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India: The world war stories

It was a hot and humid morning in July 1979 in village Bahadurpur of Meerut district. Subedar Major (SM) Hukam Chand was ready to undertake a journey for the one last time writes Commander Arun Jyoti

 

On October 28, 1914, a wounded sergeant of the King's Own Scottish Borderers recuperating in Dublin, Ireland, told the British press about Indian bravery on the Western Front

 

While asking for proper recognition of contribution of Sikhs in the world war, the UK based Sikh organization Sikh Federation (SF) has demanded erecting a monument in central London .

 

It would hardly be unpatriotic to suggest that Europeans do anniversaries and commemorations far better than Indians. The centenary of the start of the Great War — the contemporary description of World War I — was widely observed all over Europe last Sunday and Monday with prime ministers, presidents and the few remaining monarchs participating.

 

Every year before National Maritime Day in April, a little-known memorial in Masjid Bunder dedicated to 2,223 seamen—"who fell in the Great War and whose graves are the sea" —gets spruced up.

 

In the centenary year of the Great War, which saw over a million Indians fighting in battles as diverse as Ypres, Somme and Mesopotamia, Egypt, China and Singapore, memories of their bravery has dimmed considerably in India. But far away in New York, UN secretary general Ban ki Moon and the Indian mission at the UN took time off to remember those Indians who fought for the British empire during the First World War. 

 

A poem from Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s masterpiece Gitanjali was recited by Indian Ambassador to the UN Asoke Kumar Mukerji as part of a commemorative ceremony held here marking 100 years of the outbreak of the World War I.

 

The year 2014 marks many centenaries. A brief review of 1914 reveals that many momentous events occurred in that year and, depending on individual preference, there are many ways of either celebrating or commemorating the centenary.

 
 

If you ever wanted an example of how high education - Western education, that highly valued, albeit inflated, commodity in India - does not bring wisdom, one just has to read architect Gautam Bhatia's downright disparaging and insensitive article on the National War Memorial in a leading newspaper early this week, titled: 'Don't battle over new war memorial; settle for old.'

 

Many Indians today argue why we shouldn't remember the Second World War. They say it was not our war, so we shouldn't be bothered. They say that the 2.5 million Indians who fought in it were "slaves" of the British Empire who got what they deserved — oblivion. Yet what did this war mean to us?

 


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spotlight image India’s Vice President Mohammed Hamid Ansari visited Armenia recently to celebrate 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
 
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UN Under-Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman has urged Sri Lankan leaders to ensure an end to impunity for crimes when he met them during a visit that followed harsh criticism by a UN human rights official of what he called “routine and endemic” torture directed mainly against Tamils.
 
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In dispatching its  PLA (Peoples Liberation Army)  marines to Djibuti in the Horn of Africa on Wednesday (July 12 ) by amphibious ships, from the southern port of Zhanjiang, China has taken a significant step in enhancing its  trans-border military footprint.
 
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It is becoming increasingly obvious that China is experiencing a sort of superiority obsession, imagining it can dominate and conquer the world. Several Chinese acts in the recent past indicate such an attitude. Asian nations, which are now apprehensive about China’s aggressive postures, are unclear how matters will shape up.
 
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India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested on June 24 seven prominent Kashmiri separatists on charges of receiving funds from Pakistan to sponsor terrorist activities and stone-pelting protests in the Kashmir Valley.
 
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As Aadhaar becomes the norm in India, and gets skewered for the involuntary nature of its imposition, our northern neighbours, as is their wont, want to do a number that will make this appear benign.
 
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On July 18, the global media carried stories of how Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Naif was ousted from his position and replaced by his cousin, deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.
 
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It was just at the end of spring that the unquiet American President was talking big about being the man who can seal the deal on Israeli-Palestinian peace.
 
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S.T. Lee Distinguished Lecture of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore on "India, ASEAN and Changing Geopolitics”
 
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Interview with Hudson Institute’s Aparna Pande, whose book From Chanakya to Modi: Evolution of India’s Foreign Policy, was released on June 17.

 
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This is the continuing amazing spiritual journey of a Muslim man from Kerala who plunged into Vedic religion after a chance encounter with a Hindu mystic under a jackfruit tree in the backyard of his house when he was just nine. It is a story w...

 
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History is told by the victors but in our modern age, even contemporary events get - or are given - a slant, where some contributors soon get eclipsed from the narrative or their images tarnished.

 
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Humans have long had a fear of malignant supernatural beings but there may be times when even the latter cannot compare with the sheer evil and destructiveness mortals may be capable of. But then seeking to enable the end of the world due to it...

 
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Title: Reporting Pakistan; Author: Meena Menon; Publisher: Viking/Penguin Random House; Pages: 340; Price: Rs 599

 
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