National war memorial a project that took a long time to establish
My Times Today.The memorial could have been conceptualised, initiated, erected and dedicated to the nation earlier. Most nations have war memorials dedicated to their soldiers who make supreme sacrifice while defending their nation.We have had four wars with Pakistan and one with China since Independence, which are in the conventional category. Besides, we have had so many wars of non-conventional category, like insurgencies and internal disaffection. Militancy, terrorism, extremism of religious kind as well Left wing violent extremism, etc. This may not be conventional warfare but indeed our brave jawans are deployed from the security forces. The soldiers do supreme sacrifices in their line of duty. It doesn’t matter what is the nature or nomenclature of warfare. The soldier dies and that is the truth.
In these type of challenging situations, the task is more difficult than conventional warfare. Here, the aggressor in most cases is your own countryman, except say in cases of terrorism and Kashmir, where I would reserve this overwhelming generalisation.
These bravehearts have to face extreme provocations like stone pelting, derisive references, etc, and also be under the scanner of hawk-eyed, so-called human rights activists. It is a different issue that these human rights activists at times get invited to diplomatic receptions and iftaar parties hosted by the High Commissioner of the perpetrating nation. At these receptions, they never convey a single sentence to their host to stop supporting and triggering such militant, terrorist and disaffection related activity from their soil.
The Ministry of Defence has been chasing this memorial for quite some time. I am privy to it. In 2012, I was posted as Deputy Land and Development Officer of the Government of India. It is in this time span I was exposed to this proposal.
The issue on which I got involved was how to regulate the title or allotment of land to this proposal. This has to be the starting point of the entire project. The Ministry of Urban Development had to vest the title of land through the elaborate procedure laid down to allot the land to Ministry of Defence. Only after that the process of project planning and approvals could begin.
We had one Brigadier, who later was promoted to Major General, keenly following up the proposal with us. Every time, some or the other agency would object to it and the case was never allowed to ripen.
The heads of these agencies were political appointees who were bidding their political masters agenda. Hence during the same time period, Ambedkar International Centre proposal got approved. The denotification of 123 waqf properties were approved. As I said, both these proposals could be pandering to vote banks but a war memorial would not fetch them votes.
Hence, the government of the day would create some hurdle or other in land allotment process. In fact, a Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Urban Development, my boss, had his assignment changed from Joint Secretary (Land) to Joint Secretary (Urban Transport) in February 2013 only for batting for this proposal and not batting for the proposal for de-notification of 123 waqf properties. These are all facts which can be corroborated through obtaining the information through