Dharamshala: As the nation celebrates 75th Anniversary of the historic quit India movement also known as ‘August Kranti’, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh dedicated the Rs 9.85 crore ‘War Museum’ at Civil Lines on Wednesday. At Dari he also laid the foundation stone of a Freedom Fighters Memorial. Speaking on the occasion the chief minister said, “I salutes the great heroes of freedom struggle, the valiant men and women of Himachal who became Martyrs and their families as well who equally contributed for sake of the country in one way or other right down from freedom struggle till date and all those valiant soldiers who sacrificed themselves for sake of the Nation.”
“The War Museum,” he said, “is a reminder of the sacrifices of the valiant soldiers of Himachal Pradesh, right from recipients of Victoria cross to Parmveer Chakra. Museum would provide a peep, a flashback to learn and know about the Nations first Param Vir Chakra recipient, the highest gallantry awardee, Major Somnath Sharma to late Captain Bikram Batra, Saurabh Kalia, and others who laid their lives for the sake of the Nation.”
Recalling valour of Kargil war heroes, he said that numerous sacrifices were made by soldiers from Himachal Pradesh and 52 brave sons from the soil of Himachal got martyrdom. These heroes will find mention in this War Museum to keep their sacrifices alive for generations to come and know about their valour.
The Chief Minister said wars are never welcome but sometimes it becomes inevitable and that is the time when our soldiers show their might to fight the enemies to save our borders. Remembering Mahatma Gandhi, he said that it was due the ‘do or die’ call given by him on 8th August in 1942 in his quit India speech in Mumbai, that the country attained freedom from colonial rule. Quit India Movement was an important milestone in the history of India’s freedom struggle, said Shri Virbhadra Singh.
Spread over a total area of 2190 square metre, the outside part of the Museum displays statue of General Zorawar Singh and murals of heroic deeds. The inner Hall houses busts of Vir Chakra awardees, Jamedar Bhandan Ram and Jamedar Lala with write ups of their legend on the wall in golden background. The busts of Param Vir and Vir Chakras include those of Major Somnath Sharma, Major Dhan Singh Thapa, aptain Vikram Batra, Major Sudhir Walia, Hony. Captain Sanjay Kumar. The Museum also houses photo gallery of all PVC recipients of the country besides medals of various gallantry award recipients including Victoria Cross, Ashok Chakra, Vir Chakra etc. There is also Ashoka Pillar of dimension 5×2 feet besides Pakistan captured flag, regimental flags, Medium Machine Guns etc.
However, request has been sent to Government of India for MIG-21 and display of other warfare machinery, said representatives of ‘State Martyrs Memorial Service and Development Society’ so as to give rightful attention to these revered and cherished monuments.
Brigadier Navdeep Brar welcomed the chief minister. Lieutenant General S K Saini and Major General VS Ranade, and former Chief of the Army Staff General (retd) VK Sharma were present on the occasion. Brigadier SK Pathak, speaking at the function recalled the heroic deeds of General Zorawar Singh, who was from Kehloor, Bilaspur.
Arvind Sharma is an award winning bi-lingual journalist with more than 20 years of experience.
He has worked with Divya Himachal, Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhasker, Vir Partap, Ajit and PTI.
In 2010, he was conferred the Himachal Kesri journalism award. He reports on the Tibetan Government in Exile, politics, sports, tourism and other topics. He lives in Dharamshala.