In social media there is wide circulation of the news that after burning for 50 years, the eternal flame of Amar Jawan Jyoti at the India Gate lawns will be extinguished forever. 

However, heating out heavily on the opposition for spreading rumours Govt quells misinformation that Amar Jawan Jyoti is being extinguished. The flame of the Amar Jawan Jyoti at Delhi’s India Gate is not being extinguished and is only being merged with the flame at the National War Memorial, government sources said. The torch will now be merged with the National War Memorial’s torch at a programme today, days ahead of the Republic Day.

After 50 years, the Amar Jawan Jyoti — meaning “eternal flame” — at Delhi’s India Gate will now merge with the flame at the National War Memorial (NWM) in the run-up to the Republic Day function this year. The National War Memorial is located around 500 metres from India Gate.

The ceremony — scheduled to begin at 3.30 pm– will be presided over by the Integrated Defence Staff chief, Air Marshal Balabadhra Radha Krishna, officials said.

Sources said the decision was taken after it was found that the upkeep of two flames is becoming increasingly difficult.

It has also been argued that since the National War Memorial has already been built for the martyrs of the country, why a separate flame should be lit at the India Gate, army sources said.

The National War Memorial also has the names of all the Indian defence personnel who have lost their lives in different operations — from the 1947-48 war with Pakistan to the clash with Chinese troops at Galwan valley.

The National War Memorial (NWM):

The National War Memorial — built over 40 acres at a cost of ₹ 176 crore — was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 2019. All military ceremonial events that took place at the India Gate were shifted there after the inauguration.

After the inauguration of the National War Memorial near India Gate, all official functions to pay tribute to the soldiers, including on Republic Day and Independence Day, shifted from Amar Jawan Jyoti to the new flame site.

At the War Memorial, the eternal flame is positioned below the central 15.5 m obelisk. There are four concentric circles – the “Amar Chakra”, “Veerta Chakra”, “Tyag Chakra” and the “Rakshak Chakra”, where the names of 25,942 soldiers are inscribed on granite tablets in golden letters.

The memorial also includes six bronze murals depicting the famous battles fought by the Indian Army, Air Force and the Navy in a covered gallery in the Veerta Chakra.

Amar Jawan Jyoti or the ‘eternal flame’ at the iconic India Gate will be extinguished after 50 years on Friday Jan 21, and merged with the flame at adjoining National War memorial (NWM) in the run-up to this Republic day.

“A part of the flame at the Amar Jawan Jyoti will be carried to the NWM during a solemn ceremony to merge the two flames at 3.30 pm,” a defence ministry official said Thursday.

India Gate:

India Gate is a 42-metre-high structure built by the British India government as the All-India War Memorial Arch to honour about 84,000 Indian soldiers who died in the First World War (1914-1918) and the Third Anglo-Afghan War (1919). The landmark has the names of these soldiers inscribed on it.

Amar Jawan Jyoti:

The original arch did not have Amar Jawan Jyoti, which was constructed after the 1971 India-Pakistan War. The eternal flame was built under the arch by the then Indira Gandhi government in memory of the 3,843 soldiers who lost their lives during the India-Pakistan War that led to the formation of Bangladesh as a separate country.

Indira Gandhi inaugurated the Amar jawan Jyoti on January 26, 1972. The Amar Jawan Jyoti has an inverted bayonet and a soldier’s helmet with an eternal flame burning. Service chiefs and visiting delegates paid respect at the Amar Jawan Jyoti. On Republic Day, the prime minister paid tribute to the soldiers by laying wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti.

Amar Jawan Jyoti has held historic significance in all official functions of the government. It consists of a marble pedestal with a cenotaph that had the phrase “Amar Jawan” written in gold on all four sides. On the top, an L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle is placed on its barrel and is capped by the helmet of a soldier.

Four urns are placed around the pedestal. One of the urns hosts the eternal flame which has been burning since 1971. The staff responsible for maintaining the burning flame resides in a room under the arch, next to the burning flame.

Each of the four urns has a flame but only one of the four flames burns throughout the year. All the four flames are lit on Independence Day and Republic Day. 

The Amar Jawan Jyoti at the India Gate is part of the nation’s collective psyche. For nearly five decades, it has been integral to Republic Day festivities, mentioned reverentially by commentators on radio and television. The inextinguishable flame, memorialising the bravery and sacrifice of the Indian soldiers, is also a magnet that draws thousands every day from across the country.

The Amar Jawan Jyoti is guarded day and night by soldiers from the Indian Army, Air Force and the Indian Navy.

Public Opinion on the Government’s decision to merge the Amar Jawan Jyoti — meaning “eternal flame” — at Delhi’s India Gate with the flame at the National War Memorial (NWM):

There is divided opinion on the decision to extinguish the Amar Jawan Jyoti. “It is sacrilege…The Jyoti holds a special place in the hearts of our citizens,” said a veteran, who did not want to be named. 

Others like former Navy Chief Admiral Arun Prakash (retd.) saw nothing wrong with the move.

Surely, the neighbouring National War Memorial also deserves a similar flame for the bravehearts. But there is little point in extinguishing one for the other. Let both spark the fire of patriotism among all.

The redeveloped Rajpath and India Gate are gearing up for Republic Day celebrations; apart from Rajpath being relaid,10 canals on both sides have been refurbished and 16 permanent bridges constructed. Aerators have also been installed in the canals for automatic cleaning of water and layers of grass laid after completion of underground services. For the first time, a bleacher seating system has been set-up for Republic Day spectators.

All national level functions to pay homage to fallen soldiers, including the Republic Day and Independence Day, have been shifted from the Amar Jyoti to the NWM after it was inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi in February 2019. Now that we have a proper NWM, it is appropriate to shift the eternal flame to the new location.” said former Navy chief Admiral Arun Prakash (retd).

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday expressed sadness that the Amar Jawan Jyoti flame at India Gate, an iconic landmark in the national capital, would be extinguished after 50 years.

“It is a matter of great sadness that the immortal flame that used to burn for our brave soldiers will be extinguished today,” Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet.