Tag Archives: Articles on History

History of Bhopal

Rain: Nature’s Blessing.

Shashikant N. Sharma (Urban Planner)

Write a poem on rain

Rain, oh rain, how sweet your sound, As you pour from the sky and hit the ground. A symphony of droplets, a melody so fine, As you wash away the dirt and make everything shine.

You bring life to the earth, and refresh the air, As you fill the rivers, lakes, and oceans with care. The plants rejoice as you quench their thirst, And the animals play in the puddles, unrehearsed.

You come in many forms, a drizzle or a downpour, A misty fog, or a thunderous roar. Your colors range from gray to blue, As you paint the sky with a beautiful hue.

Your aroma fills the air with a pleasant scent, As you awaken our senses, and bring calm and content. You soothe our souls, and heal our pain, As you wash away our worries, and clear our brain.

Rain, oh rain, how blessed you are, A gift from above, a shining star. You bring joy to the heart, and peace to the mind, As you remind us of the beauty, that we often find.

Shashikant N. Sharma (Urban Planner)

History of Bhopal

Bhopal is the capital city of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The history of Bhopal dates back to the 11th century when the city was founded by Raja Bhoj, a famous king of the Paramara dynasty. The city was originally known as Bhojpal, named after its founder.

Over the centuries, Bhopal was ruled by various dynasties including the Mughals, the Marathas, and the Nawabs of Bhopal. It was during the rule of the Nawabs of Bhopal in the 18th century that the city began to prosper and grow.

In 1818, Bhopal came under the British rule, and the city remained a princely state until India gained independence in 1947. The last Nawab of Bhopal, Hamidullah Khan, signed the Instrument of Accession to India in 1949, and Bhopal became a part of the Indian Union.

In 1956, the state of Madhya Pradesh was formed, and Bhopal was chosen as its capital city. The city underwent significant development during the 1960s and 1970s, with the establishment of various industries and the construction of modern infrastructure.

However, Bhopal is perhaps best known for the tragic gas leak disaster that occurred in 1984, when a toxic gas leak from a pesticide plant owned by Union Carbide Corporation led to the deaths of thousands of people and affected the health of many others.

Today, Bhopal is a major cultural, educational, and commercial center in central India. It is known for its beautiful lakes, historical monuments, and vibrant bazaars. The city also has a rich tradition of arts and crafts, including embroidery, beadwork, and weaving.


Types Of Ships In service with The INDIAN NAVY

The Indian Navy grew rapidly After Independence . As of now It is undergoing modernization with new ships Being added to fleet.

Aircraft Carrier is a warship with a full length flight deck and facilities for carrying arming, deploying and recovering , acting as a seagoing airbase

INS Vikramaditya aircraft Carrier

Destroyer is a fast, heavily, armed, maneuverable yet long Endurance warship.It is designed to escort longer vessels in a fleet like an aircraft carrier, troop, supply ships forming part of a convoy or battle group.


Frigate is a warship smaller in size than a destroyer , It is armed with guided missiles and used as an escort for aircraft carrier.


Corvette is a fast, lightly armed warship which is smaller than a frigate and larger than a coastal patrol craft often armed for antisubmarine operation.

ASW corvette

Mine countermeasure vessel: also known as Minesweeper is a small naval warship designed to counter the threat posed by naval mines

Mine countermeasure vessel

Landing ship is a naval vessel which is used to transport large number of vehicles, cargo and troops directly to the shore no part facilities .

Landing ship

Submarines: A submarine (or sub) is a watercraft capable of independent operation underwater. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability.

Patrol Vessel for patrolling costal area, Auxilary ship, Research Vessel, Tranning ship.


The Indian army is the oldest among the three armed forces.It has very and ancient heritage of more than 2000 year from the Times of Chandragupta Maurya . The foundation of the present army was inherited from the British Indian Army . Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose lead the Indian National Army (INA) during the world war 2 to fight for India’s Independence from British Rule . Women also formed part of the INA. Captain Laxmi Swaminathan headed the women’s wing.

Role of Indian Army

  • Go to war to defeat an External Aggression
  • Strengthen the internal security Management to defeat Internal threats.
  • Project force wherever and whenever called upon to safeguard the nation’s interest.
  • To support the peace keeping operations or Military Assistance to friendly foreign countries
  • Render Humanitarian, Disaster relief and Aid to civil authorities

The Indian Army spread over six operational commands based on geography and the preceived security threats.

