India’s first Military Literature Festival took off to an exciting start on Friday, as Punjab Governor VPS Badnore formally declared it open with the hope that it would prove to be a powerful platform, especially for the younger generations, to know and learn about the country’s rich and glorious military legacy, and get inspired to become a part of the valiant armed forces.A large number of leading military leaders, veterans, thinkers, scholars, writers, journalists, war correspondents, historians, poets, artists, composers, researchers and industrialists have come together to share their experiences and insights on this unique platform, which, the Governor hoped, would also provide an opportunity to children, especially from remote areas, to interact with armed forces personnel, veterans and military experts. Badnore congratulated Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, an ex-army captain and leading military historian, for staging the festival, which has showcased the indomitable spirit of Punjabis and their unparalleled contribution to India’s freedom struggle.
The Governor pointed out that many millennia of warfare spawned tales and poems of courage, honour and sacrifice sung by bards to this day. Between the rivers Asikni and Vipasa, or modern Chenab and Ravi, lived a tribe called the Bharatas who gave their name to the longest poem of warfare in the world, the ‘Mahabharata’ and also to ‘Bharat’ that is India, he said, adding that this land has also given birth to great saints, sages, warriors and kings alike. In more recent times, it was Punjab that gave over a million people to fight for India’s safety, since its independence in 1947, Badnore pointed out.Badnore further said that courage and valour were common to all nations, as they all respect the brave and steadfast. Warfare however is not all about fighting but also its avoidance, he said, reminding the audience of Sun Tsu’s dictum that the finest battle is one that is won without having been fought.Badnore saluted and honoured the three living recipients of Paramvir Chakra, country’s highest award for gallantry, namely Captain Bana Singh, Subedar Joginder Yadav and Naib Subedar Sanjay Kumar.
Speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal said that Punjab had been proudly known as the sword arm of India. The state has the finest and the most efficient soldiers and veterans, who have made us proud with their exceptional acumen and expertise in warfare while defending the country from internal as well external aggression, he added.Badal hoped that this Military Literature Festival would go a long way in imbibing a spirit of patriotism and nationalism amongst youngsters, besides motivating them to opt for the Army as their career.The Finance Minister said that, under the visionary leadership of Captain Amarinder Singh, Punjab would soon emerge as one of the front runner states in ushering an era of all-round development, prosperity and peace. Lt. General Surinder Singh AVSM, General Officer Commanding in Chief, Western Command said that, going forward, the festival would be further upgraded on a large scale to elicit maximum participation of the military academia and experts from across the country to make civilians aware of the Indian Military’s glorious past, besides keeping them updated on the various ongoing military activities in order to dispel apprehensions and misinformation from their minds. He said it was the need of the hour to educate people about the defence preparedness of the country.The proceedings of the inaugural session were conducted by Lt. Gen T. S. Shergill, senior advisor to Chief Minister.The Festival has been organised jointly by Punjab Government, Chandigarh Administration and Western Command of the Indian Army.