The Armed Forces Flag Day is celebrated in India each year on December 7. The main aim of the day is to collect funds from common people from across the country and then use them in order to make sure that the members of the national armed forces are in the finest state possible. It was in 1949 that the day was celebrated for the first time. It was supposed to be a
– the brave sons – who have been courageous to lay down their lives for the nation in order to make sure that their countrymen are safe. It has become an important ritual ever since even as all the staff of the Indian armed forces – soldiers, airmen, and sailors – is honoured for the sacrifices that they continue to make for our safety and well-being.
There is a special reason as to why this day is also known by this name. On this day, special colourful flags of India are sold everywhere with the aim of generating money for the armed forces. Labels and stickers are also sold on the day with this particular aim. The event also aims to provide some form of rehabilitation and relief to soldiers who have suffered some way or the other in the battlefield while fighting for the country. It could be a physical loss or some mental health issue. The money generated from the event is also used to help families of these soldiers. Also on the list of beneficiaries are the ex-servicemen as well as their families.
The situation at the border
In 2016, at least 89 soldiers have lost their lives in the Jammu and Kashmir border and even as we speak, more soldiers are in danger of losing their lives. From the way things have been happening from Uri attack to Pulwama, threat has always been eminent for India. In such a situation, our armed forces is definitely in a perilous state. As has been proved time and again the terrorists based in Pakistan are aided to an extent by the failure of the Pakistani government in taking any justifiable action against them. It was in Pakistan that Osama Bin Laden was hunted down by the US Army. It is Pakistan that has been the breeding ground for the likes of Al-Qaeda, which was behind 9/11 and Hafeez Saeed who was the mastermind behind 26/11. India may have provided all the evidence that Pakistan needed to take against Hafeez Saeed and his Lashkar-e-Taiba cohorts but till date there is no conclusive evidence that any concrete action has been taken. He still continues to roam around and dole out threats to India and the US as and when it catches his fancy it seems. It is said that even the US administration is irked at the way he is allowed to function normally in spite of his proven criminal record. In fact, things have reached such a head that Nawaz Sharif didn’t even feel the need to condole the Uri Attacks instead opting to say that perhaps it was an expression of Kashmiri people’s desire for independence – an opinion and a stance that can be criticized on so many counts. In such a situation it is unreal to expect that things will get better any soon. After all, Pakistan is itself beset with plenty of problems with terrorism on the northwestern border a major headache for it. In such a scenario one can expect more such as Uri and Nagrota to happen in the days to come. The cross-border firings have increased as well and perhaps not a day goes by when an Indian soldier isn’t in danger of losing his life because of his trigger-happy Pakistani counterpart.
How apt is the Armed Forces Flag Day?
In essence, this festival can be regarded as a way of the nation giving back something meaningful – or at least attempting to do so – to the armed forces and its members who are keeping a tight vigil on the country’s borders in the harshest of conditions so that its citizens can sleep in peace. Over the years, India has fought a number of wars – with China in 1962 and with Pakistan in 1965, 1971, 1998, etc. So many of our soldiers have laid down their lives in these wars and are still continuing to do so in the face of repeated aggressions from terrorists across the border. By contributing to this fund, we can express our gratitude to them albeit there’s lot more to do. The recent mishaps in our army camps have shown there are loopholes in their security and management. The Armed Forces Flag Day is an apt day to express our solidarity with the Army and also for administrative efforts to ensure that the danger our soldiers are exposed to is minimised.