Madikeri: It is a historic day in Madikeri today where the renovated ‘Sunny Side,’ the residence of General Kodandera S. Thimayya was dedicated to the nation on the occasion of his 112th birth anniversary.
It is at this house that Thimayya was born to Kodandera Subbaiah and Cheppudira Seethavva couple on Mar.31, 1906. He went on to become the Chief of Army Staff from 1957 to 1961 in the crucial years leading up to the conflict with China in 1962.
‘Sunny Side’ has been renovated and the project was sanctioned in 2013 with a budget of Rs.5 crore. Earlier, the office of RTO was functioning from the General’s house. The building has been handed over to the Kannada and Culture Department.
It may be recalled here that it has been a long-pending demand from the people and ex-servicemen from Kodagu for a befitting Memorial to General Thimayya. They argue that the delay in taking up the Memorial works was tantamount to insult to the great General.
The Memorial now features an exhibition of Gen. Thimayya’s achievements and ‘Himmat,’ a battle tanker that was used in the Indo-Pak war of 1971. The Museum has replicas and photos of fighter jets used then and other war collections. A park, an Amar Jawan War Memorial has also been established.
The renovation has been done without damaging or altering the original structure. The Memorial, the museum was dedicated to the nation by Vice Admiral (PVSM) (AVSM) A.R. Karve of the Southern Command.
A recipient of Padma Bhushan for Civil Service, Gen. Thimayya took over the reins of the Indian Army as the sixth Chief of Army Staff on May 7, 1957. He resigned his post in 1959 over a dispute with V.K. Krishna Menon, the then Minister of Defence who was accused of safeguarding his personal interests at the cost of the Army and the nation.
Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru refused to accept Gen. Thimayya’s resignation and persuaded him into withdrawing it. However, little action was taken on Thimayya’s recommendations and he continued as the Army Chief till his retirement on May 7, 1961, completing 35 years of distinguished military service. He retired from the Army in 1961, almost 15 months before the Chinese invasion of India in November 1962. Gen. Thimayya died on Dec.18, 1965.