On the occasion of Vijay Diwas, India commemorates its victory in the 1971 war that liberated Bangladesh from Pakistan. In the course of its 70-year post-Independence history, Indian has fought its share of wars—1947, 1961-62, 1965, 1971 and 1999. Despite the supreme sacrifices of our soldiers during these wars, little is done to remember them.
However, Wing Commander M A Afraz, who retired from service in 2008, has done his bit to remember India’s martyrs. In April 2015, along with fellow war veterans Wing Commander Rajendra Prasad and Wing Commander L K Choubey, he launched a website called ‘Honourpoint’, which is curating a list of all Indian soldiers that have fallen in battle since 1947, the Deccan Chronicle reported.
Today, the online portal has honoured 12,500 of the 23,000 soldiers that have made the ultimate sacrifice since 1947. “Today families of martyrs are updating the information we have on the website,” Wing Commander Afraz told the Deccan Chronicle.
Wing Commander Afraz had himself served during the 1999 Kargil War as part of the technical team in the Indian Air Force. What he saw there had a profound impact on him, paving the way for the creation of this online portal. The sight of dead soldiers from the war sent him contemplating about the families of these martyrs, who would have to receive the body.
“1999 was the last war India fought, but we lost nearly 5,000 soldiers in it. But who cares about this? Nobody remembers the men who sacrificed their lives after the news of their death. Their families don’t get any emotional support,” he said.
Apart from paying tribute to the soldiers, Wing Commander Afraz believes that in the future he would like to offer financial assistance to the families of martyrs if necessary. “All the armed forces families should be connected. I am regularly in touch with them,” he reveals.
On the occasion of this Vijay Diwas, the Governor of Karnataka, Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala, will release a booklet on the martyrs based on details compiled by Wing Commander Afraz.