India 29 August 2016 “There is very little awareness about the history of our armed forces among the public in India. Therefore our younger generation tends to form an impression that heroic feats of war and traditions of gallantry are more or less a western trait, they having been fed mostly on western literature and movies on war.” said Lt. Gen. Jagbir Singh, GOC, Southern Command, while formally inaugurating the Military Heritage Website, created by Glory Foundation. “This starkly contrasts the facts because the Indian Armed Forces have an extremely rich legacy of having had been among the finest fighting forces in the world right from their origins dating back to the 18th Century.”
Captain D. P. Ramachandran, a veteran of the 1971 Indo- Pakistan war and the Executive Trustee of the Glory Foundation, who currently lives in Chennai, said, “the war heroes of the South hold great significance to the History of India. We hope to generate interest in military history through the specialty portal – www.coloursofglory.org and various activities of the Foundation. The Foundation will conduct various awareness programs across the country, commencing with major metros, to educate the people about our military history and heritage. The programs will be in the nature of exhibitions, seminars and talks, film shows, sound-and-like shows and the like.
He added, “The Foundation is also planning battle re-enactments or military tattoos, which used to take place in Madras (Chennai) before Independence. The British, for instance, arranged a military tattoo of the Siege of Madras in 1946. We want to bring those enactments back.”
According to Brig. K Sampath “There are so many stories to tell, like the Battle of Adyar. This battle led to the creation of the Indian army. The Madras Army was the first that the British created in India. This was followed by the Bengal army and then the Bombay army because troops from North India would refuse to cross the blackwater (sea) but the Madras soldiers were willing to travel. Not many people remember these facts.”
He added, “Our armed forces also have the rare distinction of having had been perpetually in combat all through their history, whether fighting within India and the rest of Asia under the English East India Company or fighting for the British Crown in battlefields, almost all over the world during the two World Wars, or fighting India’s post independence wars.”
Commodore R. S. Vasan said, “The lack of awareness of our military heritage among people at large is mainly because of the lack of writers or movie makers who took an interest in military and warfare. Most of military history has been written by western authors who saw things from their perspective and felt no big compulsion to dwell on the exploits of Indian troops. The tales of the saga of Indian troops in European theatre during the First World War is only gradually emerging now, that too thanks to some researchers of Indian origin in Europe taking up the cause. And if we go back any further into the histories of the army, navy and air force, most people draw an absolute blank.”
According to Air Marshal S. Varthaman, “It is a very sad that while we celebrate our heritage in almost every other field, we have no time to remember the forbearers of our men and women in arms who stand as sentinels of the nation’s security whether over land, in sea or up in the air. This general lack of appreciation of the defense forces besides breeding complacence about matters of national security, erodes the values of patriotism and national honour. It also diminishes the attraction for the armed forces as a career option for young men and women.”
From L to R: War Veterans - Air Marshal S. Varthaman, Comm. R.S. Vasan, Brig. K Sampath , & Capt. DP Ramachandran (all retired) addressing the Media at the launch at the Sainik Institute, Fort