Saffron marigold a symbol of sacrifices

  • Category
    World Affairs
  • Published
    22nd Oct, 2018

Context

  • Saffron marigold has been adopted as India’s new symbol of remembrance for the sacrifices made by the Indian soldiers since First World War.
  • The colour will also be the symbol of India’s sacrifices when the world marks the centenary of the end of the First World War on 11thNovember 2018.

About

Why was saffron marigold colour chosen?

  • It is easily and widely available and is often seen as a colour of sacrifice.
  • It was proposed by India Remembers Project in 2016looking at marigold being widely promoted in all India-related commemorative events around the world.
  • The Great War Indian War Memorial to be inaugurated at Villers-Guislain in France has a bronze marigold wreath as an integral part of its design.
  • In the past, during official visits, like in the case of the visit of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to India in April 2016, marigold wreath was laid at India Gate.
  • The marigold has also been used across the UK, along with the poppy, as part of community engagement projects that seek to highlight India’s contribution in the First World War.

Need:

  • To have a uniquely Indian symbol that could allow citizens in India, as well as the international diaspora, to acknowledge the valour and sacrifice of the Indian armed forces in the service of the nation.
  • To acknowledge and commemorate the contribution of Indian soldiers in the two world wars.

India Remembers project:

  • It is a part of the ‘India and the Great War’ Centenary Commemoration project initiated by the USI in 2014 with the support of the Ministry of External Affairs and in close association with the British High Commission.
  • United Service Institution of India (USI) has collaborated with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) for the same.
  • As a nation-wide initiative, it is designed to raise awareness of the contribution and sacrifices made by India’s servicemen and women since 1914.
  • The project encourages diverse groups across India to discover, explore and remember the stories of India’s war dead.


    The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC):

    • It is an intergovernmental organisation of six independent member states whose principal function is to mark record and maintain the graves and places of commemoration of Commonwealth of Nations military service members who died in the two World Wars.
    • The Commission is also responsible for commemorating Commonwealth civilians who died as a result of enemy action during World War II.The Commission was founded by Sir Fabian Ware and constituted through Royal Charter in 1917 named the Imperial War Graves Commission.
    • The Commission operates through the continued financial support of the member states: United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa. The current President of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is Prince Edward, Duke of Kent.
    • With 2.5 million men, the Indian Army of the Second World War was the largest volunteer army in history. Indians served in theatres of war across the world: India and Burma; Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong; the Middle East and North Africa; Greece and Italy. They served at sea and in the air, as well as contributing to support and medical care.

    Some of the Cemeteries of Indian soldiers died during second world:

    • Taukkyan War Cemetery, Myanmar (Burma), is the final resting place of more than 1,820 of the Indian Army.
    • Kranji War Cemetery, Singapore, is the final resting place of more than 4,460 Second World War Commonwealth servicemen including nearly 670 of the Indian Army.
    • Cassino War Cemetery, Italy, is the final resting place of more than 4,270 Second World War Commonwealth servicemen including more than 430 of the Indian Army.

Significance

  • Symbolising the sacrifices of Indian soldiers through marigold colour will provide them a special place in the history of the nation, a means of commemoration in the present and will provide a repository of inspiration for the future generation.
  • The symbolization will instil national belongingness and sense of oneness not only among the citizens within the country but also for those Indians who are living in other parts of the world.
  • It will become the symbol of India’s constant struggle for brining world at peace and human losses it endured for international cause.
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