Former Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has carved out a niche for himself in international cricket. From donning many avatars like ‘Captain Cool’ to Finishers par excellence, ‘Mahi’ has earned a special place in the hearts of Indian cricket fans.
However, it is not just the helicopter shot, electrifying stumping’s, supreme fitness and nerves of steel under pressure that make him a class apart, there is another element of his which makes him adorable.
It is a well-known fact that MS Dhoni is a die-hard fan of our defence forces who pay the ultimate sacrifice for guarding the borders of our beloved motherland.
Had it not been for him choosing cricket as a professional career, Dhoni would have donned the Olive Greens for his sheer love and respect for the armed forces.
Manu Singh, brand ambassador of India Australia cricket relations, touched upon a soft corner of Dhoni’s heart when he presented him with a picture of the 14th Sikh regiment of the British Indian Army which fought in the Battle of Gallipoli in 1915 during the First World War.
This gesture by Manu brought about much delight to Dhoni, who said that the picture would certainly be a treasured possession as he had read extensively about Battle of Gallipoli and the bravado displayed by the Indian soldiers through their acts of courage and bravery.
It is notable that MS Dhoni was given honorary commission into the Territorial Army and conferred with the rank of a Lieutenant Colonel in the 106 Battalion (TA), Parachute Regiment.
Getting commissioned into the Indian army was a dream realization for Dhoni who has expressed his fondness and admiration towards the defence forces in many of his interviews given to TV channels / media houses.
Battle of Galipolli
The Gallipoli Campaign or the Battle of Gallipoli was a campaign of the First World War that took place on the Gallipoli peninsula (Gelibolu in modern Turkey) in the Ottoman Empire between 17 February 1915 and 9 January 1916.
The campaign is often considered to be the beginning of Australian and New Zealand national consciousness; 25 April, the anniversary of the landings, is known as “Anzac Day”, the most significant commemoration of military casualties and veterans in the two countries.
Up to 15,000 Indians fought with allied troops at Gallipoli, but much hasn’t been recorded or documented about their contribution in the campaign. Hence most of these unsung war heroes went unrecognised in Australia and their homeland.
The Indian troops in Gallipoli comprised of Gurkha and Sikh battalions from India, and thousands of mule drivers who literally “moved” the British forces and their allies. But their vital contributions to the Gallipoli campaign haven’t got the due mention or credit.