Logistic support services

Areas of responsibility of geographical commands

Northern command: Northern command is head quater in Udhampur .It is responsible for operations in Jammu and Kashmir against china in the east and Pakistan In the west.

Western Command :Western Command in Chandigarh. It is responsible for operation in Punjab,and Himachal Pradesh against China in the east and Pakistan in the west.

South Western Command:South Western Command is headquarter in Jaipur .It is responsible for operations in North and central Rajasthan and Haryana.

Southern Command: headquater Pune, responsible for operation in south Rajasthan and Gujarat, Maharashtra, karnataka, Kerala, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh

Central Command : headquater in Lucknow. It is responsible for operations in Uttarakhand, Uttar pradesh, Bihar, Orrisa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh against China in the North as also security along the Indo-Nepal border with UP and Bihar

Eastern Command: headquarter in kolkata . It is responsible for operations in Sikkim, Bhutan, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram and also Against China and security Indo – Nepal, Mayanmar, Bangladesh Border

The Man Who Knew too much: Alan Turing

I remembered my first day in college, our vice-chancellor arranged a seminar for all departments 1st-year student, he motivated us, told us about the future that is in our hand, and one thing that I always keep in my mind he told that every student should know to code, I knew the importance of code language, programming, Artificial Intelligence but I really not aware of their history how it was developed, so after the session, I am starting to know about code languages during this time I came came to know about a man “Alan Turing” his life, passion for mathematics and machine, code languages, computer science, just mesmerized me.

Alan Mathison Turing the Father of Modern computer science and Artificial Intelligence. Today Mr. Turing’s 108th birth anniversary. He was an English mathematician, computer scientist, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher, and theoretical biologist. Turing was highly influential in the development of theoretical computer science, providing a formalization of the concepts of algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general-purpose computer.

His revolutionary idea was to create a machine that would turn thought processes into numbers. The machine would read a series of ones and zeros from a tape which described the steps needed to solve a problem or task.During the Second World War, Turing worked for the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park, Britain’s codebreaking centre that produced Ultra intelligence. For a time he led Hut 8, the section that was responsible for German naval cryptanalysis. Here, he devised a number of techniques for speeding the breaking of German ciphers, including improvements to the pre-war Polish BOMBE method, an electromechanical machine that could find settings for the Enigma machine.

Turing played a crucial role in cracking intercepted coded messages that enabled the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many crucial engagements, including the Battle of the Atlantic, and in so doing helped win the war.he and fellow scientist saved lots of life by code breaking.

The man who is a pioneer of modern mathematics and computer science, his invention, theories changed today’s technology. Tribute to the world’s great Inventor Mr. Alan Mathison Turing🙏.

The Chapekar Brothers and assassination of W.C Rand, The British plague Commissioner of Pune 1897

During late 1896 dreaded disease of plague had struck Pune and by early 1897, the disease had spread critically. In February 1897 alone, there were 657 deaths reportedly due to plague. About half of the city’s population had left it.The government set up a Special Plague Committee in March that year to handle the menace and control the spread of the disease. It was chaired by an Indian Civil Service (ICS) officer W. C. Rand.

The commission appointed more than 800 officers and soldiers on duty in Pune rather than employing doctors for the job of implementing the measures. The measures included entry into houses forcefully, examination of its occupants including women, taking them to segregation camps and preventing people affected with plague from leaving or entering Pune.People were denied permission to conduct the funerals of their loved ones unless the deaths were registered. If plague was the cause of death, the dead had to be cremated in special grounds designated by the government.

A medical camp for the plague, in Pune 1896, source of the image Google

The Chapekar brothers  Damodar Hari Chapekar, Balkrishna Hari Chapekar and Vasudeo Hari Chapekar and a friend of them Mahadev Ranade initially belonged to Chapa small hamlet near Chinchwad, then a village near Pune, in the state of Maharashtra, India

1.Balkrishna Hari Chapekar 2.Damodar Hari Chapekar 3. Basudev Hari chapekar 4. Mahadev Ranade. Source of image Google

Regular harassments of Rand commission had prompted the Chapekar brothers and other members of the revolutionary “Chapekar Club” to take action against the person who started it all—the commissioner. On 22 June 1897, brothers Damodar Hari Chapekar and Balkrishna Hari Chapekar assassinated a British official W. C. Rand and his military escort Lieutenant Ayerst at Pune, Maharashtra. This was the first case of militant nationalism in India after the 1857 Revolt.

