Chandigarh, Dec 7 (IANS) Punjab Governor V. P. Singh Badnore on Friday dedicated the Military Literature Festival (MLF) 2018 to the valour of over 74,000 Indians who had laid down their lives in World War I.
Inaugurating the MLF at Chandigarh’s Lake Club, Badnore said that the event was a befitting tribute to the unknown martyrs, and to mark 100 years since the end of the Great War. Thanking Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh “for educating the younger generation about the sacrifices made by the Indian soldiers through the unique platform of MLF”, the governor said that the sacrifices of the soldiers could not be forgotten.
Recalling the unparalleled sacrifices made by the Indian soldiers in various battles of WW1 and WWII, the Governor said: “This year also marks the centenary of the Great War of 1914-1918, a time for remembrance of the 74,000 Indians who were killed and 67, 000 others who were severely wounded. Many of their remains were never recovered, and they lie in, or their ashes are interred in foreign fields.”
The governor said that it was a matter of great pride for the country that sent 1.3 million soldiers.
“The Indian soldiers proved their mettle in these missions by winning 11 Victoria Crosses, and significantly six more were won by British officers leading Indian troops,” he added.
He expressed satisfaction that during the festival many important speakers will also focus on the known and unknown facets of these wars to make the younger generation aware of the unique role of Indian soldiers in these expeditions. The governor appreciated the fact that the MLF was not confined to the world wars alone but will also focus on the heroism and unparalleled courage of warriors like Maharana Pratap, Shivaji and many others who have always been a great source of inspiration.
“The MLF is also going to have deliberations on Mahabharata, the world’s longest epic, which was set in this very region,” he pointed out.
Describing Punjab as the Sword Arm of the nation and the tri-city of Chandigarh as the retirement hub of military stalwarts, the governor said that on assuming charge as Administrator of Union territory of Chandigarh, he found that approximately 90 lieutenant generals and 133 major generals were living in the ‘City Beautiful’ after retirement.
“I found that no other city, that I know of, can boast of so many senior and distinguished retired and serving officers as its residents,” he said.
Going into the origin of MLF, the governor said that he broached the idea of organising a military history based literature festival with Captain Amarinder Singh during the unveiling of the CM’s book on the Saragarhi battle. “I congratulate Captain Sahib, who is a veteran and a leading military historian, for staging this amazing festival, which has showcased the indomitable spirit of Punjabis and their unparalleled contribution to India’s freedom struggle,” the Governor said.
The three-day festival is being held from Dec 7 to 9.