points, Veeraraj Urs with a twinkle in his eyes recalled the name of his then Commandant of 61st  Cavalry Col. Bhopal Singh, the platoons that came along with Mysore Lancer (which along with other lancers — Jodhpur, Patiala and Jamnagar and Gwalior) were merged and made into 61st  Cavalry) to Jaipur and the practice sessions then including jumping, tent pegging and the horses he (Veeraraj Urs) rode and trainings he conducted for several aspirants including foreigners.

Veeraraj Urs had his favourite horse named ‘Gowri’ and has kept a memorabilia in her remembrance, that he has still preserved as a show piece that adorns the hall of his house.

M.K. Veeraraj Urs explains about the self-made memorabilia from the hair of his favourite horse’s tail, to Col. Rohit Dagar, as his wife B. Nagarathna looks on.

The memorabilia is a bunch of hair from the same horse tail (of Gowri) and showed how it was the privilege of superior officers in the cavalry to use the refurbished hair of the horse tail fixed to a stick as a fan.

As Col. Dagar mentioned the name of another horse ‘Prithviraj’ a jumper, Veeraraj Urs pat recalled how even then Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru was impressed to see the horse in action.

As Col. Dagar kindled the memories associated with the cavalry, Veeraraj Urs was insisting his family members to pull out an array of black and white photographs from the album, going down the memory lane.

Dagar told Star of Mysore, “It’s a rare privilege and that is precisely why I made it a point to call on Veeraraj Urs, after learning about him.”

Veeraraj Urs, who described the moment as Godsend at his rickety age said, “I am really humbled and what more can I ask for,” showing the three medals pinned to his coat as a gesture of pride.


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