Banaskantha (Guj): Age has not deterred a
112-year-old former foot tracker in the army from showing his
support to Anna Hazare`s campaign.
Ranchhod Desai from Limbala village in Vav, who served
the army during the 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan, says he
wants to join Hazare`s indefinite fast.
"Anna is doing a great job to set the country free from
the clutches of corrupt people. I wish I could join him,"
However, considering his age, Desai, known as the `Old War
Camel` by the people of the area, has been advised not to
fast. Nonetheless, the veteran not only observed a one-day
fast, but has also been offering prayers for Hazare`s success
daily since the agitation began at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi.
"Anna is an ex-army man, who fought the 1965 Indo-Pak
War. I pray to Goddess to shower her blessing on this noble
son (Anna) of the country fighting for the second freedom
fight," Desai said and also appealed to the youths of his
village to join Hazare.
"He wanted to join Hazare. But we have persuaded him not
to do so, as his health will not permit. He agreed and
observed fast for one day," said Desai`s nephew Babba Desai,
former sarpanch of Limbala village.
"He is the last of the professional trackers who played a
crucial role in leading the army into Pakistan during the 1965
and 1971 wars," Babba said.
District collector J B Vora said, "He is not only revered
in his village, but also across the district."
Affectionately called as Ranchhod Bappa, the centenarian
is still active and regularly visits the village temple.
Though his hearing and vision may have weakened with age,
his memory is still sharp and he can recall many incidents of
the two wars, his nephew said.