Maha: 1st B’desh War Memorial with water screen built in Pune

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The country’s first Bangladesh War Memorial with an open-air water-screen is ready and will be inaugurated today, (December 16) marking the neighbouring country’s 50th ‘Bijoy Dibosh’ (Victory Day) culminating in Liberation War in 1971.

The permanent war memorial will beam a 20-minute multimedia patriotic film twice daily (evenings), on a running water-screen and two regular side-screens for an audience of around 1,000 at a new 10,000 sq feet amphitheatre built by Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).

“This is the first of its kind live memorial in the country, though there is Amar Jawan Jyoti dedicated to the ‘Unknown Soldiers’ at India Gate War Memorial in New Delhi,” Congress Corporator and ex-Deputy Mayor Ulhas alias Aba Bagul – who conceptualised the Pune Memorial – told IANS.

The inaugural will be attended by a galaxy of state political leaders from the ruling Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress, Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, heroes and war veterans, the families of the martyrs who sacrificed their lives in the Bangladesh Liberation War and others, said Bagul.

The showpiece comprises a gigantic 120 feet X 40 feet ‘water-screen’ (4,800 sq feet) on which the 3-D laser show will be beamed along with surround sound, conveying the visual effects of a thrilling ‘live war’ experience to the audience.

“This water-screen format is larger than the regular 35 mm or 70 mm cinema screens, in an open-air ambience… The viewers feel they are sitting on the ‘real war-front’, and this technology is being deployed for the first time in India,” a pleased Bagul explained.

The water is pumped in an auto-controlled manner from an adjoining massive water tank and keeps getting recycled to avoid any wastages, in the sprawling Vasantrao Bagul Garden, an official explained.

The film starts with a brief speech of the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who helped liberate East Pakistan from Pakistan and the nation born was rechristened as ‘Bangladesh’, after the historic Indo-Pak War in 1971.

“The Bangladesh War was unique in many ways… It’s the first time India has fought a ‘decisive’ war with a permanent outcome, unlike the other wars that were inconclusive and itchy issues continue to linger even now,” said Sarhad NGO chief Sanjay Nahar.

It depicts 3 epochal events in the 9-month long India-Pakistan War including the Battle of Longewala Point (west borders), the sinking of Pakistan submarine PNS Ghazi (December 4, 1971) and the Tangail Airdrop (December 11, 1971).

Interspersed are excerpts from 3 speeches by a determined Indira Gandhi addressing the nation on the war developments, boosting the morale of the Armed Forces and lifting the spirits of the countrymen, much to the chagrin of the enemy hammering on two fronts.

“In those days, there was no TV in India and the nation could get the latest war news only on AIR, the details in the next day’s newspapers and the weekly highlights in the Films Division documentaries shown in cinema halls before the movies commenced,” said Bagul.

With changing reading and viewership habits in the past 50 years, the current generations are barely aware of this shining chapter in the history of India, region and the world which hailed Indira Gandhi, while Bangladesh honoured her in 2011 with the country’s highest civilian honour, “Bangladesh Swadhinata Samman.”

Bagul – Congress Party Leader in PMC – said the 3D multimedia laser film is produced by Sanjay Dabke and presented by Moreshwar Electricals and Guardian Media & Entertainment and the breathtaking outcome is the result of six works of hard work.

The Bagul-Nahar duo say this War Memorial will serve not only as a domestic and international tourist attraction, but also create awareness besides educating youth and gen-next on a glorious chapter in Indian history.

War heroes like retired Air Marshal Bhushan Gokhale and Brigadiers Prakash Ghogale and Ajit Apte, and Commander Indrajee Roy, shall be felicitated for their contributions during the war.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: q.najmi@ians.in)

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