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“The act of commemoration…serves a very important purpose. And that is to highlight the futility of war and the need for future generations to recall the sacrifices of the past so that they can work to build a more peaceful future. The legacy of war must be peace”.

Sqn Ldr [Ret’d] Rana Chhina

On 6 August guests from all across the UK and India gathered together for a digital commemoration event to mark the contribution of the Indian Army to the Second World War. The event included a fascinating range of speakers, musical performances and poetry recitation. The event was chaired by Sqn Ldr [Ret’d] Rana Chhina, Secretary and Editor of the Centre for Military History and Conflict Resolution at USI of India.

From exploring the use of propaganda targeted towards the Indian troops & POWs and the often overlooked contribution of Indian women to the war efforts, to family links to the ‘Naga Queen’ and Gurkha recruitment, the speakers provided a multi-faceted insight into India’s role in WWII. You can find out more about all of the speakers here.

Ahsan Ali of Peninsula studios, played the spiritual bhajan ‘Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram’, followed by a beautiful rendition of the ‘Last Post’ on the sarangi. During the musical performance, guests were invited to write a message for the India Remembers marigold wreaths. The messages will be attached to the wreaths when they are laid in the UK and India. 

You can read some of the India Remembers messages below:

It is poignant that in the year of the 75th anniversary that we gathered together from across the world for a common cause. In the same manner as allied forces worked together at the time towards a common goal, despite of race, religion or creed. A message that still has so much value today. Let us remember those whose efforts and sacrifices gave us the freedom to come together today. We will remember them.

In memory of women who broke barriers, left home and contributed immensely towards the war effort during WW2. You are remembered!

Thank you to all who served, and to those who gave their lives in the cause of freedom that we have been privileged to enjoy for the last 75 years

In special memory of the people of the Naga Hills, now Nagaland, who selflessly supported the Allies in the long struggle against the Japanese in the battle of Kohima in 1944. For our tomorrow, they gave their today.

You can watch the event in full here

India Remembers is a partnership between Big Ideas and the Centre for Military History and Conflict Research (CMHCR) at the United Service Institution of India (USI of India). India Remembers WWII: the end of the war in the East is supported by the British High Commission in India.