Address by Governor at Armed Forces Flag Day Fund Collection Drive in Mumbai
Address by Shri Ch Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra at the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund Collection Drive organized by the Mumbai Suburban and Mumbai City Districts at Sahyadri State Guest House, Malabar Hill, Mumbai at 1100 hrs on Thursday, 7 December 2017
Shri Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar, Hon’ble Minister for Labour, Skill Development, Ex- Servicemen Welfare and Earthquake Rehabilitation, Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command, Lt. Gen. Vishwambhar Singh, GOC, Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat Area, Air Vice Marshal M Fernandez, AOC, Maritime Air Operations, Smt Valsa Nair Singh, Principal Secretary, GAD, Shri Jagdish Patil, Divisional Commissioner, Konkan Division, Col Suhas Jatkar, Director, Sainik Welfare, Collectors of Mumbai City and Mumbai Suburban Districts, Smt Piloo Tata, Chairperson & Managing Trustee M.K. Tata Trust, representatives of various government and non – governmental organizations, Principals of Schools and Colleges, officials, donors, ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon and greetings to each one of you.
At the outset, I extend my greetings to all the service officers, ex-servicemen and their families on the occasion of the Armed Forces Flag Day.
This is a day of pride for the members of the Armed Forces. At the same time, this is a day of thanksgiving for each one of us. It provides us, the citizens of India, an opportunity to express our collective sense of gratefulness to the members of the Armed Forces and to reiterate our continued commitment towards the families of the martyrs, the war-disabled personnel and the Ex Servicemen.
During the last four years, I have noted with pleasure that some individuals, trusts, schools and other organizations have made it a tradition to contribute to the Flag Fund without fail. This is indeed commendable.
I would like to congratulate and compliment these institutions, organizations and individuals for their sustained commitment to the cause of welfare and rehabilitation of war widows, wards of martyred soldiers and ex-servicemen.
All the District Collectors and Zilla Sainik Welfare officers also deserve our compliments for their efforts in reaching out to society through schools children. It is only because of their sustained efforts that both the Mumbai City and the Mumbai Suburb Zilla Sainik Welfare offices attain their target of collection. All of us must convey our special appreciation to all the school children who go from door to door to collect funds for this noble cause.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is almost a forgotten fact that approximately 1.3 million Indian soldiers had served in World War One. Out of these over 74,000 lost their lives. During the Second World War, the Indian Army had become the largest volunteer army in history, comprising of 2.5 million soldiers. We lost 87000 servicemen. Several jawans were wounded and many became Prisoners of War.
The greatness of jawans was that they fought battles in totally unfamiliar lands, in extreme climatic conditions in Belgium, France, Aden, Arabia, East Africa, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Palestine, Persia, Russia and even in China. Our colonial masters forgot their sacrifices and refused to grant us Independence in exchange for the services rendered by Indians.
But India should not and must not forget the sacrifices of our brave jawans who risked their lives during World War I and World War II. They are truly the freedom fighters of India. I think we must create a grand memorial for the forgotten World War heroes of India in Maharashtra so that future generations will draw inspiration from their sacrifices.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Armed Forces of India are best known for their utmost discipline, dedication, proficiency, secularism and competence. During the last 70 years since Independence, our Armed Forces defended the nation during three major wars.
The Army has been involved in tackling multiple insurgencies, terrorism, fissiparous tendencies and also extended the reach of the State to inaccessible areas. Through open and transparent recruitment policies and secular conduct, it has contributed immensely in knitting the nation together.
India’s Armed Forces are also playing an important role in maintaining peace through various peace keeping missions of the United Nations.
If any single state contributes most, to the ranks of the Armed Forces, it is the State of Maharashtra. I understand that the maximum recruitment in Indian Army comes from Maharashtra. The Jawans and officers from various districts of Maharashtra are manning our frontiers in Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, North East, Siachen and other critical locations. Maharashtra must continue this proud tradition.
I do feel that the Armed Forces Flag day should be used to create awareness in schools and colleges about the exciting career opportunities available in the Navy, Army, Airforce, etc. Social Media campaigns should also be used extensively to counsel and educate youths about career prospects in the Armed Forces.
Recently, the Hon’ble Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh stated that the government of India is making all out efforts to ensure that families of martyrs who laid down their lives in the line of duty are provided a compensation of not less than Rs one crore. The Government has also created a portal ‘Bharat Ke Veer’ or ‘India’s Bravehearts’ to enable donors to support the families of martyrs or to contribute to the corpus set up by the Government of India.
I believe that a city like Mumbai which happens to be the financial capital of India can generate maximum resources – both for the Armed Forces Flag Fund as well as for ‘India’s Bravehearts’.
With these words, I convey my warm appreciation to all the generous contributors to the Flag Fund and I do hope that their generosity will inspire others to contribute to the cause of rehabilitation of the ex servicemen and their families.
I congratulate the members of the Armed Forces, ex-servicemen and their families once again.
Jai Hind ! Jai Maharashtra !!