War Museum Hosts Cultural Activities, Sessions for Students || SIKH VOGUE

  • Edited by
  • Dec 03, 2019


In the run-up to the Military Literature Festival, 2019, scheduled to be held in Chandigarh from December 12 to 15, the Punjab State War Memorial and Museum hosted cultural activities and sessions by military historians for students and families of the armed forces. The two-day event was kicked off at the War Memorial and Museum with Major General Raj Mehta and historian Prof Radha Sharma sharing some anecdotes from some of the historic battles.Talking about the Battle of Naushera fought between Khalsa forces led by Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Afghan tribals in 1823, Radha Sharma shared the history of one of the greatest military victories of Sikh Khalsa forces. “The battle was fought between Pathan tribes of the Yusufzais, Khattaks and Afridis and Maharaja Ranjit Singh armies. Prince Sher Singh, son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Hari Singh Nalwa led the battalion and the Battle of Attock fought by Maharaja Ranjit Singh was historic as well. Great Sikh warriors, including Akali Phula Singh and Hari Singh Nalwa, needed to be re-introduced to the younger generation through such endeavours. Punjab, a land that has always been vulnerable to foreign invaders, has a rich martial legacy that needs to be shared with the current generation as a reminder of the past.” Major General Raj Mehta, an illustrious former serviceman, also shared some interesting war stories from his time while serving in insurgency-torn Kashmir.

The highlight of the day was the screening of a documentary, Half Moon Stories, an account of recorded messages of the prisoners of war during World War I at the Half Moon Camp in Germany. The audience that included families of serving officers and students listened to the voices of the Indian soldiers held captive in Germany during World War I and how they missed their families and shared their stories. “It was heartening to listen to these voices and their stories more than 100 years ago, talking about their home and what they missed about it,” said Col HP Singh, project director, War Memorial and Museum.The recordings were kept at Humboldt University’s Sound Archive, Lautarchiv, Berlin, until they were de-classified and made public. The documentary featured voices of 70 Indian soldiers, including those from Amritsar, Mogam and Ludhiana who were serving in 15th Ludhiana Sikhs, 47th Sikhs and 4th Gurkha Rifles during the time, along with detailed information of the soldiers. The documentary was screened by Col Praminder Singh Randhawa, who had researched on the project.

Brig Satinder Singh (retd), director, Defence Services Department, said next year, bigger events would be planned for the War Memorial and Museum under the Military Literature Festival. “Given the significance of Amritsar as an important military as well as historical city with a great martial legacy, it serves as a perfect setting for organising such events. Also, the young generation should be made aware of the India’s military heritage.”

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