Chapekar Brother statue at Chinchwad, source of the image Google

All three brothers were found guilty and hanged, an accomplice was dealt with similarly, another, then a schoolboy, was sentenced to ten years’ rigorous imprisonment.

The 1600 Year Old Rust Free: The Iron Pillar of Delhi

An unsolved mystery, the IRON PILLAR OF DELHI now standing at Quwwatul mosque at Mehrauli in Delhi, India. The 7.21 meters tall structure all most 1600-year-old stands completely rust-free. The pillar was constructed by “King Chandra” probably Chandragupta2

Iron Pillar Of Delhi

pillar was certainly used as a trophy in building the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque and the Qutb complex, its original location, whether on the site itself or from elsewhere, is debated. The Iron pillar of Delhi is one of the most curious metal objects in the world. It was manufactured by the forge welding of pieces of wrought iron. In a report published in the journal Current Science, R. A critical corrosion-resistant agent called iron hydrogen phosphate hydrate makes the pillar resistant to rusting.

Experts at the Indian Institute of Technology have resolved the mystery behind the 1,600-year-old iron pillar in Delhi, which has never corroded despite the capital’s harsh weather.
Metallurgists at Kanpur IIT have discovered that a thin layer ofmisawite“, a compound of iron, oxygen and hydrogen, has protected the cast iron pillar from rust.

The pillar bears an inscription which states that it was erected as a flagstaff in honor of the Hindu God and in the memory of the Gupta King Chandragupta II (375-413). How the pillar moved to its present location remains a mystery.

The question remains that how was such chemically advanced agent manufacture 2000 ago.

The pillar is a living testimony to the skill of metallurgists of ancient India

Indian Women Who Are FIRSTS In Their Field

In Indian history, where we find once upon a time women were not allowed to come in front of the males. They didn’t have the right to study, they didn’t have the freedom to talk. But some of the women who had broken the gender barriers worked hard for their rights and pioneers of woman empowerment, let’s see those women who are proved themselves in different fields and inspired millions.

1.Kadambini Ganguly was the first Indian and South Asian female physician and surgeon,1886 trained in western medicine, as well as one of the first female graduates in India, 1882

2.Chandramukhi Basu was one of the first two female graduates of the British Empire. In 1882, along with Kadambini Ganguly, 

3.Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi became the first Indian female physician in the year 1887.

4.Kamini Roy was a Bengali poet, social worker, and feminist in British India. She was the first woman honors graduate in British India.

5.Rukhmabai was an Indian physician and feminist. She is best known for being one of the first practicing women doctors in colonial India

6. Sarla Chakra was the first Indian woman to fly an aircraft,she earned an aviation pilot license in 1936 at the age of 21 and flew a Gypsy Moth solo.

7.Durba Banerjee was the first pilot of Indian Airlines in 1956 and the first Indian woman commercial pilot.

8.Harita Kaur Deol was the first woman pilot to fly solo in Indian Air Force 1994

9.Arati Saha was an Indian long distance swimmer, best known for becoming the first Asian woman to swim across the English Channel in 29 September 1959. 

10.Bachendri Pal became the first Indian woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest In 1984. 

11. Arunima Sinha is the first female amputee to climb Mount Everest. She is also the first Indian amputee to climb the Everest

12. Surekha Shankar Yadav is a female loco pilot of the Indian Railways in India. She became India’s first female train driver in 1988.

13.Shila Dawre became the country’s first woman auto-rickshaw driver when she first stepped into the ‘male-dominated’ zone in the year 1988. 

14.Roshini Sharma recently became the first Indian woman to ride a motorbike from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.

Indira Gandhi became the first woman Prime Minister of India and served from 1966 to 1977.1971, she became the first woman to receive the Bharat Ratna award.

Mother Teresa became the first Indian woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979

Pratibha Patil, Indian lawyer, and politician who was the first woman to serve as president of India (2007–12).

Justice M. Fathima Beevi became the first female judge who was appointed to the Supreme Court of India in 1989. 

