Recently, in a historic move, the flame of the Amar Jawan Jyoti at the India Gate in Delhi was merged with the eternal flame at the National War Memorial, which is 400 meters away on the other side of India Gate.
About Amar Jawan Jyoti:
- Amar Jawan Jyoti is an Indian memorial conceptualised and constructed after the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 and inaugurated on 26 January 1972.
- It was the national war memorial in India until February 2019, when the new National War Memorial and its own immortal flame was inaugurated and lit.
- On 21 January 2022, the older flame was merged with the newer one at National War Memorial.
- The old Amar Jawan Jyoti consists/ed of a marble pedestal on which a cenotaph was situated.
- “Amar Jawan” (Immortal Soldier) was scripted in gold on all four sides of the cenotaph and on top, a reversed rifle with a war helmet on top.
- The pedestal was bound by four urns.
- On observances the flames were lit accordingly. It was constructed in a short timeframe as per Prime Minister Indira Gandhi wishes.
- A new flame was installed at the National War Memorial to honour all known martyrs of the Indian Armed Forces of independent India.
- It was completed in February 2019 and inaugurated by Narendra Modi on 25 February with the igniting of the flame.
- The old flame was merged with this new one by Integrated Defence Staff chief Air Marshal Balabhadhra Radha Krishna
- India Gate was designed by Edwin Lutyens and unveiled in 1931.
- Traffic and parades would pass through the monument. Vehicular movement under the arch was restricted in the 1950s.
- Amar Jawan Jyoti was added under India Gate following the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. The war, which lasted from 3 to 16 December 1971, and ended with the Fall of Dhaka, was part of the liberation war in East Pakistan.
- On 26 January 1972, the twenty-third Republic Day of India, the monument was officially inaugurated by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
- This short timeframe for setting up a memorial to honour those of who fought only the previous month was as per Indira Gandhi’s wishes.
- Author Vedica Kants has written in her 2014 book “India and the First World War” that the location of Amar Jawan Jyoti under the arch of India Gate rewrote the symbolic intention of India Gate.
- For many years after Independence, there was no clear cut policy on war memorials.
- In 1973, the military top brass observed that memorials to commemorate war related events and martyrs were being constructed across the country without any coordination.
- These memorials were often left untended and were not constructed with much commemorative or architectural thought
- There are at least 150 war memorials in the country.However, as the national war memorial construction was delayed, individual structures continued to be built.[
- The construction of a National War Memorial started in 2017 and was inaugurated in 2020.
The National War Memorial-
- It was built in the India Gate complex by the Union government and was inaugurated in 2019.
- It was built to commemorate all the soldiers who have laid down their lives in the various battles, wars, operations and conflicts of Independent India.
- There are many independent memorials for such soldiers, but no memorial existed commemorating them all at the national level.
- It has the names of all the Indian defence personnel who have lost their lives in different operations from the 1947-48 war with Pakistan to the Galwan valley clash with Chinese troops.
- The names of troops who lost lives in the counter-terrorist operations are also included on the walls of the memorial.
- The architecture of the memorial is based on four concentric circles, the largest is the Raksha Chakra or the Circle of Protection which is marked by a row of trees, each of which represent soldiers, who protect the country.
- The Tyag Chakra, the Circle of Sacrifice, has circular concentric walls of honor based on the Chakravyuh.
- The walls have independent granite tablets for each of the soldiers who have died for the country since Independence and a tablet is added every time a soldier is killed in the line of duty.
- This Veerta Chakra, the Circle of Bravery, has a covered gallery with six bronze crafted murals depicting the battles and actions of our Armed Forces.
- The final is the Amar Chakra, the Circle of Immortality, which has an obelisk, and the Eternal Flame
Source: Indian Express