Dare devilry: Don't try this at home

Army Mela dominated by stand-out demonstrations; repeat show today at 11 am, 3.30 pm

Dare devilry: Don't try this at home

Cheers of schoolchildren and the general public echoed throughout the Torch Light Parade Grounds, Bannimantap, here, on Saturday, on the opening day of two-day ‘Know Your Army Mela’. There were rarely any dull moments. The crowd was at the edge of the seats, in an extravaganza that lasted a good hour and a half.

From the moment the equestrian display began till the exhibition of biking skills by the ‘Tornadoes’ of Army Supply Corps (ASC) Centre, South, for a crowd, mostly NCC cadets and school and college students, it was sheer excitement.

Performance by the military bands, Kalaripayattu by Madras Regiment and Mallakamba by Maratha Light Infantry personnel were among the stand-out performances due to their complexity and risks involved.

Tornadoes

“Don’t try this at home”, advised the commentator when the 350cc Royal Enfield bikes of ASC Centre, South, led by Major S S Rathore entered the grounds. Tornadoes were true to their name, displaying stunts and skills requiring pin point accuracies and years of dedicated practise.

Tornadoes, renowned for their Guinness and Limca records, had a host of tricks up their sleeves. ‘Scissor crossing’ was the riskiest, with bikes whizzing past each other in the shape of a scissor at 60 kilometres an hour. The team received a thunderous applause from the crowd after a few stunts.

The Combat Slithering Demo by para commandoes, known as ‘red devils’, was a display of lightening speed and precision. A total of nine commandoes were agile in sliding down from the Advanced Landing Hepts (helicopter). In their acrobatic and lightning fast demonstration, the commandoes proved how they can descend for an operation anytime, anywhere.

Kalaripayattu and Mallakamba too did not disappoint the audience. The most memorable moment was Urumi Payattu, when one soldier demonstrated how to escape an attack from a group of swordsmen, with the help of a flexible sword. Other demonstrations were Cheruvadi Payyattu (fight with small staff), Kattram (dagger fight), Randuvadiveeshel (swirling a 12-feet staff with considerable speed), etc. In Mallakamba too, some unique formations were demonstrated. Lotus, windmill, padmasan and pyramid formation on Mallakamba was well received by the packed audience.

Arms and ammunition

Following the awe-inspiring display by armymen, static stalls established on the Grounds was inaugurated by Lt Gen V K Pillai, General Officer Commanding, Andhra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala area.

The major attraction at the exhibition was a 41.5 tonne tank, T-72. With a three-man crew, it can cruise at 60 kmph on highways, while managing a cool 35-45 kmph on cross country terrain.

Bailey bridge construction equipment and Medium Girder Bridge showed how these tools can build bridges anywhere for armymen and their machines to reach difficult terrains.

A 105 mm Light Field Gun, 23mm Anti Aircraft Gun with a firing rate of 1,600 to 2,000 rounds per minute apart from grenade launchers and machine guns attracted a large number of audience.

The spectacle of the armed forces, aimed at acquainting people about the establishment, will conclude on Sunday. Chief minister Siddaramaiah is expected to witness the demonstrations and exhibition, followed by felicitation to ‘Veer Naris’, on the day.

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