The Amar Jawan Jyoti was constructed as a memorial for Indian soldiers who were killed in action in the 1971 Indo-Pak war, which India won, leading to the creation of Bangladesh

The Amar Jawan Jyoti or the iconic “eternal flame” for soldiers at India Gate was merged with the torch at the National War Memorial in a ceremony on 21 January 2022.

“The flame of the Amar Jawan Jyoti is not being extinguished. It is being merged with the flame at the National War Memorial. It was an odd thing to see that the flame at Amar Jawan Jyoti paid homage to the martyrs of the 1971 and other wars but none of their names are present there,” said government sources.

Why Amar Jawan Jyoti Merged with National War Memorial

“The names of all Indian martyrs from all the wars, including 1971 and wars before and after it are housed at the National War Memorial. Hence it is a true tribute to have the flame paying tribute to martyrs there.”

Defence establishment officials said that once the National War Memorial came up in 2019, Indian political and military leaders and foreign dignitaries pay their tributes to the fallen soldiers at the National War Memorial, which used to happen at the Amar Jawan Jyoti earlier. With this change it was felt that two flames were not needed, even though when the National War Memorial was built officials had categorically stated that both the flames will be kept alive.

What is the National War Memorial and when was it made?

The National War Memorial, which is around 400 meters from India Gate was inaugurated by Modi in February 2019, in an area of around 40 acres. It was built to commemorate all the soldiers who have laid down their lives in the various battles, wars, operations and conflicts of Independent India. There are many independent memorials for such soldiers, but no memorial existed commemorating them all at the national level.

Discussions to build such a memorial had been ongoing since 1961, but it did not come up. In 2015, the Modi-led government approved its construction, and the location east of the India Gate at C Hexagon was finalised. The final design of the memorial was selected through a competition.

The architecture of the memorial is based on four concentric circles. Largest is the Raksha Chakra or the Circle of Protection which is marked by a row of trees, each of which represent soldiers, who protect the country. The Tyag Chakra, the Circle of Sacrifice, has circular concentric walls of honour based on the Chakravyuh. The walls have independent granite tablets for each of the soldiers who have died for the country since Independence. As of today, there are 26,466 names of such soldiers on these granite tablets etched in golden letters. A tablet is added every time a soldier is killed in the line of duty.

This Veerta Chakra, the Circle of Bravery, has a covered gallery with six bronze crafted murals depicting the battles and actions of our Armed Forces.