Isha Basant Joshi She was the first woman ICS officer of British India

Kiran Bedi, joining Indian Police Service (IPS) in 1972, Kiran Bedi became the first woman officer in India.

Sania Mirza,a professional tennis player, became the first ever Indian woman to win the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) title in 2005.

Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom, also known as Mary Kom is the only woman boxer who has won a medal in each of the six World Championships. 

Mithali Raj was the first woman to score a double hundred in Test Cricket (214* against New Zealand at Wellington, 2004). 

Kalpana Chawla was an American astronaut, engineer, and the first woman of Indian origin to go to space. She first flew on Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997 

Bharataratna Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi was an Indian Carnatic singer from Madurai, Tamil Nadu. She was the first musician ever to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour. 

Homai Vyarawalla, commonly known by her pseudonym Dalda 13, was India’s first woman photojournalist

Evaluation of Indian Architecture

Art, design,  creativity, innovation, Music, dance, culture, and heritage is the Identity of INDIA. When we look back at our history of architecture we can understand why It’s Our pride. British, Dutch, Portuguese, Mughal, French foreign forces came to India and Buddhism, Jainism and other religions came here and spread their culture. That’s why Indian architecture is the fusion of a different kind of architectural style and tradition.

The History of India begins with the birth of the Indus Valley Civilization,(2600 BCE – 1900 BCE) The Indus Valley Civilization covered a large area around the Indus River basin and beyond in late Bronze Age India. The civic and town planning and engineering aspects of these are remarkable, There are granaries, drains, water-courses and tanks, but neither palaces nor temples have been identified, though cities have a central raised and fortified “citadel”. Around the 2000 year ago India had Smart cities Like Harappa, Lothal, Mohenjo-Daro

After the Indus Valley Civilization, there are few traces of Indian architecture, which probably mostly used wood, or brick which has been recycled,

Probably around 400 BCE Indian rock-cut architecture, mostly Buddhist, and there are also a number of Buddhist images that give very useful information.


Buddhist construction of monastic buildings apparently begins before the death of Buddha.

The Great Stupa at Sanchi is one of the oldest stone structures in India, and an important monument of Indian Architecture. It was originally commissioned by the emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE. Its nucleus was a simple hemispherical brick structure built over the relics of the Buddha

Sanchi Stupa is a Buddhist complex, famous for its Great Stupa, on a hilltop at Sanchi Town in Raisen District of the State of Madhya Pradesh,

Temple Architecture was a gradual evolution starting from the rock cut- cave temples to monolithic rathas which finally culminated in structural temples

The middle period saw great developments in the field of architecture. With the coming of Muslims to India, many new features came to be introduced in buildings. The development of the Muslim Style of Architecture of this period can be called the Indo-Islamic Architecture or the Indian Architecture influenced by Islamic Art. The Indo-Islamic style was neither strictly Islamic nor strictly Hindu, One of the best architectural traditional style

The Taj Mahal,  one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage.

With colonization, a new chapter in Indian architecture began. The Dutch, Portuguese and the French made their presence felt through their buildings but it was the English who had a lasting impact on Colonial architecture.

The Victoria Memorial is a large marble building in Kolkata, West Bengal, India, which was built between 1906 and 1921

Now we are living in the 21st-century style, traditional, plan structure changed, modified but these architectures are immortal and inspiring generation after generation.

Eco-Friendly Architectural plan

From Indus Valley to eco-friendly plan creativity, hard work, ideas, style tradition makes our country beautiful.

Tombstones Of The War Dead: A Spectacle of Epitaphs and Emblems



            The Madras War Cemetery (1939-1945) is a celebration of war dead laid to rest in St. Thomas Mount in the border of Madras known for its history and heritage. The cemetery, one among the 34 of its kind in India, is meant to keep alive the memories of soldiers, sailors, and airmen–from Australia, Burma, Canada, India, New Zealand, Poland, the United Kingdom, and West Africa–who served in garrisons and died in India on their way to battle fields in far off places to fight in the Second World War on behalf of the (British) Commonwealth of Nations. They died “thousands of miles away from their hearth and home, leaving a void in their families and a trail of grief” but their mortal remains found a haven in the Madras War Cemetery.

