NEW DELHI: The Amar Jawan Jyoti or the “eternal Flame” for Soldiers at India Gate was put out after 50 years, merging with the torch at the National War Memorial in a ceremony today.
The merger triggered a huge controversy in the country, with several Army veterans, in support of the BJP, and Opposition leaders coming to blows with each other.
“It was an odd thing to see that the flame at Amar Jawan Jyoti payed homage to the martyrs of the 1971 & other wars but none of their names are present there. The names inscribed on the India Gate are of only some martyrs who fought for the British in the World War 1 & the Anglo Afghan War & thus is a symbol of our colonial past.The names of all Indian martyrs from all the wars, including 1971 and wars before and after it are housed at the National War Memorial. Hence it is a true homage, to have the flame paying tribute to martyrs there. It is ironic that people who did not make a National War Memorial for 7 decades are now making a hue and cry when a permanent and fitting tribute is being made to our martyrs,” said a government official.
However, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi wasn’t convinced . He wrote on Twitter and said, “It is a matter of sadness that the immortal flame that used to burn in honour of our brave soldiers will be extinguished today. Some people cannot understand patriotism and sacrifice, never mind. We will once again light the Amar Jawan Jyoti for our soldiers”.
बहुत दुख की बात है कि हमारे वीर जवानों के लिए जो अमर ज्योति जलती थी, उसे आज बुझा दिया जाएगा।
कुछ लोग देशप्रेम व बलिदान नहीं समझ सकते- कोई बात नहीं…
हम अपने सैनिकों के लिए अमर जवान ज्योति एक बार फिर जलाएँगे!
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) January 21, 2022
Shashi Tharoor also took to twitter saying that “This government has no respect for democratic tradition & established convention, whether in parliament or out of it. The sanctity acquired after fifty years of the Amar Jawan Jyoti is being lightly snuffed out.”
This government has no respect for democratic tradition & established convention, whether in parliament or out of it. The sanctity acquired after fifty years of the Amar Jawan Jyoti is being lightly snuffed out:https://t.co/d918XjfntF So everything must be reinvented post-2014?!
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) January 21, 2022
Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi also said that she is sad and anguished and asked, “why can’t we keep both?”
Eternal Flame will be Extinguished Flame for sometime. How many more ideas & monuments we hold dear need to be reworked to make way for a ‘New India’?
Sad & Anguished. #AmarJawanJyoti
PS : Spare me gyaan on merging it with another flame at War Memorial. Why can’t we keep both?
— Priyanka Chaturvedi🇮🇳 (@priyankac19) January 21, 2022
Army veteran Lt Gen Satish Dua took to Twitter and said that, “It gives me great satisfaction that the eternal flame of Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate is being merged with the National War Memorial. As someone who had steered the design selection & construction of NWM, I’d been of this view all along. India Gate is a memorial to the fallen heroes of the First World War. The Amar Jawan Jyoti was added in 1972 as we did not have another memorial. The National War Memorial pays homage to the fallen Bravehearts after Independence. All Homage Ceremonies had shifted to NWM already.”
MERGING OF ETERNAL FLAME.
It gives me great satisfaction that the eternal flame of Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate is being merged with the National War Memorial(NWM). As someone who had steered the design selection & construction of NWM, I'd been of this view all along… +
— Lt Gen Satish Dua🇮🇳 (@TheSatishDua) January 21, 2022
The National War Memorial (NWM), where the flame of Amar Jawan Jyoti will be merged spans over 40 acres. It was built in 2019 at a cost of over Rs 176 crore and was inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi in 2019.
The memorial includes six bronze murals depicting the famous battles fought by the Indian Army, Air Force and the Navy in the Veerta chakra. The flame at the memorial is positioned below the central chakra. There are four chakras — Amar Chakra, Veerta Chakra, Tyag Chakra and the Rakshak Chakra with the names of 25,942 soldiers inscribed on granite tablets in golden letters.
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