The 50-year-old eternal flame of India just merged with another memorial flame. Here's why

As the eternal flame of Amar Jawan merges with that of the National War Memorial, here is the history behind it and the reason why they are merging

 |  3-minute read |   22-01-2022
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The eternal flame at the Amar Jawan Jyoti War Memorial in India’s capital Delhi, has been merged with the flame at The National War Memorial. This National War Memorial will now serve as the ultimate memorial for all martyrs of the armed forces as it will continue the legacy of all martyred Indian soldiers.





Delhi had two flame memorials dedicated to the martyrs of the armed forces– one is the Amar Jawan Jyoti, which has been burning for more than five decades and the other is the National War Memorial, which was inaugurated in 2019.


The Amar Jawan Jyoti was created in 1972, to mark India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 War, which also created Bangladesh. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had inaugurated it on the Republic Day in 1972. The flame at the Amar Jawan Jyoti was beneath the India Gate in Delhi and was an iconic symbol for the nation. It reflected the nation's tribute to the soldiers who died for the country in countless wars and conflicts. You might remember seeing the Amar Jawan Jyoti visuals at the start of every Republic day and Independence day live TV coverage. 


The National War Memorial was inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi in 2019 and was built to commemorate ALL soldiers who have laid down their lives in the various battles, wars, operations at a national level for Independent India.



The India Gate was built by the British in 1921 as a memorial for around 90,000 Indian soldiers of the British Indian Army, who had died in several wars and campaigns. As it was a memorial for the Indian soldiers killed in wars, the Amar Jawan Jyoti was established underneath it by the government in 1972.




The Amar Jawan Jyoti was made of a black marble plinth, and a cenotaph, which acted as a tomb of the unknown soldier. The plinth had an inverted self-loading rifle with a bayonet, on top of which was a soldier’s war helmet. The installation had four urns with four burners on it. On normal days one of the four burners were kept alive, but on important days all four burners were lit which is why it was called the eternal flame. The flame that was never allowed to be extinguished was kept alive with the help of cylinders of liquified petroleum gas (LPG) till 2006, after which the LPG was changed to Piped Natural Gas (PNG).

The Eternal Flame. Photo:TwitterThe Eternal Flame. Photo:Twitter

For 50 years, the flame had been burning beneath the India Gate, but was merged with another eternal flame at the National War Memorial on 21st Jan 22.



As per the government, the flame is not extinguished but moved to be merged with the one at the National War Memorial. As the National War Memorial houses all the names of all Indian martyrs (including those from the 1971 war and the other wars before and after 1971) , this is the place where a proper tribute is possible. Also political leaders, foreign dignitaries and military leaders have been paying their respects at the National War Memorial instead of the Amar Jawan Jyoti since 2019. Thus the two flames were merged to be one. This brings all attention to the National War Memorial. The India Gate, The War Memorial and Amar Jawan Jyoti are also a part of government's redevelopment of the entire Central Vista.  



When this year's Republic Day coverage is broadcasted live, for the first time ever, the country will miss seeing the Amar Jawan Jyoti visuals on TV. But soon, the country will witness the statue of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose at India Gate. Till the actual statue is installed, a hologram will be projected at the site. 


What do you think of this merging of two flames? 


Akshata Kamath Akshata Kamath @akshispublished

Akshata Kamath is a Digital Storyteller at DailyO. She loves to simplify Finance, Business, Healing and History.

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