            The cemetery in St. Thomas Mount contains 856 Commonwealth burials. Each burial is commemorated with a tombstone–813 mm tall, 375 mm broad and 75 mm wide. C. Venkatesan, in a paper presented to the Tamil Nadu History Congress and published in its Proceedings, goes into raptures when he says: “Each headstone is a moving memorial, a mound of stone, a little mount, a miniature pyramid designed to last forever”.1 The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has ensured that on each stone is engraved “the national emblem or the service or regimental badge, followed by the rank, name, unit, date of death, age, and usually a religious emblem; and at the foot, in many cases, an inscription chosen by relatives”2–in short, a resume of the profile of the warrior.

            Walking across the lawns of the cemetery, I felt I was in the presence of angels. Brave men and women sleeping in silence and solitude, the headstones executed with  immaculate elegance, the regimental emblems sculpted with amazing precision, the epitaphs chosen mostly from sacred and secular literature of a bygone era, the lovely lawn resembling a green carpet of grass, the bronze sword representing the military character of the cemetery, the rain trees, the Rangoon creepers, the Indian laburnums, the west Indian jasmine, the roses, the shrubs, and the whole cemetery bound by a ledge of Madras thorn, white clouds floating in the blue sky of St. Thomas Mount make one  feel that he is wandering across an earthly paradise, an Elysium so to speak.

            The epitaphs and the emblems are the highlights of the tombstones; I was enthralled by the former, and excited by the latter.

            The epitaphs are expressions of love, of admiration, of gratitude, and, of course, of grief and sorrow; they are the family’s attempts to communicate with the dead. The dead have been so much a part of the living , have shared so much of their thoughts, have dreamt so many of their dreams that their sudden loss devastates them. The living open their hearts for the dead in exquisite prose and poetry – and we call it epitaphs. The epitaphs are usually not more than a couple of lines but carry the marvel of moving people to tears. Never in history has so much been said in so few words.

            The emblems are drawings of the banner under which the combatants fought their battles. They are like the royal insignia of the Cheras, Cholas, and Pandyas of the Sangam age and the Pallava, Maratha and Vijayanagar kings of a later time. The emblems symbolise the traditions and values of the respective regiments, their weapons of war, their valour, the myths of their people, and the fauna and flora native to their land. The persons who sculpted the pictures in stone had imagination, were steeped in the knowledge of legend and literature, believed in the efficacy of the emblems to bless their countrymen with victory–the result is an exhibition of emblems of everlasting value.

            C.Venkatesan, a specialist in the study of cemeteries, especially war cemeteries, describes in his characteristic way the designs of the varied emblems in the Madras War Cemetery:

            Profiles of regimental symbols sculpted on the stones are lovely little pieces of art. Reliefs showing the Egyptian sphinx, fierce lions, antlers of reindeer, short swords of the Gurkhas, fast-footed couriers, gun carriages, prancing horses, flying eagles, and medieval castles have been carved with great care, understanding, and even feeling. I was particularly struck by the sculpture of the enigmatic sphinx having a lion’s body with a twisted tail and a woman’s head; only a sculptor steeped in the knowledge of Egyptian history and civilization could have created such splendid works of art.

            One tombstone carries the figure of a dragon; the representation is so frightening and it is doubtful whether the dragon known to mythology would have been this dreadful. Another shows a ram carrying a flag in its fore legs; I could see arrogance writ large in the ram’s face – arrogance arising out of the privilege given to it to carry the country’s flag. Yet another stone shows a courier running fast with what appears to be a coded message; I could see strength and stamina oozing out every inch of his muscle. Many a stone contain falcons in flight in search of prey with a beak sharper than a razor. Each of these of sculptures is a treasure, and worth a king’s ransom.

Rest in Peace:

            Many of the well wishers, as in civilian cemeteries of simple folks, are content with a recording of “Rest in Peace”3 on the epitaphs. This is prayer, this is seeking God’s intervention to grant them peace and quietitude in His kingdom. Dying is a journey into the unknown, and people are anxious that the dead should not meet with any harm in their new abode. On the surface “Rest in Peace” may appear to be simple in substance, but one can see hidden eloquence even in this unpretentious invocation: the dead should rest in silence and solitude, should rest in His arms free from the hue and cry of this turbulent and tumultuous world.

            The words Rest in Peace may have been allowed to stand alone: I find a tendency to prefix or suffix these words with some other wish. It looks as though that Rest in Peace is not given the focus that is its due.

In Memory of:

            Love is the bond between husbands and wives, sons and daughters and their fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, and among friends. When a warrior dies in war, his loved ones are drenched in a million tears, feel a void in their life, and after a period of mourning, inscribe on the headstones the trait, the quality, the feature that impressed them most. Love is the dominant motif behind the memories projected in these monuments. Different people have different perceptions of the memories of the dead. They are either “in memory of”4, or “in lasting memory of”5, or “in loving memory of”6, or “in ever loving memory of”7; a few speak of “beautiful memories”8 and “sweet memories”9; there is atleast one which refers to “grateful memory”10; references to “glorious memories”11, “proud memories”12, “precious memories”13, and “treasured memories”14 are seen here and there; there are a couple of solemn allusions to “sacred memories” 15and “divine memories”.16

            I would not like to see much of a difference between memories and lasting memories and loving memories and ever loving memories because love is there everywhere linking people like a human chain. It seems to be a manner of writing, and there is no need to distinguish between different shades of love.

            But I admit, though grudgingly, that there may be something in speaking of “grateful memories”, “glorious memories”, “proud memories”, “precious memories”, and “treasured memories”. Some act of kindness, some deed of courage, some showing of chivalry may have touched a chord in the living, and therefore they are going a little out of the beaten track. But specific references to special acts would have been helpful to appreciate the appropriateness of adjectives, but of course there are constrains of space.

            Allusions to “sacred memory” and “divine memory” appear to be somewhat awe-inspiring, but even here I don’t see any need to consider such references as “God-connected”, because there is a belief that all the dead, especially the war dead, go to the kingdom of God, “live” in his presence, and bask in the sunshine of his grace. In this context I don’t want to be misunderstood as denigrating the memory of those who fell dead in the Second World War. I am only looking at the whole scene with an open mind, a neutral platform as it were.

I shall Remember:

            Memories are the stuff of which history and heritage are made; they are the unwritten archives, the invisible artefacts of humanity’s long trek towards freedom and honour; if they are not renewed and remembered, if they are not refreshed and “revisited”, the memorials on which they are cut would cease to convey any meaning, and would not serve the purpose they were meant to serve. Those who have commissioned the memorials have assured in the short space of the stone slabs that the dead would be “ever remembered”17, or “always remembered”18, or “proudly remembered”19. A few have undertaken to cherish their memories “not just today, but everyday”20; some have recorded that though the dead are gone, they are not forgotten.21

            The most eloquent expression of remembrance is: “At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them”22. This is more or less a pledge, a promise to keep alive the memory of the dead. Man is at peace with himself, he is in union with god “at the going down of the sun” and “in the morning”, and these are the best moments for remembrance. But there is no need to insist that references to timings are references                     to sunset and sunrise; that kind of interpretation would be rather pedantic. The promoters of the epitaphs may have meant in all probability: everyday, preferably twice a day. A reference to 6 a.m to 6 p.m. may not have dictated their prescription.    Therefore neither time nor place need stand in the way of the living remembering the dead. What matters is the will to remember.

            Fortunately, there is no such direction regarding the place of remembrance. One need not visit a cemetery, a church, a darga to remember a dead person; one’s own home where the living and the dead lived and laughed, played together, worked and worshipped and shared whatever there was to share would do. What is required is a place where there is peace; the time recommended in the memorial is a time associated with peace.

            The discussion on remembrance can be rounded off with a reference to a remark that “God’s greatest gift is remembrance”23. By this the writer probably means that God has endowed the living with the power to remember, and among the several powers he has given him, that is the greatest gift. The faculty to remember is a faculty which can be exercised without physical strain, mental stress, paraphernalia of ritual, financial expenditure, guidance of a guru, and a host of similar constraints. This is simplicity personified and presented as a quotable quote. Though it is conceded that remembrances are reminders of the gratitude of the living to the dead, a query that calls for a response is how long remembrances shall continue. May be for a generation or two; society is in a state of flux, and the old order changeth yielding place to new; after some years the present becomes past, and fades from the thoughts of the future. The impermanence of human lives determines the impermanence of remembrances as well. The fact that remembrances cannot be carried on endlessly is brought home in the headstone of Sgt M.T. Jones of Royal Air Force: “as long as we live, we treasure his name”24. It is surprising that the question has been anticipated and answered.

God, King, and Country:

            It was in response to a call from “God, King, and Country”25 that men fought to defend freedom and honour, and it was a duty they performed with pride, and with no thoughts whether they would survive or perish in battle. The headstones inform us repeatedly that it was “duty nobly done”26, “duty fearlessly…  done”27, and “perilous path of duty”28; at least one headstone informs us that the warrior fell “a martyr to duty”29.

            The epitaphs contain evidences of supreme sacrifices: Warrant Officer J.B. Duggan of Royal Air Force and his brother Bertram,30 Gunner A. Knight of Royal Artillery and his brother William John,31 Gunner M.W. Upson of Royal Artillery and his brother Ronald Mervyn,32 Warrant Officer K. Webster of Royal Air Force and his brother Vincent,33 and Sgt A. Powrie of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and his son Ernest Peter34 all died on service. The death of two persons in the same family would make them grief stricken beyond words and consolation, and these are rare instances of supreme sacrifice in the chronicles of war anywhere in the world. The loss of Major A.C. Greene of Indian Medical Service35 whose feats of courage were mentioned in Despatches thrice should be treated as too big a tragedy for his family; there may be many more who have earned such honours and distinction. In all these cases, it is the call of duty that made them to lay their lives, and the thought of God, King and Country propelled them to new height of sacrifice.

Grief and Sorrow:

            The hurt and the pain of the loss of one whom they loved dearly, the sorrow that followed, was too much to bear for many. They were haunted by memories of “a happy face”36, “of a heart of gold”37, “of a loving smile”38. Fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters were troubled by the memories of the departed, and lamented: “to the world he was one, to us he was the world”39; he was a sun in the sky, the focus of their love and affection, the hope of their future, and his death left them rudderless.

            The call to battle was abrupt and sudden; there was no time for the warrior to say goodbye to his family and friends. “He bade no last farewell, the heaven’s gates were open, a loving voice said ‘Come’”40, and he went. “No loved ones stood around him to bid a last farewell”41. What is distressing is the cry: “without farewell he left as all”42, and “without farewell he fell asleep”43. These are all moving passages, and make our heart bleed for the departed.

            The death of the warriors is not to be viewed as ordinary death; they did not die of old age, of disease, of execution, at the hand of an assassin. They died fighting for their country, for their land and people, for their right to live in peace and liberty. Many of the epitaphs would want us to remember that “(they) died so that we might live”44, that “(they) gave their life that we may live forever”45, that “for our tomorrow (they) gave (their) today”46, that “they gave their life that you may live in peace”47. Dying so that others might live is the noblest death one can imagine.

Far away from home:

            Many grieved that the graves were “in India”48, they were “far away” from England49, that they “never shall see” 50 the graves, that the families and the graves were divided by “land and sea”51. A mother cries “A foreign grave is a painful thing to a mother’s aching heart”52.  One is angry that “no flowers can I place in the grave where you lie”53. The anguish of another that her son languishes alone in India reaches us across time and distance, and makes us feel sad.

            I wish to assure parents, husbands and wives, and siblings of the dead that their beloved are not alone in India, and the 1,239,450,000 million people of India keep vigil over their graves. We would preserve the grave as among our national treasures like the sculptures of Mamallapuram, the Taj Mahal, and the St.Mary’s church in Fort.St.George.

             Please tell us the occasion, we will lay a garland on the grave, we will lit a candle on the tomb, we will say a prayer in folded hands so that they will be reborn in your midst, We will treat the War Cemetery as a place of pilgrimage.

