Rare photos, artefacts bring alive Indian Army's history and accomplishments

November 18, 2017 09:40 PM

Punjab News Express
CHANDIGARH: The journey of the Indian Army and its role in securing and building the nation has been brought alive through rare photographs and artefacts on display at the Museum Art Gallery here.

Part of the two-day Military Art and Photography Exhibition being held as part of the build-up to the Inaugural Military Literature Festival, slated for December 7-9, the display captures the evolution of the Indian Army through the major operations in which it has participated since World War I.

A total of 200 exhibits, including pictures, artefacts, medals, army ammunition of Sikh era, personal belongings of officers and captured flags of Pakistan Army during 1971 operations are on display in the 2-day exhibition, which started today.

A highlight of the exhibition is the bust of Flying Officer Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon, PVC (Posthumously), while other rare exhibits include Japanese Swords of World Wars and personal photographs of Maj Gen G Nagra, who was GOC 101 Area during 1971 operations.

Also evoking a deep sense of pride are the section-wise displays of various operations - 1947-48, 1962, 1965, 1971, 1999 operations, which include rare pictures of former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri visiting troops and former President Dr. S. Radhakrishnan with soldiers in Patton Nagar, a destroyed Pakistan Patton tank and Gen. J. Choudhary congratulating soldiers just before ceasefire.

Rare pictures of the moments captured during the signing of the visitor book by Lt. Gen. Niazi after the Pakistani surrender in the 1971 war and the captured flag of East Pakistan Army further adds to the feeling of patriotism. The flag has been preserved by the family of Maj. Gen. Nagra.

The Exhibition also encapsulates the history of battles fought by Sikhs before the British Era in the Sikh Military Heritage Section, while tracing the journey of battles fought during the British Era and after independence. The Exhibition has been carefully designed to showcase the various landmarks achieved by the Indian soldiers around the world in historical sequence for the discerning visitors from various walks of life. The Sikh Military Heritage has been depicted in the exhibition courtesy Punjab Digital Library.

A special wall has been dedicated to the Saragarhi Battle Warriors, exemplifying the grit and determination of brave Sikh warriors who attained martyrdom living up to the Army motto of ‘Last Man Last Round.’ A handful of courage-laden Sikh soldiers defeated more than 10,000 Afghan Kabilais in this war.

Feeling nostalgic about his service days, Lt. Gen. (Retd) J S Dhillon, whose son is a fifth-generation Army officer, lauded the exhibition as a great attempt to make Punjab’s youth informed about their glorious past.

Punjabis are known for their valour and spirit of patriotism and they have always been a major contributor to the Indian Armed Forces, with Indian Army having close to 40 percent Punjabis during the erstwhile Greater Punjab days. However, over the years, the interest of youth in joining the defence forces has waned and the exhibition, and other events in the Festival, are aimed at reviving the same, according to Colonel Ahluwalia, who is part of the organizing team.

More than 400 people from all walks of life have already visited the exhibition, and we expect a bigger number tomorrow, said an official spokesperson. The exhibition was open for general public from 9 AM to 5  PM on Saturday, and will remain open during the same time again on Sunday.

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