Saturday, December 18, 2010

Observance of Martyrs Day

Dear Friends,
I have been reading a lot on the observance of the Martyrs day or I would call such days as Remembrance/Memorial days. While fully appreciating the writings of one and all, especially those of Anant Bewoor and CP Joshi, I would like to add some more data and thoughts, in deciding to give a final shape to this issue.
I personally feel that the Indo-Pak War of 1947-48 (Oct 1947 Accession on 26 Oct 1947) and Sino –Indian War of 1962 (20 Oct – 20 Nov 1962), dates be excluded from observance of any day, because that was the time when in spite of the bravery displayed by our gallant soldiers, our heads were made to hang in shame at the humiliations suffered at the hands of the adversaries. In fact, these days should be totally forgotten from our memories all together, as far as observance of Remembrance days is concerned. The Indo-Pak War of 1947-48 did have some positives, leading to the signing of Accession Instrument on 26 October 1947, but that does not accord any significance to the forces efforts.
In the Indo-Pak War-1965, the honours have been considered as even though, tilting slightly towards Indian side. Except for the tales of bravery of a number of our war heroes, nothing significant exists, for according status of Remembrance day. Well, the Indo-Pak War-1971 (3-16 December 1971) has all the ingredients for being included as a Remembrance day, as under the able and inspiring leadership of Field Marshal SHFJ Manekshaw, India secured a great victory, and truly humiliated Pakistan by taking over 90,000 POWs, as well as ensuring birth of a new Nation, Bangla Desh. So, there is every reason for the Indian Armed Forces to observe or even celebrate 16 December as Victory Day or Vijay Diwas. If somehow we could link the name of our dear and most popular soldier, the Field Marshal, with this day, it would be most appropriate and ideal.
To commemorate Kargil War-1999 (May – Jul 1999), 26 July is already being observed as Kargil Vijay Diwas or Shahidi Diwas. We should not now meddle with it, and let it be observed as Kargil Vijay Diwas or Shahidi Diwas as heretofore.
Lastly, the Flag Day of 7 December could also remain as it is, as decided by the Indian Government in 1949. Yes, collection of Alms/Chanda could be discontinued. The Army, Navy and Air Force days could also continue to be observed as heretofore with their observance/celebrations be as decided by the respective Services Chiefs. Similarly, the arms' and services' days may also continue to be obsrved as heretofore.
I would request all readers to go through these views and give their counter or supporting views, so that the final decision could be taken at the appropriate level for implementation.
With Regards & Cheers to all.
Col LK Anand Retd


  1. Braves don't hang their heads in shame. Valour is something to be proud of. History is a fact. A real fact and not one to be 'deleted' by a ctrl+del as in a virtual world. No Sir, I don't at all agree with your logic. All, I repeat ALL, days / years of military actions are worthy of remembrance. There is no reason Sepoy/ General XYZ must not be remembered just because we lost the war/ fared badly, despite HIS efforts.

    With Warm Regards,
    Col RP Chaturvedi,

  2. Dear Chaturvedi,

    Thanks for your prompt and frank comments. You seem to have misunderstood the over all essence or substance of my write up.

    All the same, I very much appreciate your exuberance in allotting rememberance days for every soldier's or a General's martyrdom, though universally or nationally impracticable. Yet, respecting your observations and centiments I extend my apologies and withdraw the sentence (our heads were made to hang in shame at the humiliations suffered at the hands of the adversaries) and replace them with (because, they did not bring the desired glory to the Nation.)

    You may however comment on my suggestions on recommended days at Natinal level.

    With regards.

    Col LK Anand Retd

  3. Dear Anand,

    Thanks for your mail.

    This issue was discussed earlier I recall. My view then, as now, implicit in my earlier mail (each Soldier / General as you put it), is, that EACH war fought by us since independence, must be commemorated. Paying of homage, lectures in schools / institutes/ colleges/ clubs like Rotary, organized and delivered by veterans is a good format to have. Like we have so many festivals in India, so also if we have fought so many wars, each has its relevance and need to spread awareness about it to the citizenry.

    A start was made last year, by IESM initiating commemoration of valour, on Kargil Divas. It just so happened that by the time we got our act together, Kargil Divas, not having been celebrated for a decade was approaching. Unsung for a decade, we thought the valour of our heroes needed acknowledgement. Gaining confidence with the response and our ability, thoughts are now veering to expand the scope, by widening to other ops. Maybe 47-48 ops, 62 ops, 71 ops and 99 Kargil ops should logically be the next on our agenda,depending on the principle of 'make haste slowly'.