End notes

  1. Proceedings of Tamil Nadu History Congress
  2. Annual Report of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission 2000-2001.
  3. Grave Reference: 1.A.13, 1.A.10, 1.B.10, 1.B.4, 1.C.16, 1.C.8, 1.D.12, 1.D.2, 1.F.12, 1.F.11, 1.J.11, 1.J.3, 1.J.2, 4.A.18, 4.A.17, 4.A.15, 4.B.15, 4.D.15, 4.D.13, 4.D.2, 4.E.15, 4.F.7, 5.C.14, 5.D.17, 5.D.6, 5.F.18, 6.A.10, 6.B.2, 6.D.6, 7.A.6, 8.A.5, 8.B.6, 8.B.3, 8.E.6, 8.E.4, 8.E.2, 9.C.4, 9.D.15, 9.D.11, 9.E.10, 9.E.5.
  4. Grave Reference: 1.C.13, 1.H.16, 1.L.13, 4.D.16, 4.E.16, 8.E.10, 8.F.1, 9.E.7.
  5. Grave Reference: 7.A.9, 9.A.15.
  6. Grave Reference: 1.B.6, 1.D.15, 1.D.13, 1.D.11, 1.E.4, 1.F.5, 1.G.6, 1.H.18, 1.J.14, 1.J.6, 1.K.4, 4.E.13, 4.E.7, 4.E.1, 4.F.8, 5.C.6, 5.D.5, 5.D.2, 6.A.10, 6.B.16, 6.B.12, 6.B.4, 6.D.4, 6.D.9, 7.A.4, 7.B.9, 7.B.7, 7.A.13, 8.B.16, 8.C.18, 8.F.16, 9.B.9, 9.F.7, 9.F.4.
  7. Grave Reference: 1.E.14, 1.H.7, 1.J.8, 1.K.9, 4.D.14, 8.E.2, 9.E.10, 9.E.3.
  8. Grave Reference: 1.B.16, 1.H.17, 1.H.2, 1.K.5, 7.A.2, 8.B.5, 8.D.11, 9.F.16.
  9. Grave Reference: 1.A.16, 1.E.8, 4.E.2, 8.C.14, 9.C.1, 9.D.7.
  10. Grave Reference: 1.C.14.
  11. Grave Reference: 5.C.11.
  12. Grave Reference: 1.K.6, 4.B.17, 4.F.1, 9.C.5, 9.C.1.
  13. Grave Reference: 4.C.13, 4.E.1.
  14. Grave Reference: 4.B.9, 6.C.4, 7.F.10, 9.A.2, 9.E.6.
  15. Grave Reference: 8.C.3, 9.C.8.
  16. Grave Reference: 9.B.6.
  17. Grave Reference: 1.D.17, 1.G.1, 4.E.3.
  18. Grave Reference: 1.H.6, 4.B.13, 4.D.11, 6.D.8, 7.F.8, 8.D.14.
  19. Grave Reference: 9.D.17.
  20. Grave Reference: 1.D.10, 1.K.2, 6.B.1.
  21. Grave Reference: 1.A.7, 1.H.18, 1.J.6, 4.A.18, 6.B.15, 6.B.4, 7.B.1, 9.D.18.
  22. Grave Reference: 1.A.11, 1.B.18, 1.B.12, 1.H.14, 1.K.7, 4.A.10, 4.E.6, 5.C.8, 5.E.2, 5.F.3, 6.A.5, 6.B.11, 6.D.10, 7.F.16, 7.F.3, 7.F.2, 8.C.8, 8.D.7.
  23. Grave Reference: 8.E.12.
  24. Grave Reference: 4.D.16.
  25. Grave Reference: 1.D.17.
  26. Grave Reference: 4.A.2, 4.B.10, 4.C.7, 9.B.5.
  27. Grave Reference: 4.B.18
  28. Grave Reference: 1.L.1
  29. Grave Reference: 8.B.12.
  30. Grave Reference: 6.D.12.
  31. Grave Reference: 4.C.6.
  32. Grave Reference: 7.D.9.
  33. Grave Reference: 1.L.6
  34. Grave Reference: 9.D.7; Madras War Cemetery Register, p.50.
  35. Grave Reference: 7.F.5
  36. Grave Reference: 6.A.6.
  37. Grave Reference: 1.A.13.
  38. Grave Reference: 6.D.11.
  39. Grave Reference: 4.C.9, 4.E.9, 8.D.16, 9.D.6.
  40. Grave Reference: 9.E.8.
  41. Grave Reference: 7.A.3.
  42. Grave Reference: 6.C.14.
  43. Grave Reference: 6.B.9, 8.B.17, 9.C.15.
  44. Grave Reference: 1.L.4, 4.A.18, 4.F.12, 9.B.15, 9.C.1.
  45. Grave Reference: 8.C.17
  46. Grave Reference: 1.L.6, 7.E.4.
  47. Grave Reference: 4.F.17.
  48. Grave Reference: 6.D.4.
  49. Grave Reference: 4.B.9, 4.B.4.
  50. Grave Reference: 5.B.12.
  51. Grave Reference: 8.E.18.
  52. Grave Reference: 4.F.14.
  53. Grave Reference: 1.D.9.