Nearly six decades after it was first proposed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the National War Memorial (NWM) in Delhi on February 25, 2019. Read more about the NWM here:
- The National War Memorial is a monument constructed by the Government of India to honour the sacrifices made by Indian soldiers since Independence.
- The National War Memorial spread over 40 acres at the India Gate complex in the heart of the Delhi. The project has been executed at a cost of Rs 176 crore.
- The Chief Architect of the National War Memorial is Ar. Yogesh Chandrahasan of WeBe Design Lab, Chennai.
- The Memorial has five concentric circles, a 15.5 metre tall central stone obelisk, housing an eternal flame.
- This will be the second eternal flame, besides the one at the Amar Jawan Jyoti under the arch of India Gate. The flame, which represents the immortality of spirit of fallen soldiers, is positioned at the bottom of the stone-made obelisk.
- The centre of the complex lies at a lower level than the surrounding features.
- The Five concentric circles are named the ‘Amar Chakra, the Veerta Chakra, the ‘Tyag Chakra’ and the ‘Rakshak Chakra’
- The Amar Chakra has the stone-made obelisk that houses the eternal flame.
- 16 walls have been constructed in the Tyag Chakra for paying homage to the 25,942 martyred soldiers and their names have been inscribed on granite tablets arranged in a circular pattern, symbolizing the ancient Indian war formation ‘Chakravyuh’
- The outermost circle – the Rakshak Chakra comprises of rows of more than 600 trees with each tree representing many soldiers who guard the territorial integrity of the nation round the clock.
- Six murals, made by noted sculptor Ram Sutar, depicting famous battles fought by the Army, Air Force and Navy have been put up in a gallery in the Veerta Chakra. The Veerta Chakra zone facing the 156.5-m obelisk is housed inside the sunken area, and a flight of steps takes visitors down to it from the surface level.
- Besides, the main complex, a Param Yoddha Sthal has also been built on the northern side of the India Gate’s C-Hexagon area. The park is dotted with bronze busts of the 21 awardees, fifteen posthumously, of the Param Veer Chakra, country’s highest wartime gallantry medal.
- The National War Memorial is being moulded as a “national centre for civilian engagement and reverence for the forces”. Over 250 people will be able to visit it at a time.
Why NWM is needed?
- There was no single national memorial to commemorate the sacrifice of fallen soldiers after independence.
- The India Gate itself is a war memorial built by the British Government as the All India War Memorial Arch to honour the soldiers who died in the First World War (1914-1918) and the Third Anglo-Afghan War (1919). The landmark has the names of soldiers inscribed on its surface.
- The Amar Jwan Jyoti was built underneath the India Gate to commemorate the martyred and unknown soldiers of the Indian Armed Forces who died during the war. The memorial was constructed in December 1971 and inaugurated by Indira Gandhi in 1972.
- There was always an inexorable requirement of having our own war memorial to pay tribute to our soldiers killed in the Indo-China War in 1962, Indo-Pak Wars in 1947, 1965 and 1971, Indian Peace Keeping Force Operations in Sri Lanka and in the Kargil Conflict in 1999. The new National War Memorial is built to pay homage to the martyred soldiers in post independent India’s wars.
- The NWM also commemorates the soldiers who participated and made supreme sacrifice in the UN Peace Keeping Missions, during Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Operations, counter-insurgency operations and Low Intensity Capital Operation (LICO).
- Amar Jawan Jyoti will remain there but the NWM will be the place to pay tributes to soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country.
- The proposal for a National War Memorial was first made in 1960s. The demand was repeated several times in the decades that followed.
- In 2006, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government constituted Group of Ministers’ (GoM) headed by Pranab Mukherjee to examine the demand for a National War Memorial. In 2006 the Defence Ministry decided that the war memorial should be set up in the vicinity of India Gate.
- The Group of Ministers (GoM) in August 2012 recommended “C” Hexagon of India Gate as the appropriate location for the memorial.
- The Union Cabinet gave in-principle approval for Rs 500-crore project in October 2015.
- During the Joint Session of Parliament in 2014, the President had made a commitment of building a national war memorial
- In 2016, an International competition was held on MyGov.in web portal to decide the design of the Memorial.
- In March 2017, jury led by architect Christopher Benninger picked entry by Yogesh Chandrahasan of WeBe Design Ltd.
- In 2018 February NCC Ltd, Hyderabad began construction in with Yogesh Chandrahasan as Project Consultant. The construction of National War Memorial was completed on January 1, 2019.