India’s Amar Jawan Jyoti, or the “Eternal flame,” was extinguished on 21 January, 2022, and merged with the National War Memorial. The Indian memorial site, constructed after the Indo-Pak war in 1971, was a tribute to the country’s fallen soldiers.
What is Amar Jawan Jyoti?
Inaugurated by then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on 26 January, 1972, the memorial constituted a soldier’s helmet resting atop an inverted bayonet, and the eternal flame would burn beside the structure.
The words “Amar Jawan” are inscribed in gold on all sides of the cenotaph, which contains four flames. All the four flames are lit up on Independence Day and Republic Day each year, while a single flame burns on the rest of the days.
India Gate (Image via Flickr)
Situated in Rajpath, Delhi, the Amar Jawan Jyoti was built in memoriam of all the Indian soldiers who lost their lives during the First World War, the Third Anglo-Indian War, and the Indo-Pak war, where India fought on the side of Bangladesh and won.
Originally constructed by British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, the memorial, part of the country’s famed India Gate, has taken inspiration from the ‘Arc De Triomphe’ in Paris. 42 metres tall, India Gate was made with granite, pale stone, and red stone.
Why was the “Eternal Flame” extinguished?
According to government sources,
“The flame of the Amar Jawan Jyoti is not being extinguished. It is being merged with the flame at the National War Memorial. It was an odd thing to see that the flame at Amar Jawan Jyoti paid homage to the martyrs of the 1971 and other wars but none of their names are present there.”
The Amar Jawan Jyoti will be merged with the Eternal Flame at the National War Memorial, which is situated a mere 400 metres away from the original monument. The new memorial was built to honour the soldiers who gave up their lives for the country in recent times, and the memorial also houses the names of the soldiers, unlike in India Gate.
According to NDTV, officials complained about the upkeep of both flames, claiming that it was difficult to do so, while others questioned the validity of having two eternal flames.