New Delhi: India will witness a momentous and historic moment today (January 21, 2022). Days ahead of India's Republic Day, the Amar Jawan Jyoti flame at the India Gate lawns would be merged with the flame at the National War Memorial. It had been burning for 50 years.
"The Amar Jawan Jyoti flame at India Gate will be extinguished and merged with the flame at the National War Memorial on Friday in a ceremony," an Indian Army official had said, as quoted by ANI.
The ceremony would be presided over by the Integrated Defence Staff chief Air Marshal Balabadhra Radha Krishna who would merge the two flames, officials said. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 3.30 pm today.
The Amar Jawan Jyoti
The India Gate memorial was built by the British government in memory of the British Indian Army soldiers who lost their lives between 1914-1921. However, the Amar Jawan Jyoti was included in the memorial structure in the 1970s after the massive victory of India over Pakistan in which 93,000 troops of the enemy country surrendered.
The eternal flame known as Amar Jawan Jyoti was built in 1972 underneath the India Gate arch to commemorate the soldiers martyred in the Indo-Pak War of 1971. It is a memorial symbolised by an inverted bayonet and soldier's helmet over it with an eternal flame burning beside it.
The existence of Amar Jawan Jyoti was questioned two years ago after the National War Memorial came into being and the nation got a new eternal flame there.
Back then, the Indian Army had stated that Amar Jawan Jyoti will continue as it is an "inseparable" part of the country`s history.
Earlier, tri-services chiefs and visiting delegates used to pay respect at the Amar Jawan Jyoti. Even on all important days like Republic Day and Independence Day, tri-services chiefs used to pay respect at Amar Jawan Jyoti.
But with the new eternal flame at the National War Memorial and wreath-laying ceremony on all designated days being carried out at the memorial, the force will now merge the Amar Jawan Jyoti with the other.
The National War Memorial
After a long wait and multiple considerations, the National War Memorial - constructed over 40 acres at a cost of ₹ 176 crore - was built in the India Gate complex by the Narendra Modi government and was inaugurated in February 2019. After the inauguration of the building in War memorial, all military ceremonial events were shifted to it from the India Gate memorial.
The National War Memorial has the names of all the Indian Defence personnel who have lost their lives in different operations from the 1947-48 war with Pakistan to the Galwan valley clash with Chinese troops. The names of troops who lost lives in the counter-terrorist operations are also included on the walls of the memorial. In total, the names of 25,942 soldiers have been inscribed in golden letters on granite tablets.