The English dictionary defines ‘pilgrimage’ as a journey to the sacred place. So I won’t be wrong in saying that today I went on a pilgrimage to the newly constructed National War Memorial in New Delhi.
I call my journey a pilgrimage because here, in the memorial, my father’s name has been inscribed for eternity along with numerous soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice for their motherland and attained martyrdom. His name has gone down the annals of military history.
This place is sacred because it holds name of heroes who embodied the spirit of ‘Service before self’! This place is as pious as a temple, a church, a gurudwara or a mosque. It has the fragrance of supreme sacrifice for a larger cause above oneself or one’s own family. It has the purity of thought, the thought of holding one’s motherland much higher in the rung…much above your own mother. It has the calm that settles after a tempest has past… In the stillness of this memorial you tend to look inwards and introspect the purpose of your own life and realise that our lives are incomplete till we work for a bigger goal and strive for others.
The walls inscribe the of name of men in uniform who laid down their lives for the nation so that it can progress unhindered. Each plaque, each name has a story of valour and courage to its credit. Has any holy book held these many hymns on brave men who gave actual proof of their fearlessness in the event of adversity befallen upto their motherland? This memorial is a saga of far more stories than any epic can tell! And mind you, these are not merely stories…these were lives well-lived and graciously sacrificed.
With every plaque there are also numerous stories associated with losses of mothers, fathers, wives, children, brothers and sisters. And yet these plaques are a testimony of the grit, determination and patriotism of these folks who send out their men to fight for the nation.
This place is indeed the most sacred place for every Indian. So, lets all rise above our own religions and make the pilgrimage to this humble shrine that crystallizes the valour and sacrifices of our brave soldiers and pay homage to them!!