Khairair (UP): This nondescript village, which does not have a proper road or school, was engulfed in sorrow and shock after one of its sons was beheaded by Pakistani soldiers, but things may change soon.
The visit of high-profile leaders, including Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and BJP leaders Nitin Gadkari and Sushma Swaraj, saw the administration going into overdrive to build a helipad, a road and change a defunct transformer.
The village, also known as Sher Nagar (Town of Lions), is situated 160 km from Delhi and 50 km from Mathura.
Before politicians visited this village to meet the family of martyred soldier Hemraj in the past one week, the approach road to it was filled with mud and inaccessible.
According to villagers, an electricity transformer was lying defunct for months, leaving the village in the dark, and even Hemraj`s last rites took place under the headlights of Army and civilian vehicles.
But all this changed last Sunday when the administration went into overdrive to build a makeshift approach road by dumping dry soil on the muddy road using heavy earth movers, a helipad was built near the village and the electricity transformer too was changed, said Draupal Singh, uncle of Hemraj`s wife.
Situated near the bank of Yamuna river, the village has a very fertile land and most of the villagers engage in agriculture for livelihood. Even Hemraj`s brothers Puran and Jai Singh are farmers.
As the village does not have a school, children have to go to Chaatha on foot or by bicycle to study.
Most children here feel they have been deprived of even the most basic facilities and want to join Army as they think it is the only way of redemption.
"Hemraj bhaiya laid his life for the nation. Now, see everybody is talking about him, our village has been thronged by media persons, politicians and other high ranking police and administrative officials. We didn`t have any proper road, electricity etc before this.
"I think the only way I can get a better life and make my mark is by following him and joining the armed forces," said 14-year-old Rajveer, who goes to Chaatha to study.
Looking for better education facilities for his children -- Nirmala (7), Prince (5) and Kallo (3) -- Hemraj had got a house built in nearby Chaatha where his wife could stay with their kids so that they can go to school, his relatives said.
The respect and love for Army can be gauged by the fact that even after losing their son and husband, Hemraj`s mother Meena and wife Dharamvati want to send another son to the armed forces.
"We are proud of Hemraj and we would send Prince in the Army to take revenge from the soldiers of Pakistan," Hemraj`s mother and wife had told reporters after his last rites on Wednesday.