Mahadeep Singh Jamwal
The ‘Armed Forces Flag Day’ celebrated on 7th of December every year, can well be construed as an occasion to forge a link between the Indian Armed Forces and the civilian population. It is eagerly celebrated all through the nation expecting to tribute the valiant and martyred warriors, to salute the soldiers and also to revamp the concordance of people. This celebration plays an incredible part in improving the welfare of the army people of Indian military. When we seek the defence of our country, our expedition culminates at the services of the soldiers, airmen and sailors of India, who fought on the borders to safeguard the country’s honour. In Indian defence establishment, 15th January, 1st February, 8th October, 4th December and 7th December of every year have its own significances.
1. We celebrate, 15th of January every year as ‘Indian Army Day’. On this day in 1949; Field Marshall Kodandera Madappa Cariappa took over as the first Commander in Chief of the Indian Army from General Francis Butcher, who was the last British General of the Indian Army. The motto of the Indian Army is ‘Service Before Self’.
2. 1st February every year, we celebrate as ‘Indian Coast Guard Day’. On this day interim Indian Coast Guard was set up in 1977 that formally came into existence on 18th August 1978 after the passage of ‘Coast Guard Act’ in the Parliament. The motto of Indian Coast Guard is ‘We Protect’ or ‘Vayam Rakshamah’.
3. 8th October every year, we celebrate as ‘Indian Air Force Day’. On this very day in 1932, the Indian Air Force was officially established by the British Raj. The motto of the Indian Airforce is ‘Touch the Sky with Glory’.
4. 4th December every year, we celebrate as ‘Indian Navy Day’ as on this day in 1971 (During Indo-Pak War) the Indian Navy launched a tormenting attack, famously known as ‘Operation Trident’ at the Pakistani Naval Base at Karachi. The motto of the Indian Navy is ‘May the Lord of the Oceans be Auspicious unto us’ or ‘Sham NoVarunah’.
5. 7th December every year we celebrate as ‘Armed Forces Flag Day’. On the day voluntarily contributions are collected across India for welfare of armed forces personals.
The Indian Defence Forces have given us a plenty of reasons to be proud of them. Immediately after India achieved independence, the need to manage the welfare of its defence personnel was felt and as such on August 28, 1949, a committee under the Defense Minister decided to observe a Flag Day annually on December 7. The idea behind observing the Flag Day and sole purpose of celebrating this day was to distribute small flags to the general population, as it is also the responsibility of the civilian population of India to take care of the families and dependents of the armed forces personnel who fight for the country, and to procure funds for the welfare of the armed forces personnel by selling flag stickers. The original Flag Day Fund was set up in 1949, by the Defence Minister’s Committee. In 1993, the Defence Ministry of India consolidated related welfare funds into a single Armed Forces Flag Day Fund. The funds collected are used for rehabilitation of battle casualties, welfare of serving personnel and their families and resettlement and welfare of ex servicemen along with their families. This day, the nation commemorates its soldiers, airmen and sailors who laid down their lives to protect their motherland, fought on the borders to safeguard the country’s honour. The occasion Armed Forces Flag Day is planned to gather funds from the general population all through India just by offering the Indian unique beautiful flags, and stickers. It is the history of our nation, and it’s marked by the blood of those who died defending it. The Rajya / Zila Sainik Boards are responsible for policy formulation and implementation of resettlement and welfare schemes for ex-servicemen, widows and their dependents residing in their respective states / UTs / districts. The fund is operated by a Managing Committee presided over by the Defence Minister of India at the Centre and by the executive heads of the governments in the states and Union Territories. Presently ‘Armed Forces Flag Day’ has turned into a prestigious yearly festival in India. The fund collection is organised both by official and non-official means through voluntary organisations. The Armed Forces Flag Day celebration reinforces the social bond among the general population of India and the staffs of the military. The fund collection is managed throughout the country by the local arms of the ‘Kendriya Sainik Board ‘(KSB), which is part of the Ministry of Defence, the Indian Military workforce, volunteers from civil society, NGOs as well as small kids from educational institutions participating in circulating the Indian little and beautiful flags or vehicle flags with different colors like red, light blue, dark blue, indicating the three divisions of Indian Army all through the nation. Our flag is more than just cloth and ink. It is a universally recognised symbol that stands for liberty, and freedom.
We come across the narrative of late Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru then Prime Minister of India handed down on December 7, 1954: “A few weeks ago, I visited Indo-China and saw our officers and men attached to the International Commission there. It gave me a thrill to see their smart bearing and the good work they were doing in that distant land. What pleased me still more was their general popularity with the people there. By their efficiency as well as their friendliness, they enhanced the reputation of India. Among them were people from all parts of India. They observed no provincial or other differences amongst themselves. I am sure my countrymen will be pleased to learn of them and would like to indicate their appreciation of these young men who serve our country both here and elsewhere so well. A way to indicate that appreciation is to contribute to the Flag Day Fund”.
Concluding the script with a message that ‘Armed Forces Flag Day’ is an occasion to remember with gratitude the monumental sacrifices made by our gallant serviceman in defending the integrity of our mother land. Let us join hands and salute the martyrs, honour the brave, express solidarity and support towards the widows, children, disabled, blind and sick ex-servicemen by offering our voluntarily contribution towards the aim and objective of the day. Soldiers are the pride of the nation, whatever we do for them will always be little, in comparison to what they do for us. They are the one responsible behind safety and security of country people. Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it; it flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.
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