Indian soldiers lauded in Israeli textbooks



Haifa: While remaining unknown in their own country, some Indian soldiers will become household names in Haifa in northern Israel after figuring in the history textbooks taught at schools for their contribution in liberating this city in 1918.

The municipality of Haifa has gone ahead with its decision to immortalise the sacrifices made by Indian soldiers, many of whom are buried in the cemetery here, by including the stories of their valiant efforts in liberating the coastal city during the First World War in the school curricula as part of the history textbooks.

"The move is a part of Haifa municipalities efforts to preserve the city's history and heritage," Hedva Almog, the deputy mayor of Haifa, told people gathered to pay respects to Indian soldiers who made ultimate sacrifice in the war to liberate the city.

Haifa Historical Society has done an extensive research on the role of the Indian army in the region.

As per their findings, a large number of Indian soldiers sacrificed their lives in this region during the First World War and nearly 900 are cremated or buried in cemeteries across Israel.

Almog said that the municipality is planning big centenary celebrations to commemorate the event in 2018, calling upon India to join hands in making it a success. Charge de Affaires at the Indian mission in Tel Aviv, Vani Rao, reacted positively to the request extending support in organising the Centenary celebrations.

The Indian Army commemorates September 23rd every year as Haifa Day, to pay its respects to the two brave Indian Cavalry Regiments that helped liberate the city in 1918 following a dashing cavalry action by the 15th Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade.

Residents of the Israeli city also celebrate Haifa Day the same day with a series of cultural programmes during the week.

In the autumn of 1918, the Indian Brigade was a part of the Allied Forces sweeping northwards through Palestine in what is seen as the last great cavalry campaign in history.

"No more remarkable cavalry action of its scale was fought in the whole course of the campaign. Machine gun bullets over and over again failed to stop the galloping horses even though many of them succumbed afterwards to their injuries", is how the Official History of the War (Military operation Egypt and Palestine: volume 2) describes the Indian troops bravery.

Captain Aman Singh Bahadur and Dafadar Jor Singh were awarded the Indian Order of Merit (IOM) and Captain Anop Singh and 2nd Lt Sagat Singh were awarded the Military Cross (MC) as recognition for their bravery in this battle.

Major Dalpat Singh (MC) is known in the annals of history as the 'Hero of Haifa' for his critical role in the Liberation of the city.

He was awarded a military cross for his bravery.

The municipality of Haifa also announced to organise a ceremony every year to commemorate the role of the Indian Army in liberating the city from Turks after almost 402 years.

PTI