Monday, March 01, 2010

My visit to India Gate

Recently I went on a trip to Delhi.India Gate was topmost in my list of places to visit,which included some historical monuments like Red Fort,Rashtrapati Bhavan,Qutub Minar and Parliament.
India Gate was built by the British,the erstwhile colonial rulers of India, as a war memorial to the Indian soldiers who had fought alongside the British troops in World War I and the Afghan wars.After India gained independence from the British, India Gate became the site of the Indian Army’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier or the Amar Jawan Jyoti(Flame of the Immortal Soldier),which burns in a shrine under the arch of India Gate.The shrine is made of black marble and is a cenotaph,with a rifle placed on it.On the rifle sits a soldiers helmet.On all four sides of the cenotaph are inscribed the words Amar Jawan(Immortal Soldier).The names of gallantry award winners are mentioned on the bricks of India Gate.
I had seen the India Gate on TV but that day I stood right in front of it. I could feel a sense of pride when I saw the names of the Indian soldiers on its walls.These were the soldiers who had fought many a war against oppressive regimes and invaders. They had sacrificed their lives for the idea of freedom and liberty during the maddening days of World War I, when humanity was kicked around at the cost of millions of lives.I could only bow my head in respect to the great heroes of India who had sacrificed their lives to ensure a better tomorrow for future generations.Standing alongside me were hundreds of other tourists, who too were thrilled to see this historical monument. Young children were giggling and dancing. Some of them were local school children, who had probably come over on a day trip. Most of the tourists, who were from the post World War II generation, had only heard of the mayhem and destruction caused during the two great wars. They all had come to see this magnificent structure, which today stands as a symbol of a nation’s gratitude to its soldiers who fought in World War I.
In front of the India Gate are three flags, each signifying the three armed forces of Independent India. I also saw soldiers marching around the memorial. Some of the soldiers were generous enough to pose for pictures with the ecstatic children. They were aware of the excitement their guns had created amongst the little ones.
It was soon time for me to leave. Before leaving I had a last look at the names on the Gate. A silent thank you was followed by a salute. As I left, I promised myself that I would come back soon. I await the day when I shall go back to visit this symbol of sacrifice and bravery.

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