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Indian soldiers lauded in Israeli textbooks

Haifa (Israel): 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, 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.

Khanduri said, “There must a system where everyone is accountable. There can be safeguards against PM office being disgraced but accountability must be there”. In this regard, he pointed out that political reforms without political stability are not possible.

“We have to change the mindset which makes us look for quick-fix solutions. We have to have patience and strike at the very root of the corrupt system. We need to change our political values fundamentally. Reforms are a must but they are not possible without political stability. Major change will take place only if we are inclined to let the ailing political system heal. This cannot happen overnight,” he averred.

On Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement, he said the social activist has succeeded in raising relevant issues with conviction but said he must decide his own course. “He (Hazare) has succeeded in making corruption a national issue. The solution is of course not in sight but at the country is talking about it,” he said.

Though evading a direct reply to whether the movement had deviated from its course with Anna’s aides like Arvind Kejriwal deciding to float a new party, Khanduri said they had no choice but to take the plunge as they were not being listened to by those in government. “None was ready to listen to them. They were being written off as self-proclaimed champions of the civil society. So perhaps they had no other option but to take a political route,” he said.

But when asked whether Anna Hazare should also join his aides he emphatically said, “No,I believe Anna should follow his own path.”

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