    Your contention about 71 war is correct. Of the ops, this was the most glittering. Aside from the reasons given by you, it was the FIRST EVER (yes, EVER), victory by India. It is the first and ONLY time that a nation has been created through use of external force, anywhere in the world. Also, the speed with which the ops were brought to a close, makes the WW 2 Blitzkreig look like slow traffic. And that too in riverine obstacle ridden terrain. Yes, there is much to commend this. Each war has itts signature, and this one should surely stand out for the orchestration of ALL elements of National Power...........from external affairs, finance, home and naturally of-course the military.

    Longer than I thought, but hopefully this answers your query on my views.

    With Warm Regards,

    Col RP Chaturvedi,

  4. Dear Col Chaturvedi,

    Although the subject under discussion is different, yet I do partially agree with your suggestions and contention, but it may be impracticable and unnecessary to commemorate each and every war in a bizarre manner before the public, lest they start losing interest in the gallantry and valour of Indian Army. Excess of anything is bad irrespective of what it is. Yes, to publicise it to a limited extent at the appropriate moments may be more apt to attract or impress the Indian population.

    However, I do strongly feel, that high as well as low points of each war, including some selected battles and individual acts of bravery or valour, must be described and discussed amongst the younger generation of our defence services, to include officers and men, to familiarise them with the nuances of operations as well as to motivate them and prepare them for future operations and wars with any potential enemy.

    Nice having your heart to heart views, and we may continue having more discussions in future as well.

    Incidentally, are you from Raj Rif and have served in 12 Inf Div in 1980s?

    With regards.

    Col LK Anand Retd

  5. Dear Col Anand,

    Thanks very much for your response. Yes, we must keep in touch, and would welcome your participation in the lectures etc in schools. Are YOU from Raj Rif?

    I am not. I am a gunner, Air OP and my travels in various appointments across the country has made me lots of friends, many from Raj Rif.

    Where are you located? Some weeks ago, I had mailed a proposal for a Veteran Volunteers Group, for, amongst other things, the education initiative mentioned above. Do I sense a volunteer in you?

    I am not on indianveterans, so the mails bounced, hence am not addressing this to them. Am even excluding Mil vets, since now our conversation is on a little more personal plane.

    With Warm Regards,
    Col RP Chaturvedi,


    1. The Nation States need symbols, icons, rallying force and unifying factors to motivate and draw the population in order to ensure that a dedicated and committed force is ready and available to sacrifice so that the trade routes are safe and borders are secure. So that the common citizens can go about their tasks unhindered and sleep well during night. So that the politicians, bureaucrats and champions of democracy and all cracies can debate all subjects under the sun tills cows come home. So that even

    Arundhati Roys and like can keep abusing the motherland but still eat drink and be merry.

    2. The importance of Jaikara, Nishan, Anthem, Flag, Uniform, Code of Honour, Do or Die are all in the same line. They are time tested tools and a Martyrs Day is also a must for a nation state whether the politicians, bureaucrats and so called champions of pseudo secular ethos like it or not.

    3. And why will they like it? It is not in their interest to let a unique remembrance day to be developed around which people can rally and pay homage to Armed Forces of the country. The nexus of corrupt business man, bureaucrat and politician want that they should be the centre of attraction all the times.

    4. The present Flag Day on 7th Dec is the official Remembrance Day for the fallen soldiers and the armed forces and their veterans. It has become distorted and fallen into a rut. Even the official site of DGR, Min of Def calls it a fund raising day to be CELEBRATED (sic) and allots the duty to RSB and DSB to organise collection of funds. The flags are sent to various Military fmns and units with targets fixed. The allotted money is invariably either collected from the rank and file (for their own coffins?) or supplemented from the regimental funds. The remaining bulk land in DSSBs where the staff goes with begging bowl to the RTOs or Dist adm for at least a small contribution so that IZAT may be saved. NO civilian willingly parts with even a Rupee if given a chance. And that is the end of Flag Day.

    5. It is desirable that a Solemn, Ceremonial & Unique symbol is chosen as a remembrance day in memory of the fallen soldier and the Armed Forces and its veterans. The following suggestions are offered-

    (a) “HUTATMA DAY” to be observed on 7th December each year in memory of the “Defence Forces, Veterans and the Fallen Soldiers.

    (b) It should include wreath laying, Prayers and observance of silence at war memorials and defence cemeteries across the country.

