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India must honour its soldiers with a war memorial

Shekhar Gupta
Shekhar GuptaSep 27, 2015 | 18:19

India must honour its soldiers with a war memorial

#SundayPic: That India has failed to build a proper war memorial for its soldiers, though more than 60,000 have sacrificed their lives in various wars and insurgencies is a genuine complaint.

There is also debate on what kind of memorial it should be. Should it be something grandiose in the celebratory tradition of the subcontinent's grand arches or towers? Or should it be something more understated?

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A close-up: no ranks, regiments, actions. Just names, chronological. 

I like the Vietnam War Veterans Memorial in Washington DC for it calm, solemn approach to honouring soldiers who laid down their lives in line of duty. No ranks, regiments, actions involved, just names engraved on granite slabs chronologically, in order in which they died.

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Families find named if their own, pray tributes, leave wreaths and bouquets. 

I like the idea that war memorials should be about soldiers and not mere wars, about honouring sacrifice and expressing national gratitude for it, rather than a celebration of victory. India should build its own memorial in New Delhi soon. I hope it will be solemn and soldierly rather than jingoistic and militaristic. What are your suggestions/views?

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It is probably the most understated but touching war memorials ever. And it us about a war that must Americans hated, and also ended up losing.

(This post first appeared in Shekhar Gupta's Facebook page.)

Last updated: September 28, 2015 | 11:48
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