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Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Dear Veterans, Below is a mail from Lt Col Sundar, President, Tamil Nadu Ex Servicemen's Movement. It appears that Defence Forces have become irrelevant to the present Indian Society.
Warm regards.

Strangely the Nation seems to have forgotten that 07 Dec 2009 is the Sixtieth Anniversary of the Armed Forces Flag Day. Strangely too the IAS babus are still talking not about `observing' the Armed Forces Flag Day but, God forbid, about `celebrating' it. They seem to be blissfully unaware of the connotation and take it as a chance to collect money from the public.

The Chennai edition of Daily Thanthi (Tamil) dated 26 Nov 2009, carries a photograph of the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Mr. M Karunanithi contributing to the `Flag Day' with the Chennai Collector Ms. Shobana standing near by. The caption says that the contribution is for the `national unity and religious understanding flag day'.

They seem to have forgotten the Armed Forces!! That is `their' way of denigrating `us'.

Read on.


After the cessation of World War I, the miseries of innumerable deaths and incalculable destruction of properties also came to an end. Relieved of the hardships endured for years through the war, people decided to celebrate the end of the horrific war. Thus they came up with the idea of `Armistice Day' which was to be celebrated on the 11 November each year all over the word. The word Armistice, derived from Latin means truce or stoppage of war.

Legend has it that around Armistice day people noticed a large number of poppy plants with blooming flowers over the burial grounds of the soldiers who had laid down their lives during the war. Hence, the day was also called `Poppy Day'. On this day token paper poppies were sold to the public and the amount so collected was used for the welfare of the war veterans and their families.

After Independence the Defence Committee of the Cabinet took a landmark decision on 28 August 1949 to observe (instead of celebrate) Armed Forces Flag Day (instead of Poppy Day) on 07 December each year (instead of 11 November) each year. From then onwards 7 December is being observed as the Armed Forces Flag Day in our country. Thus Armed Forces Flag Day is supposed to be an old and honoured annual feature of our National life for the past sixty years while the Armistice Day is being celebrated as usual in many countries on 11 November.

The Cabinet Committee with far sighted vision unambiguously enunciated the three most important aspects which signified the observance of the Armed Forces Flag Day. They are:-

· To honour the valiant dead.

· To salute the veteran brave.

· To renew the pledge with all the personnel in active service of the Armed Forces of India.

The Cabinet Committee had the great vision to encompass all the three categories of Armed Forces Personnel in their enunciation viz., those who had made the Supreme Sacrifice of their lives yesterday for the sake of our today; the living veterans who had braved the inhospitable conditions of the deserts, glaciers, air and seas for 24 X 7 throughout the year so as to enable the countrymen to sleep comfortably in their homes; and the present day men and women in uniform who continue to do what their predecessors had done for years with greater grit and determination for the sake of the Nation even at the peril of their lives.

It is not known how this Armed Forces Flag Day was observed in the early period following the decision to switch from Armistice Day to the Armed Forces Flag Day. One can confidently believe that the observance of the annual feature could have been true to the letter and spirit. Especially, it must have been so after three wars in quick succession in the sixties and early seventies.

Against this backdrop, sixty years into our Independence it would be most pertinent to ponder over the following in the present day context:

· How are the valiant dead honoured?

· How are the disabled and the retired elders of the Armed Forces and their families treated by the people of our country, particularly those who have the responsibility to look after them?

· How does the nation stand by those who maintain eternal vigil to safeguard the integrity of our Nation, regardless of their personal safety?

Slowly but surely, people are becoming alive to this reality. The reality. The stark truths are no less for being unpalatable. it would require an audacious break with the immediate past or an extraordinary paradigm changing event to alter the reality of today.

Finally, it is not important who advocates particular views. What is important is to ascertain how far the views are true and relevant to the context and who stands to gain from such views, proposals and measures.

Lt Col Sundar,
Tamil Nadu Ex Servicemens' Movement.
 crsundar@gmail. com, 044-2229 0186, 93827 24663.
Dear Sir,

1. Col Sunder has projected very pertinent points for all Indians to ponder and propogate.In a strong Nation building,honour of soldiers who laid their lives for the country,Veterans and serving soldiers is of immense value for motivation to defend our Nation. Absence of such sentiments will adversely affect our security.Onus lies with the leaders and the beaurecrats.

2. Our Countrymen must learn from their counter parts in Europe and North America.11 November is celebrated as Veteran,s Day with what sentiments ,emotions and respect for the soldiers. Veterans wear their medals and are invited to Schools and Colleges to share their experineces.Corporates declare various concessions and hold special job fairs.Heads of the states issue messages to the Veterans .Strong Nations always respect their Veterans so that serving soldiers remain motivated to Defend National security.

3. We as Veterans can consider giving a call to the nation to observe 07 December as Veterans day.The same can be declared as a holiday to remember soldiers who laid their lives for the country and honour the Veterans who can contribute a lot towards Nation building with their vast experiences and dedication. A point for consideration by all.

Brig Nawab Singh

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