Lure of money and luxury has weaned away the youth from a sense of adventure and pride in choosing a career in the armed forces, feels Capt. D.P.Ramachandran, a war veteran. He founded ‘Colours of Glory’, a unique initiative to carve a niche for the armed forces, in people’s hearts and minds. The captain shares a wealth of information on how our military prowess has not found a place in history, while in truth we won all the wars for the British. Excerpts from his reminisces in a chat with Adyar Times…..
What motivated you to found ‘Colours of Glory’?
The tradition of our courage, valour and sacrifice in war has slowly faded from the minds of our people. Our mission is to promote public awareness of our proud military heritage by glorifying war heroes through literature and art forms, military tourism, and events to improve collective consciousness of our countless battles and military expertise.
What was the Indian Jawan’s role in World War I?
In Burma, when the British were chased to Kohima, it was the Indian sepoys who stonewalled the Japs. Japanese are ferocious fighters and they found their match in Indians. This was acknowledged by a visiting Japanese General in 1975, at Nagaland.
Was the strength of Indian army a threat to the British in India?
Very much. They feared that the army would rise in union. Gandhi was able to reach out to the common man across the nation and promote unity.
What made so many youngsters join the army then; that kind of fervour is not seen these days?
In 1750’s there was no united India or any army for that matter; just internal quarrels for petty reasons. Rajahs were busy building temples and palaces not caring to upgrade their combat capabilities. These footloose soldiers were fascinated by the modern warfare and joined the British and French just for adventure, money, and also to travel to far off places. We are trying to restore the fading glory of the Military. Earlier, the Commanders-in-Chief of the armed forces were second only to the Viceroy. Now, the Second-in-Command is the Cabinet Secretary and the chief of Defense ranks much lower than the bureaucrats. Our honour has been undermined and privileges were tapered, sadly.
So many ‘untold stories’ about our courage…..
True. Recently we traced the descendant of Subhedar Subramaniam who was the first Indian recipient of the ‘George Cross’ medal (1944) awarded by the British. He was leading a group of jawans when he discovered a ‘mine’. It was too late to warn others; so he threw himself on it to save them. We found his son O.S.Durailingam and honoured him.
Joining the British army did open new vistas for Indians, didn’t it?
Many people from Nagaland, a very secluded State, joined the French army. When they saw the status of women in France, they realised their naivety. A letter was released from the French archives recently; it was written by a Punjabi to his family at home. It said, “Send my sister to school”. There is no denying the fact that the Britishers put together India. They created the Indian army.
Why don’t our filmmakers create war movies like in Hollywood?
We do not have writers or filmmakers to take up our valour as a storyline. That is why youngsters think bravery is the trait of the West. Even the few films they produce are nonsensical and far from reality. In one box office hit movie they showed two Tanks, Pakistani and Indian, with the respective Generals standing and abusing each other. The concept of warfare itself was ridiculed in that scene.
What do you wish to say to youth of today?
We are a strong modern military today. We have the geographical advantage of a long coastline and a powerful Navy. More youngsters should volunteer to join the Forces and empower our Nation.
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