At India Gate lawns, a festival of military valour | Delhi News

New Delhi: “I would like to thank the Indian Army for constantly fighting for our safety and ensuring our protection while risking their own lives,” wrote 12-year-old Pragati Rawat on the white wall displaying messages from the public to the armed forces.

‘Parakram Parv’, commemorating the second anniversary of the successful surgical strikes conducted by the Indian Army across the Line of Control (LoC), is being celebrated from September 28 to 30 at India Gate lawns. On September 29, 2016, the Indian Army carried out surgical strikes on seven terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) as a response to an attack on its base in Uri earlier that month.

The three-day celebrations are being held in 51 cities across the country, including the main event organised at India Gate lawns. Adorned with the colors of the national flag and photographs depicting the valour and courage of the armed forces, the lawns are brought to life by live music performances and patriotic songs playing in the background. Exhibitions include various stalls displaying equipment of the three military services including ships, submarines and arms, a display of seized weapons of militants, and ‘selfie walls’ featuring cutouts of uniformed men.

Manoj Nair, a north Delhi resident, brought his two children — aged seven and 12 — to the event as he feels it’s important to instill a sense of patriotism in children at a young age. “Children need to be sensitised about the bravery and sacrifice of the military forces. Only through lessons of responsibility towards the country will they understand the true meaning of independence.”

Large screens placed at various spots across the lawns showed a portion of the original footage of the strikes. “These clips make me feel proud of the armed forces. They put their lives at risk to ensure our safety, but rarely do we get to see the military valour being celebrated,” said Shyam Gupta, a resident of Moti Bagh.

Several educational institutions across the city are also participating in the celebrations, at the directions of the University Grants Commission. Deepanshi Varma, a student of Deshbandhu College, said, “As a member of National Service Scheme (NSS), I’m thrilled to be a part of the event. It’s a wonderful opportunity for students like us to engage with the armed forces and learn about their sacrifices. We also had a movie screening and a special parade by the NCC in the morning.”

Aarti Sharma, a Class X teacher from Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, is hopeful that her students would be inspired by the courage and gallantry displayed by the Army at the border. “We encourage interaction between children and defense personnel, which will help them recognise their service and may also inspire then to serve the country.”

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