Remembering the Param Virs

Remembering the Param Virs

News: With the renaming of 21 Andaman Islands after decorated soldiers, the islands have become more than just distant outposts of a vast country.

Background:
• On January 23, the birth anniversary of Subhas Chandra Bose, 21 of the largest unnamed islands in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands were named after soldiers who have been awarded India’s highest military honour, the Param Vir Chakra. 

What message was given by the PM on this occasion?
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the renaming conveyed a message about the “immortality of the sacrifices” that the soldiers of the Indian Army, all from different states, speaking different languages and dialects and leading different lifestyles had made, as they united “in the service of Maa Bharti” 
• Earlier in 2018, Ross Island had been renamed Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Island, and Neil Island and Havelock Island were, respectively, renamed Shaheed Dweep and Swaraj Dweep. 

Significance of renaming the Islands:
• The islands have become more than just distant outposts of a vast country — they become a way of making those 21 soldiers a part of the very geography of this land, memorialised in earth and water. 
• It will remind us of stories of Second Lieutenant Rama Raghoba Rane who, in the 1948 war with Pakistan, helped navigate a safe path for Indian tanks by crawling beneath one across a minefield.     
• The story of Major Shaitan Singh who, despite grievous injury continued to motivate his men and fight the enemy in 1962 war; of Company Quartermaster Abdul Hamid who, in 1965, helped destroy several Pakistani tanks before succumbing to injuries. 
• It will remind us of Captain Vikram Batra who On July 7, 1999, along with his company was tasked to capture a feature on Point 4875 in Ladakh. In a fierce hand-to-hand fight, he killed five enemy soldiers. Despite sustaining grave injuries, he led his men from the front in the face of heavy enemy fire, before attaining martyrdom. Inspired by his courageous act, his troops annihilated the enemy and captured Point 4875. 

Conclusion:
• Across the country and around the world, the sacrifices made by soldiers in the performance of their duties have been honoured in monuments and plaques. The naming of 21 Indian islands after 21 soldiers is an imaginative new way of continuing this tradition. 

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