Centre looks to build brand around National War Memorial

Updated on Jan 21, 2022 05:11 AM IST

The defence ministry has sought the help of the information and broadcasting ministry for the elaborate branding of the National War Memorial, officials said.

The government has started work on an overarching plan to take the National War Memorial to the people through a large-scale branding exercise. (ANI)
The government has started work on an overarching plan to take the National War Memorial to the people through a large-scale branding exercise. (ANI)

The government has started work on an overarching plan to take the National War Memorial (NWM) to the people through a large-scale branding exercise, a move that has been welcomed by former servicemen.

NWM is a monument dedicated to soldiers who fell in post-Independence wars and operations, and was inaugurated in 2019 to fill a key gap -- until then, India did not have a memorial for its fallen heroes.

The defence ministry has sought the help of the information and broadcasting ministry for the elaborate branding exercise, officials directly involved in the matter said on condition of anonymity.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the war memorial almost three years ago, on February 25 2019. Since then, around 3.1 million people have visited it and paid homage to the country’s fallen soldiers whose names are inscribed on its walls. As on date, the names of 26,466 brave warriors are inscribed on the memorial.

The government believes a lot more can be done to publicise the war memorial, and attract more visitors to it, the officials added. .

Hindustan Times has learnt that a meeting chaired by defence secretary Ajay Kumar on January 11 focussed on “the subject of branding and increase in registrations for NWM.”

The chief points noted for action at the meeting included “the facilitation of visits of dignitaries visiting Delhi during National Film Awards, including members of film/TV fraternity, highlighting NWM through various media platforms (DD/AIR/Social Media) and broadcasting next of kin (NoK) ceremony through AIR/DD,” according to a government note seen by HT.

Other publicity measures planned include a film on NWM by the Films Division of India, commissioning of articles on the memorial in various newspapers , and scheduling of programmes on DD, AIR and regional channels.

On January 10, the defence ministry wrote to the information and broadcasting ministry seeking the latter’s help to devise a “suitable action plan” to publicise NWM, its history and what the monument stands for.

The letter, written by joint secretary (ceremonial) in the defence ministry, states that the one of the aims of setting up NWM was “to inculcate a sense of high moral values, sacrifice, national spirit and belongingness in each and every citizen, while paying befitting tribute to our soldiers.”

HT has seen a copy of the letter, which is a follow-up to a previous communication on January 5 from the defence secretary to the information and broadcasting secretary regarding specific decisions on NWM.

“This involves broadcasting live visuals of NWM in national functions like the Republic Day parade, formulating an action plan for better branding of NWM to attract citizens from all corners of the country, release a new video on NWM for publicity each year, deployment of audio-visual team to capture the visits by citizens and expression of their emotions (with their consent) during such visits through appropriate video, social media platforms and using visuals through drones,” read the January 10 communication.

The letter also highlights the need for proper publicity of celebrity visits from the world of cinema, media and journalism.

“A suitable action plan in this regard is requested to be formulated. It is requested that a suitable point of contact for same be nominated and intimated for further coordination on the issue,” the letter added.

“It’s an excellent initiative. We got the NWM in 2019 after waiting for a national memorial for decades, and now we need to take it to the people,” said former director general of military operations Lieutenant General Vinod Bhatia (retd).

On January 26, the National Cadet Corps (NCC) will launch a programme called Shaheedon ko Shat Shat Naman, as part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav (the celebrations of India’s 75th year of independence) , to honour the sacrifices of fallen heroes. NCC cadets will present the ‘Plaque of Gratitude’ to NoK of 5,000 braves, with each plaque signed by the PM.

This activity will be carried out around the same time when the PM pays homage at NWM. This will mark the beginning of the programme, which will carry on till August 15, 2022 by when the cadets would have felicitated the NoK of all 26,466 fallen heroes whose names are inscribed on the memorial.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sunetra Choudhury is the National Political Editor of the Hindustan Times. With over two decades of experience in print and television, she has authored Black Warrant (Roli,2019), Behind Bars: Prison Tales of India’s Most Famous (Roli,2017) and Braking News (Hachette, 2010). Sunetra is the recipient of the Red Ink award in journalism in 2016 and Mary Morgan Hewett award in 2018.

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