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Remembering our war heroes

The remnants of the war are a mute reminder to the heroics of our jawans, writes B. MADHU GOPAL

PHOTOS: K.R. DEEPAK

MEMORIES OF THE WAR Remains of PNS Ghazi

December 4 will go down as an important day in the annals of the Indian Navy. It was on the intervening night of December 4 and 5, 1971 that five ships of the Indian Navy had launched a missile attack on Karachi harbour causing a devastating blow to the Pakistan Navy. The successful completion of the mission named `Operation Trident' is observed as Navy Day on December 4 every year.

It was on the same day in 1971 that a Pakistan Naval Submarine `Ghazi' which managed to come close to the Visakhapatnam Harbour was sunk by INS Rajput. Subsequently, divers recovered the glass dome and some metal parts of Ghazi from the seabed. They were kept at the Naval Musuem at the Naval Base for several years before handing them over to the Visakha Museum on the Beach Road a few years ago.

The remnants are on display in the Maritime Section of the museum. They are not just pieces of destroyed parts but each of the remains on display has a tale to tell. They speak silently of the heroics of our men in white and their supreme sacrifices in saving the nation from enemies.

Pakistan flag captured from a merchant ship by Midshipman P. Kumar and charts giving graphic details of the attack on the Karachi harbour bring back memories of the war.



The Navy War Memorial on the Beach Road.

The imposing War Memorial on the Beach Road is a fitting tribute to our jawans and officers who had laid down their lives in the 1971 War. Not only officers of the Indian Navy but also those of other Navies in the world visit the memorial to pay tributes and the museum to know something from the remains that have now become history, whenever their visit the city.

A seaman's knife, a ship's cock and crest, diver's knife, fog horn, the silverware used on board ships, and life-like models of officers and staff involved in operating a ship are some of the other things on display that give a feel of the life at sea.

In the `War gallery' section, the shell of the bomb dropped by Japan in the air raid on Visakhapatnam, can be seen. While one of the three bombs dropped by Japan had exploded killing 10 persons, the other two were defused. The bomb was found near the St. Aloysius School in April 1942.



A chart showing the location of the missile attack on Karachi harbour on display at the Visakha Museum.

In the aviation section, one can find models of aircraft carriers and a picture of the first Naval aircraft taken during its landing in the Ernakulam channel in Kochi in 1953 among other things. A storehouse of instruments, used in measuring the speed, distance and depth by ships and submarines, are displayed in the 'Nautical section'.

Pictures of changes in propulsion used by ships during different phases in maritime history, maps of lighthouses on the east coast, an anti-aircraft missile about 10-feet long, gun shells of different sizes, model of the Bheemunipatnam Lighthouse that was built by the Dutch in 1867 are among the other attractions.

The three-dimensional capabilities of the Navy will be on display at the Ramakrishna Beach on December 4. It is important for us to know the present capabilities of our Navy in keeping intruders at bay and to take pride in it but at the same time we should never forget the heroics of our great jawans who had laid down their lives for the sake of the nation.

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