Bringing the curtains down on the second edition of Military Literature Festival, Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal on Sunday announced that the Punjab Government would set up a special corpus fund for holding the Festival as an annual event, regardless of which party comes in power. This would help institutionalise the gala event for as a permanent affair in the state.
The Minister also underlined the need for an amendment to the Constitution for nominating representatives from the ex-servicemen fraternity in the Rajya Sabha, besides ensuring their representation in Block Samitis, Zilla Parishads, Panchayats and other democratically elected bodies.
Paying respects to the serving and veteran soldiers, Manpreet recalled his experience as a member of the National Manifesto committee of the Punjab, Congress said when he was asked to contribute to the exercise he had said he would love to draft a separate chapter for the welfare of Defence personnel and ex-servicemen.
After having detailed deliberations with the ex-servicemen and serving defence personnel by visiting various parts of the country, Manpreet Badal said that he was convinced that the ‘Great Sons of the Nation’ preferred self-esteem (Izzat) to pecuniary benefits. He underscored the need to give due respect and recognition to these ‘fine sons of the nation’, to whom the society owed a debt. He pointed to the example of Americans, who held their brave soldiers and veterans in high esteem, which was embedded in their national character. We need to imbibe the same spirit, he added.
The Finance Minister apologized for Captain Amarinder Singh’s inability to attend his scheduled MLF sessions, saying the Chief Minister had made extensive preparations but could not make it due to health reasons. Therefore, the Chief Minister had deputed him to attend the concluding function, said Manpreet.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister’s Senior Advisor Lt Gen. (Retd.) Tejinder Singh Shergill said the event would go a long way in motivating youth to join defence forces in the larger interest of the nation’s security, integrity and sovereignty. He said that the event had received enthusiastic response, with a massive footfall, which crossed 13,000 yesterday and the 20,000 mark today.
Lt. Gen. Gill thanked Lt. Gen. Surinder Singh of the Western Command for the immense support and guidance provided by them for holding the momentous event. He also complimented all the organisers, delegates, panelists, participants, volunteers and students for making the event a grand success. He also thanked the Tourism and Cultural Affairs Department for providing an excellent framework to organise this gala edition of MLF.
On the occasion, a remembrance ceremony was held where lineal descendants of World War 1 martyrs were honoured . These bravest of the brave included Lt. John Smyth VC 2nd Battalion the Sikh Regiment, Subedar Darwan Singh Negi VC 6 Mechanised Infantry Battalion, Rifleman Gabbar Singh Negi VC 2nd Garhwal Rifles, Lance Dafadar Gobind Singh, 2nd Lancers, Major George Godfrey Wheeler, VC 18 Cavalry, Subedar Lala, VC 3 Dogra, Rasaldar Badlu Singh, VC Deccan Horse, Lt. Frank Alexander Depass, VC the Poona Horse, Major George Wheeler, VC 2/9 Gorkha Rifles and Riflemen Karan Bahadur Rana , VC 2/3 Gorkha Rifles.
Earlier, an interactive session on Indian Cavalry Charges of the First World War was moderated by Lt. Gen T S Shergill and participated by Tony McClenaghan, Lt Gen Aditya Singh, Brig. M S Jodha and Brig Sukhjit Singh. A Book titled ‘Drummers Call’ penned Lt Gen. (Retd.) N S Brar was released by Shergill during the session.
Meanwhile, Manpreet Badal also released a book ‘An Insight-The Iconic Battle of Saragarhi-Echoes of the Frontiers’, written by Brig. Kanwaljit Singh.