Saturday, May 8, 2010

the 65th anniversary of the victory day- WW-11

The allied forces formally accepted the unconditional surrender after the defeat in the world war 11. the act of military surrender was signed in reims (france) on may 7 and ratified on may 8, 1945 in berlin (germany). in the soviet union, it was may 9 because of the time zone. the victory day is observed on may 7-9 every year in various parts of the world.

belarus, where i am located these days, had witnessed many conflicts in its history. the most ferocious was the period 1941-1945 ( german-soviet union war) in the over all connect of the world war 11. belarus had to face one of the strongest groups of hitler's army in its thrust to reach and capture moscow. more than 8 million civilians and 900,000 the soviet prisoners of war (pow) were administered by the nazi forces for almost three years from the occupied territories in belarus. the nazis, to superimpose the occupation, adopted the policy of terror and executions. belarus became the theater of an extensive fight against the nazis under the 'patrisan movement' in which the forces of poland, czechoslovakia, yugoslavia and france participated, along with the soviet and belarusian people. belarus suffered the most in the war than any other country of europe. the country was fully plundered. it is estimated that about 3 million belarusians got killed, one third of the entire population of belarus. the city of minsk was honoured with the title 'hero city' and the the breast fort as the' hero fort '. the contribution of belarus was recognised by the international community. in april, 1945, belarus (under the soviet arrangement) became one of the founding members of the united nations (un).

the 65th anniversary of the victory day was celebrated in minsk. the wreath laying ceremony at the victory square ( monument to remember the soldiers with a burning flame), on may 7, was led by president of belarus alexander luckashenko. i, the indian ambassador, had the honour of joining the president as one of the chosen head of diplomatic missions, to represent the diplomatic community at the wreath laying. there was a military parade at the main vista of the 'pobeditelei avenue' ( winners' avenue) at the 'minsk hero city' memorial on may 9, followed by a colourful procession by the young students and players. the minsk city was made up like a bride. a urdu couplet comes to my mind:

शहीदों की चिताओं पर लगेंगे हर वर्ष मेले,
वतन पर मिटने वालों का बाकि यही निशान होगा !

india, a british colony at that time, was made to participate in the war by default. but the contribution of indian brave soldiers was no less. infact, the indian contingent of the fighting forces of the allies was the biggest. indian soldiers wan 30 victoria cross gallantry medals in the ww 11. there is another aspect of indian participation in the war. the militant elements in the struggle of indian independence joined the axis forces from japan and other countries of east asia under the ' azad hind sena' - आजाद हिंद सेना of netaji subhash chandra bose. it is a co-incident that the japanese forces surrendered to the allies under the american command on august 15, 1945 and india got indepence on august 15, 1947. i served in the embassy of india in tokyo. the indian independence traditional reception is not held in tokyo, keeping in view the japanese sensibilities. a 'singto shrine' called 'yasukuni shrine' where the condemned japanese soldiers
( involved in war crimes ) were buried, is just across the road from the indian embassy.

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