Among other things on his checklist for participating in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (SCMM) on Sunday, major general Ian Cardozo, 74, has added a pair of white shorts.
Cardozo lost his left leg during the 1971 India-Pakistan War, and has a prosthetic limb in its place. “By exposing the metal bar under the shorts I want to make people aware of the efforts taken by the armed forces to protect the country,” said Cardozo, who along with 12 other soldiers from the War Wounded Foundation will participate in the Mumbai marathon for the second time.
“Last year, the city runners were insensitive towards our cause. The participants were too busy running their races, and did not care to stop by and ask,” added Cardozo, who will be participating in the senior citizens’ run.
Running beside Cardozo will be Havaldar Sethuram, 70, who also lost his right leg in the 1971 war. For Sethuram, supporting his family with his monthly pension has become an ordeal. “We need to raise awareness about the woes of war wounded soldiers in the country,” said Sethuram. “The marathon is a great chance to reach out to people. None of us are participating in the disabled category because we want to be a part of the mainstream,” he added.
Established in 2002, the Delhi-based foundation has helped turn war-wounded personnel into ‘soldier entrepreneurs’. “Nearly 30,000 war-wounded soldiers across India are surviving on meagre pensions. The foundation seeks to make them financially independent through jobs in the mainstream,” said lieutenant colonel Gulshan Kumar, 66, who will participate in the Dream Run.