    (c) The ritual should be standardised as a military protocol to be observed across the country by civilians and military personnel alike.

    (d) No Parades should be held and No speeches should be delivered. No VIPs. No collection of coffin money

    (e) All schools across the country irrespective of their affiliations should observe this day as part of a NATIONAL CURRICULUM and follow the laid down protocol. This should be treated as a constitutional obligation.

    6. The protocol should be refined and defined under the guidance of ceremonial directorates of three services as a joint exercise. It should then be thrown open to the NATION for discussion and the VETERANs should make pressure groups to prepare ground for implementation through elected representatives.

    7. Pl add suggestions and develop methodology.

    Brig (Dr) C P Joshi

  7. Dear Sir,

    Your Noble thoughts are indeed commendable. Very aptly worded message.

    This war needs to be fought on all fronts.

    Presently, nothing of sorts can be achieved , no medicines would cure the cancer spread all around , till the Right Type of Leaders are brought in to lead from the front.

    This is a Formidable Task . Nevertheless has to be achieved

    Who can bring in Electoral Changes?.

    Who can successfully indoctrinate and educate that 75% and more population, uneducated & misled , the farmers and the rural folk, unknowingly responsible for the current mess?.

    Who can educate and direct the school children, from Primary Level , to understand the result of their actions after they turn 18, and the future that would be staring in their faces?

    And who can educate the uneducated women folk sleeping on empty stomachs, even after their bread earners end up working for 18 hours a day 6/365?.

    Who would tame the Police in each State?

    And so on and so forth .........!

    Whosoever , individually or as a group attempts, would be forthright rejected by masses misguided by those in power initially, given some nicknames as the likes of Anti Government, PWGs, etc to discourage such movements, ... Nevertheless, has to be achieved

    Also, Redefining our India to mean the whole of this Nation and not the Area encompassing say 40 to 50 miles around Delhi , fondly named as The Center. This Nation is made up of States and a few Union Territories.Where is the need of the Prime Minister, the President, when the Chief Ministers of each States are responsible for their areas and their people.. These Both as Head of the State , in different capacities , have not taken any responsibility for all the major mishaps culminating into the current mess right from 15 Jan 1947. onwards. Be it The Affairs of CWGs, Maharashtra Land Scam, wherein while travelling in the Air , we hear from the CEO that he is unaware and has learnt only from the News on the Channels . So on RETURN WOULD SEE.

    It does appear having strayed from the main theme, but as a Doctor, kindly treat this as a patient's poor eye sight being finally diagnosed to say, lesser production of insulin.

    Concluding we need , to start with a very small Group of the likes of Bhagat Shaheed Singh , who can put their hands on naked fire to take oath for loyalty to the Group and the Leadership. And then the Caravan would carry on swelling and nothing can stop the movement.

    With Warm Regards.


  8. Dear Friends,

    While I deeply respect and appreciate the sentiments expressed by Brig CP Joshi, Col RP Chaturvedi and VP Sachar, I also have the greatest of doubts, whether any wortwhile strategy or solution could now be evolved at the tragedy befallen on our country. It is very difficult, if not impossible to get majority of our honest population to get cracking on the indifferent, corrupt, unaccoutable, irresponsible and self serving National leaders, bureaucracy and sedition oriented personalities. Least we think and talk about them would be better.

    Incidentally, at the very first instance, I had my serious doubts on Hutatma Diwas, but due to preoccupation could not give my views. However, whatever I know of it, is that there is one Hutatma Chowk In Mumbai, created for felicitation of some Maharashtrian Personality, about whom I do not have the faintest of ideas. As far as I know or have heard, Hutatma Din or Diwas is observed in Mumbai or may be in whole of Maharashtra, sometimes in Oct or Nov each year. So, in my view there is no justification in duplicating this name, for the Defence Heroes.

    As suggested by me in my comments on this subject, I feel all the following three, or any one of these may be selected or nominated and rechristened as, whatever the majority feels:-

    (a)26 July - Kargil Vijay Diwas at places also termed as Kargil Shahidi Diwas

    (b)7 Dec - Flag Day or may be renamed as National War Heroes Day or Natinal Warriors Day

    (c)16 Dec -Victory Day or Vijay Diwas (Being the greatest victory for the Indian Army in 1971)

    I have kept a track on the most recent discussions on this issue, and am appending the whole of it, below (in different colours) for the benefit of interested veterans. So please go ahead and refresh yourselves, and form an opinion.

    Regards to all.

    Col LK Anand Retd