April 3, 2011 12:04:32 am
The Memorial,the citys pride, has not been promoted as it should have been
The War Memorial that came to existence in 1988 through concerted efforts of citizens under the Indian Express Citizens’ Forum has been a pride of Ghorpadi ever since. The site,which is also a gateway to the suburb from M G Road side,deserves to be promoted as a tourist attraction,citizens say.
The memorial pays tribute to the bravehearts of the Army who sacrificed their lives in battles India had fought after Independence. A remembrance of Operation Polo to liberate Hyderabad in 1948,Operation Vijay to liberate Goa,the Indo-Pak wars and others,the war memorial is undoubtedly the pride of not only Ghorpadi but the whole of Pune.
“It is the first and the only war memorial in the country to have been raised by the citizens’ initiative,” said an officer of the Southern Command. Situated in a garden and surrounded by trees,the significant structure of the War Memorial is a 25-foot pillar with stones around it. The three forks of the pillar represent the tri services. As if to guard it,an MBT Vijayanta stands nearby. “It is a pride for all of us. In fact for serving as well as retired defence personnel,the War Memorial is a motivation. There are names of about 1,600-plus soldiers who lost their lives in different wars carved on the memorial and every soldier dreams that one day,his name would be carved on it too,” said Ramling Bhuibhar,a retired Indian Air Force personnel.
The War Memorial witnesses a number of events throughout the year like Vijay Divas,Army and the Air Force days,the Republic Day and the Independence
Day during which wreathes are placed at the memorial in presence of senior officers of the forces.
Local people say more people from outside should see this pride of Ghorpadi and it should be promoted among tourists. Tourists operators in the city agree. Reshma Lalwani,founder of city based Lalwani Tours and Travels,which has been organising Pune Darshan tours for tourists for years,said,”I find war the memorial a beautiful place and a potential tourist attraction. It deserves much more tourist attention than what it has been getting. The challenge is that it has not been promoted well. For instance,when visitors from other states check for attractions near Pune,the war memorial is not listed anywhere. It should feature equally with Sinhagad,Kelkar Museum,Aga Khan Palace,Shinde Chhatri and so on.Online publicity is a great option. The authorities need to promote it well by all means.”
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