In India memorials have regularly been in and out of public glare. The one for India’s police was to be a grand one at the northern end of Shanti Path but it turned out to be too grandiose and was ruled out as it would have overshadowed the dome of Rashtrapati Bhavan.
`A0A war memorial for defence personnel who have laid down their lives since August 1947 continues to remain an idea. Therefore, of significance is the recent unveiling of a dramatic memorial at BBC’s Bush House in London. Beaming into the night sky, it shines a light in memory of those killed in the line of duty, not of the armed forces but hundreds of journalists killed while reporting news.
More than 1,000 media
workers—an average of two a week—have died in the past decade.
Constructed in glass and steel, the structure is titled ‘Breathing’
and the inscription, in part, reads ‘Life turns and turns on the
crystal glass, silence is a voice, our voice.’ Two beams of light
similarly represented a 2004 memorial in New York to the dead in the
September 11 attack on the twin towers.
The history of war memorials is interesting. A Commonwealth War Graves Commission was set up towards the end of World War, I and today it still takes care of memorials and graves of the dead, encompassing 1.7 million war dead commemorated in 150 countries. The fundamental principles are that each dead should be commemorated individually by name either by a head stone over the grave or by an inscription on the memorial. No distinction is made on account of military or civil rank, race or creed. The theme is of common sacrifice and equal honour in death. Thus are remembered, by the War Graves Commission, the 1,60,000 war dead of undivided India, including Gurkhas.
War memorials are erected as the ‘ideal of fellowship in death crossing all boundaries of race, creed and wealth’. They commemorate in perpetuity the sacrifice of soldiers. Future generations would gaze in wonder upon them and remember. "Their glory shall not be blotted out", in the words of Rudyard Kipling.
A majority of our dead in this country have been in their twenties or early thirties. ‘They had not the opportunity to grow old as we, that are left, grow old.’ Let’s, therefore, just bury the old hatchets and work anew on our existing grand memorial arch known as India Gate and incorporate cylindrical or square crystal beacons around it.
Lights could be beamed into the night sky and names of the dead etched on the glass. The shafts of light will be a visual reminder of their sacrifice.
Visitors will be drawn to such a memorial by the beauty, the silence, by the fact that someone cares. They will then undoubtedly reflect and ponder the sad truth in the epitaph ‘’`85.for your tomorrow, we gave our today.’’