Call of duty: How Haryana punches above its weight in the Army

Haryana—more famous now as India’s mine for Olympic medals, thanks to its fabled pehelwans (wrestlers), boxers and shooters—boasts of another tradition—sending men to the Indian Army | Image - Prathap Ravishankar

For a young Mahender Singh Joon of Haryana’s Jhajjar district it wasn’t surprising that his father used to describe military service as ‘family tradition’. Their family history goes all the way back to ancestors who fought both the World Wars I and II.

“Every generation since has served in the Indian Army,” says Joon, the fourth-generation in his family to serve in the Army. Now in his mid-70s, the retired colonel served the Indian Army for nearly 30 years.

His two sons, too, joined the Army before taking voluntary retirement a few years back.

Haryana—more famous now as India’s mine for Olympic medals, thanks to its fabled pehelwans (wrestlers), boxers and shooters—boasts of another tradition. Almost every family has at least one member who has served the Indian Army.

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