In Focus

Celebrating 50 years of India's 1971 War Victory

By A Draft Colaba Correspondent

A Victory Flame, also known as the Swarnim Vijay Mashaal, symbolising 50 years of India's victory over Pakistan in the 1971 Indo-Pak war that resulted in the creation of Bangladesh was lit at Delhi on 16 December 2020 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The PM was joined by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, the Chief of Defence Staff and tri-service chiefs as he laid wreath and paid homage to the soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice for the country. Four victory flames, lit from the eternal flame at National War Memorial, went travelling in the four cardinal directions across India and are being carried throughout the cities and villages of Param Vir Chakra (PVC) and Maha Vir Chakra (MVC) Awardees of the 1971 War.

SWARNIM CELEBRATIONS: The Western Cardinal Victory Flame at the Gateway of India
Events are planned throughout the year to mark this occasion as the Swarnim Vijay Varsh. The victory flame that was lit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 16 December last year was brought to Tirupati, as part of its pan-India journey. As part of the celebrations, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy honoured the veterans of the 1971 war in Tirupati on 18 February earlier this year. Interestingly, a 122-member contingent of the Bangladesh Armed Forces also participated in the parade during the Republic Day, on 26 January 2021 in India.

BEARERS: Runners from the Army, Navy, Air Force and NCC carrying the flame to the Gateway of India
The Vadodara Military Station received the flame on 27 August 2021 after being stationed for six days in Ahmedabad. The event in Vadodara also saw felicitation of war veterans and included a run, following which the Victory Flame was taken to the Statue of Unity at Kevadia in Narmada District.

The reception ceremony of the Victory Flame began in Vadodara’s Harni area, from where the Army brought it in an open jeep to the Makarpura military station, where senior serving officers and jawans as well as war veterans paid tribute to the valour of the Indian Armed Forces which fought the 1971 war. The Victory Flame was ceremoniously installed at the War Memorial of the Samba Regiment at the Lancer Lines in the city.

HONOURED: CM Thackeray felicitating Vir Chakra awardee Admiral L Ramdas (second from left)
The Western Cardinal Victory Flame arrived in Mumbai on 1 September 2021 and was received by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray at the Gateway of India. A grand reception for the Victory Flame was organised at the heritage structure under the aegis of Headquarters, Maharashtra Gujarat and Goa Area. Prominent military dignitaries from the three services and other civil dignitaries were also present for the occasion along with war veterans.

BRAVEHEARTS: A group photo of the veterans felicitated with the CM and other dignitaries at Gateway of India
Here, the Chief Minister felicitated Chakra awardees of 1971 operations during the ceremony which also witnessed a fly-past by the Indian Air Force helicopters and a band concert by the Joint Services band. The Victory flame will be stationed in Mumbai till 9 September 2021 before it departs for Panaji, Goa. 

FLY-PAST: IAF helicopters over the Gateway of India during the ceremony in Mumbai
During this period, the Indian Armed Forces will organise various ceremonial and cultural events. The Victory Flame, along with representatives of Headquarters Maharashtra Gujarat and Goa Area, will also be taken to the houses of 1971 war awardees and those who made the supreme sacrifice to pay tribute for their valiant service to the nation.

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