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Happy New Year 2012

, by indianmilitaryveterans


“I greet all Indian Armed forces Veterans on the joyous occasion of New Year 2012.


May the New Year bring peace, prosperity and happiness to all.”

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All five battle sites offend Anglo-Sikh War memory
Prabhjot Singh/TNS

Ferozepur, December 30
Surrounded by heaps of garbage, cow dung and vegetative growth stands a memorial commemorating one of the Anglo-Sikh Wars fought in this area. Located in Misriwal village, it was recently renovated under a Central government-funded scheme for restoring dignity to all Anglo-Sikh War Memorials in the state.

There are five such memorials - Ferozeshah, Mudki, Saragarhi, Sabraon, Misriwal - and none is in any better shape. Central funds, however, helped raise new boundary walls, besides some urgent renovation work. The debris from the repairs, however, has not been cleared.
The recently-renovated war memorial at Mudki. Tribune photos


The Misriwal War Memorial is a classic case of neglect. There is no approach road to the site that is 20 m off the main road. Unless one knows the way, it is impossible to locate the complex, as there is no indicator on the main road. A neon-lit signboard that greets visitors is blank, awaiting a brief write-up on the history. Other memorials too do not have such information.

The 10-foot-high brick-lime structure, even after renovation, is in a shambles in the absence of any attendant. A storm water gulley lies uncovered.

Further down the road is the famous Mudki War Memorial, which again is undergoing renovation. In the absence of any literature, and the information board being blank, a visitor is at a loss here too regarding the significance of the monument.

Unlike the other memorials, the Mudki memorial has been provided with accommodation for a full-time attendant. The huge triangular minar that symbolises triumph of the British over the Sikhs in the historic Anglo-Sikh War is often ignored by the Sikhs, says the attendant, Sukhdev Singh, for “Sikhs believe it symbolises their defeat at the hands of the British.” The monument was raised in 1870, almost 25 years after the war.

He adds: “Sikhs think the memorial was in fact built by the British to remind them of their defeat. They, thus, pay tributes to the Sikh soldiers at a gurdwara in Mudki raised in their memory. Outside the gurdwara, the history of the war is written, where the treachery of some Sikh generals that led to the defeat is highlighted. The gurdwara memorial also pays tributes to the valour and courage of the Sikh army that fought gallantly despite being outnumbered.”

Sukhdev suggests the government should post the complete history even at the memorial raised by the British and organise visits for students to all war memorials.

The Mudki memorial, however, does not have connectivity problems. It is situated on the main road and the tall monument is visible from a distance.

The Mudki gurdwara memorial had come up on a piece of land donated by a tehsildar, Bachittar Singh, in 1930. The “Nishan Sahib” that was initially 51 ft, is today 111 ft high. A mela is organised there in the Bikrami month of Poh. The gurdwara now also houses a degree college for girls and an English-medium school.

The Ferozeshah War Memorial too looks dilapidated despite the renovation. Located on a piece of land adjoining the village gurdwara, it now has a boundary wall and a gate. But in the absence of an attendant or information on the memorial, there is hardly any visitor.

The triangular memorial minar here too is as high as Mudki, but the limestone bearing the name and year of the Ferozeshah battle lies shattered.

The war memorial at Sabraon too is in similar shape.

At Saragrahi, there is only a gurdwara to commemorate the valour and sacrifice of the Sikh soldiers.

Director, Cultural Affairs, Karamjit Singh Sra said: “We are trying to work out a plan so that tourists and those interested in Sikh history could get a complete package of all war memorials and war museums in the state. Since I have also been named Director, Tourism, we will soon do something to address the problem.”

(With inputs from Anirudh Gupta, Ferozepur)

(Series concluded)
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20111231/nation.htm

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Defence Ministry rejects Army Chief’s plea on age

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Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 30
Rejecting the Army chief General VK Singh’s statutory complaint seeking an amendment to his date of birth, the Ministry of Defence has made it clear that it would not disturb the status quo at this stage. General VK Singh retires in five months from now - in May 2012. The Army Chief has the option of a legal recourse.
The opinion of the ministry has been conveyed to Defence Minister AK Antony who will then forward the same to the Army chief, sources said tonight.
In August, General VK Singh had filed a 500-page statutory complaint with the Defence Minister seeking a re-examination of his date of birth. The Army Chief in his complaint had asked the minister take a decision on his date of birth purely on the basis of merit and available evidence.
The compliant was the consequence of an order issued by the ministry on July 22. It declared that the year of General Singh’s birth was 1950 and not 1951 as he had claimed.
The ministry in its latest decision has attached the observations of Attorney General GE Vahanvati on the issue. The Attorney General had said there could be no change in Army chief’s date of birth.
He had opined that the chief’s complaint filed under the Army Act was not maintainable. The matriculation certificate could not be the sole basis changing date of birth at this stage.
The controversy on VK Singh’s age surfaced in 2008 when he was considered for appointment as the Eastern Army Commander. The Adjutant General's branch - the official record keeper for salary and pension - has been following 1951 as Singh’s DoB, while the Military Secretary branch, which looks after promotions and postings, shows it as 1950.
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