As a part of 47 Vijay Diwas Celebration, commemorating the victory of Indian Forces and the Mukti Bahini over Pakistani forces during the 1971 War for Liberation of Bangladesh in 1971, a memorial service for martyrs of 1971 War was held at Vijay Smarak at Fort William, Kolkata on December 16, 2017. It was on this day, 92,208 Pakistani soldiers surrendered to the Joint Command of Indian and Bangladeshi forces in East Pakistan.
Vijay Diwas Celebrations at Fort William, Eastern Command assume a special significance as MuktJodhas and Indian war veterans who fought shoulder to shoulder reunite to celebrate this momentous occasion in history. This year, a 71 member delegation led by Bangladeshi Minister for Housing and Public Works, Mr Engineer Mosharraf Hossain attended this solemn occasion. The delegation included 30 MuktiJodhas and 6 serving officers from the Bangladesh Armed Forces. The MuktiJodhas have been attending the Vijay Diwas Celebrations at Kolkata for the last twelve years.
The solemn ceremony began with invocations by a Hindu Priest, Maulvi, Granthi and a Pastor. Patriotic numbers played by the army band wafted across the 'temple of the martyrs' to include such moving songs like "Aye Mere Watanke Logon" and "Vande Mataram. Wreaths were laid by the Veterans, Members of the Bangladeshi delegation and by representatives of the three services. As buglers sounded the 'Last Post' and 'Rouse', from a rampart behind the magnificent edifice of the war memorial the gathering of uniformed personnel, veterans, civilians, school children and NCC cadets observed two minutes silence to pay homage to the martyrs of the 1971 war.
The celebrations for Vijay Diwas started on December 13, 2017, with a Band Concert at Prinsep Ghat. This was followed by a Military Tattoo on December 14, 2017 at RCTC. Both events were open to public. Similar events on December 14-15, were attended by The Governor of Mizoram and Governor of West Bengal apart from MuktiJodhas. An interactive session of MuktiJodhas, War veterans and serving officers on December 15, saw an emotional recounting of war experiences. A cultural show was also conducted on December 15, 2017 showcasing traditional Indian martial arts.
December 16, 1971 was a glorious day in the annals of the history of the Indian Armed Forces. With their undeterred courage, dedication and professionalism, the Indian Armed Forces brought glory and honour to the Nation. Vijay Diwas has and will always have significance for all of us who are reaping the fruits of this historical victory.