Isn’t it strange?
That watching a Hollywood movie, we are overawed by the courage of the 300 Spartans who took on 60,000 Persians at Thermopylae in BC 480 ; while most of us have never heard of the 21 valiant Sikhs who made their last stand against 10,000 tribesmen at Saragarhi in AD 1897 making theirs the greatest odds faced by any troops the world over in the history of warfare!
That the brave exploits of Indian cavalrymen in France during World War I are barely known to their countrymen while the French still revere them; or that little do we know of the daring of the Gurkhas and Madras Sappers during the same war when they staged an opposed crossing of the river Tigris as a prelude to the allied attack on Kut el Amara; or that we have barely heard of the Battle of Haifa which saw the Mysore and Jodhpur Lancers liberate the port city of that name in today’s Israel from the Ottoman Empire – a feat Israel, which has the graves of 800 Indian soldiers in her soil, gratefully honours!
That we are almost unaware that during World War II there were a number of Indian aviators who took part in the Battle of Britain that turned the tide against the German blitzkrieg; or that we know little of the Indian armoured units that fought in North Africa against Rommel’s famed Afrika Korps; or that, worst of all, the Burma Campaign wherein William Slim’s XIV Army predominantly composed of Indian troops stemmed the onslaught of the Japanese Imperial Forces and liberated most of Asia from the aggressor in a sweeping offensive remains a forgotten war in India, as much or even more as it does in the west for geographical and other reasons!
That our neighbours, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, commemorate the post independence feats of Indian arms better than we do!