‘Shauryanjali’- exhibition on 1965 war begins
New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today said the 1965 battle was the first “major war” that India won, as a six-day exhibition, showcasing major battle scenes and captured tanks of the Pakistani Army during the war, started at Rajpath today.
As part of the golden jubilee commemoration of the war, the exhibition, ‘Shauryanjali’, will give the public a chance to view captured Pakistani Patton and Sherman tanks as well as the milestone reading “Lahore 13 km” that was brought back by the Indian Army, showcasing how deep the troops had entered into Pakistan.
Asserting that India won the war “hands down”, Parrikar said that a nation which remembers its history and martyrs, is a nation which develops and is secure.
It is for the first time that the Indian government is celebrating the war on such a large scale.
A “nostalgic” Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley recalled that as a school child he had witnessed the war.
“I remember as a young school boy, when our armed forces were defending our borders, the whole country used to be tuned into the radio, supporting the armed forces emotionally and materially,” he said on the opening ceremony of the exhibition at Rajpath.
Terming the occasion as “very nostalgic”, Jaitley said a huge sacrifice was made and “the enemy was shown its place”.
The six-day event will also see manoeuvres by fighter jets and stunts by para troopers.
Spread over 700 metres at Rajpath, 28 exhibition halls recreate the role of Army, Navy, Air Force, CRPF, Media, Prasar Bharti, International Red Cross and others.
Jaitley released a commemorative coin while Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad released three commemorative stamps.
Prasad said that the soldiers had brought back the prestige of the country in 1965 after the loss in the 1962 war.
India had captured 1,920 kms of Pakistani land while Pakistan had taken control over 540 km of Indian territory.
In total, 2,862 soldiers gave up their life protecting the motherland and 211 of them were given gallantry awards.
“I am very happy that the country and we are remembering 1965 martyrs. I was hardly 8 to 9 years old but Abdul Hamid is a name I could never forget and his name was at the tip of my tongue.
“I feel that the 1965 war was the first major war that India won. Some people raise the question whether India won or was there a stalemate. Even as a 9-year-old kid, I was of the firm opinion that India won hands down,” Parrikar said.
Company Quartermaster Havildar Abdul Hamid, a soldier in the 4th Battalion, The Grenadiers of the Indian Army, died in the Khem Karan sector during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 in the Battle of Asal Uttar. He was the posthumous recipient of India’s highest military decoration, the Param Vir Chakra.
The exhibition also displays the gun mounted jeep that Hamid used to hunt down and destroy the Patton tanks of Pakistan.
The major battles recreated are Battle of Asal Uttar, Battle of Haji Pir, Battle of Burki, Battle for Dograi and Battle of Phillorah.
As a culmination of the exhibition, a carnival, ‘Indradhanush’, is being organised on September 20. It will see the Sukhoi 30 fighter jets, flying in “Missing Man” formation in action along with Mi-17 V5 helicopters.
IAF skydiving team Akash Ganga will do a para-drop from the helicopters on India Gate lawns. Indian Army helicopters will also do a flypast.
It would be the first time that fighter jets would be flying over the Rajpath other than the Republic Day.
Shauryanjali is a befitting tribute to the spirit, valour and sacrifice of the 1965 veterans in particular who defied odds and played a major role in successfully countering our adversaries’ designs in 1965, a senior Army officer said.
A documentary film on the War is also being shown during the exhibition.
Food courts, souvenir shops and tableaux have also being put up for a wholesome experience.
The Armed Forces Symphony Band would be performing at the India Gate lawns in the evening, around sunset, on all days.
The exhibition timings are from 9AM to 9PM everyday with a reserved institutional slot from 9AM to 11AM for students, institutions and departments.
Entry is free for the Exhibition which is spread over an area of approximately 50,000 square meters in air conditioned pavilions.