The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Keepers trek the wreck route
Army mela, Maidan site

After the marauders of the Maidan, it's the turn of its custodians to trample the greens.

Three afternoons after the massive CPM rally bruised and burnt Brigade Parade Grounds ' and even before the Maidan has got back its breath ' the army has descended on the greens to set up stalls for a three-day-exhibition, starting January 13.

Covering a vast expanse of the Maidan, the exhibition offers a 'unique opportunity to civilians' to take a closer look at various military equipment and how they work, in the run-up to Republic Day.

Wednesday afternoon saw plenty of action on the Maidan ' not to clean or preserve it, but to sully and ravage it further. And this time, the guardians of the green had turned its tormentors.

Army jeeps and trucks trundled in with alarming regularity, as the men in fatigues got busy pulling down piles of folding chairs, large cooking utensils, ceramic pans for the toilets, flower pots, tables, giant umbrellas, markers like 'VIP' and 'Male Toilets' and even carpets.

Some set up tents while others drilled iron rods deep into the city's lungs. After all, a huge stage was to be set up with steel girders. 'This is the same equipment we use to build bridges,' declared one of the commandants.

And what is the exhibition' 'Every year, people turn up in hordes to catch a glimpse of the army's show of strength at the Republic Day parade. At this exhibition, civilians will get an even better glimpse of how the army works,' said a senior officer of the 4th Gorkha Regiment.

But why on the Maidan' 'What better place than this huge ground to set up such a wonderful exhibition' was the prompt retort.

A few yards away, heavy iron pegs were being hammered into the tender greens to pitch a large tent. 'This is such a beautiful ground and I guess nowhere can one enjoy the warmth of the sun better than here,' smiled a member of the Maratha Regiment.

Back from a stint in Kargil, the young jawan couldn't spot how the beautiful ground was bleeding. Yet again.

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