How does one define patriotism? Chanting an anthem once a year? Wearing a paper flag purchased on the roadside? Singing patriotic songs at a variety entertainment show?
Or how about a donation to an orphanage? You don’t even have to leave your home. A few clicks on your mouse, an on-line donation made, and your patriotic duty is done. And you get a tax exemption too, from a grateful nation.
Now you can hop into your Honda City, join your friends in that Independence Day theme-party, toss down a few pegs of Glenfiddich, gorge on malai kabab, and have deep meaningful arguments about the pathetic state of our country. And spend more on a single evening’s booze, than most of my countrymen earn in an entire year.
Independence is not a free gift. Someone fought for it. Someone died for it. And that someone was certainly not me. Nor you. It is a fact I never forget.
This year therefore, I put in a long-pending visit to the National Military Memorial Park. Located at Chowdiah Road, opposite the Planetarium, the park is a unique tribute to our armed forces.
The center of attraction is India’s largest flag. It measures a huge 48×72 feet, weighs 32 kg and flutters atop a massive flagpole at a height of 65 meters. This enormous tricolor is referred to as a ‘monumental flag’, that is, it is not lowered at dusk unlike normal flags. This flag remains hoisted 24×7 and is illuminated at night.
Even on Independence Day, the park was almost empty. What a pity. That did give me the opportunity though, to shoot pictures at leisure. Here is a selection.
This is Akash. India’s surface-to-air missile. Developed by Defence Research andDevelopment Organisation (DRDO), this supersonic SAM is as good as any of its imported counterparts, but costs less than half.
Nag is DRDO’s anti-tank missile. Regarded as one of the most advanced in its class, Nag is a guided missile system designed for the Indian airforce and army.
Brahmos is India’s flagship missile. Developed in collaboration with Russia’s NPO, Brahmos is the world’s fastest cruise missile.
You will see many other commemorative specimens, like this well preserved tank.
And this MiG fighter jet from the 1970’s.
National Military Memorial Park is right at the center of the city and well connected. All the Volvo buses bound for the airport pass through here, and there is no dearth of autorickshaws. Of late, the BMTC has launched Bangalore Rounds, a circular luxury bus route covering major tourist locations in the city, including the park. These buses pass by the park every half-hour.
Make it a point to visit this place, and pay your dues to those who gave up their lives, so that you could enjoy yours.
Cheers … Srini.