November 30, 2018 07:17 PM

Chandigarh (JS KALER)

The inspirational last words of Havaldar Ishar Singh raised emotions to a feverish pitch among the audience during the second day of the ongoing Military Carnival being held here in run-up to the much awaited Military Literature Festival 2018. 

The three-day Carnival is aimed at fostering a feeling of patriotism amongst youngsters while offering them a peep into the Army culture and legacy. 

Inspired by Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh's book `Saragarhi and the Defence of the Samana Forts: The 36th Sikhs in the Tirah Campaign 1897-98’, on the historic battle, the amazingly synchronized fusion of Light and Sound show brought alive the Battle of Saragarhi against the backdrop of a digital set, showcased on a 50 feet LED screen. 

The most famous Last Stand etched in the annals of Indian Military History had witnessed 22 gallant men of 36 Sikhs, now 4th Batallion of Sikh Regiment, choosing death over surrender in the attack by more than 10,000 Pashtun Orakzai tribesmen. 

The book penned by Captain Amarinder Singh inspired me to take up the subject, said Harbaksh Latta, who co-scripted the one hour show with Keshav Bhrata. Trying hard to contain his emotions after watching the show, Armaan, a city school student, said it seemed the battle of 12th September, 1897, was being fought live in front of his eyes though it actually happened more than a century ago. 

The one-hour light and sound show, choreographed by 45 artistes/actors, is predominantly in rural Punjabi language, which the soldiers who fought the Battle mainly spoke. The Pashtun soldiers are seen speaking rustic Urdu while the British use a mix of English and Hindi in the show. 

Besides several retired Army officials, the show were attended by Major General Army Service Core Western Command R S Purohit. 

Also evoking a sense of pride and achievement, especially amongst youngsters, was the Weapons Display at the Carnival, which showcased the artillery, armoured and engineering marvels of Indian Armed Forces, ranging from the 2008 Commissioned T 90 tank, Sweden make Bofors Gun, Howitzers and Medium Machine Guns (MMGs). 

Underlining the pace of technological advancement and defence preparedness of our forces were a host of equipment, including Quantum Sniffer, Non Linear Juncket Detectors, and amphibious Indian Combat Vehicle, which had played a significant role during the Kargil War. 

A 12 seater pneumatic boat, employed by the Army during wartime, besides the non radioactive based explosives detector used to identify the type of blast material, further evoked a sense of amazement and awe among the audiences. 

In another attraction of the day, gutsy horse riders of Army, NCC, Punjab Police, besides local city clubs, enthralled both the young and the old as they flamboyantly galloped past the fire fence, motorbikes and gypsies during the Equitation Show. 

Riding at breakneck speed of 800 meters per minute, Punjab Armed Police jawans, in the backdrop of piper band tunes played by 8 Sikh, showcased immaculate horse controlling skills during the Tent-pegging, drawing huge praise and appreciation from the audiences. 

In the six-bar show jumping, Army horseman Gurtej, riding horse Prince, attempted the fences with flair to exhibit absolute precision and speed, much to the delight of the onlookers. Later, synchronised performance of horses with jawans on bikes in the Musical Ride was thoroughly enjoyed by the crowds. 

The events are an endeavour to make the younger generation imbibe the spirit of courage and sacrifice made by the Indian soldiers in the line of duty, said Colonel Chahal, a member of the organizing teams. He described MLF as yet another product of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh's visionary leadership. More such events would be held in the future to create the much-needed awareness about the rich legacy of our defence forces, he added. 

The Carnival would roll into its third and final day tomorrow with various exciting events lined up for people from all walks of life. 

The Military Literature Festival is a joint initiative of the Punjab Government, led by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, and the Chandigarh Administration led by V P Singh Badnore, in collaboration with the Indian Army. The inaugural event held last year had elicited huge public response and appreciation.

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