Thursday, November 27, 2014

NAVY DAY and NAVY WEEK

NAVY DAY and NAVY WEEK
Musings of a Navy Veteran
By
VIKRAM KARVE


NAVY DAY and NAVY WEEK

Every year, the 4th of December is observed as NAVY DAY by the Indian Navy.

In the Indian Navy, the Navy Day celebrations actually extend across the entire week in which the Navy Day falls, and this week is called the NAVY WEEK.

Earlier, there used to be good media coverage of Navy Day and Navy Week activities.

However, nowadays, it appears that media is more interested in TRP generating political and sensational news – so prosaic events like Navy Day and Navy Week are mostly ignored (except for a small column or a supplement in the local print media).

Also, most citizens of India are not aware of Navy Day and its significance.

Yes, very few civilian citizens know why Navy Day is celebrated  and why on the 4th of December.


NAVY DAY

Navy Day is celebrated on the 4th of December to commemorate the daring and deadly attack carried out by missile boats of the Indian Navy on Karachi harbour during the 1971 Indo-Pak War, in which Indian Navy used anti-ship missiles for the first time in combat.

This courageous attack in the evening of 4 December 1971 was codenamed Operation Trident


ARMY DAY and AIR FORCE DAY

Army Day is celebrated on 15 January every year in India, in recognition of Lieutenant General (later Field Marshal) K. M. Cariappa taking over as the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army from Sir Francis Butcher, the last British Commander, in 1948

Air Force Day is celebrated on 8 October (the precursor to the Indian Air Force was officially established on 8 October 1932 as an auxiliary air force of the British Empire and the prefix Royal” was added in 1945 in recognition of its services during World War II)


GENESIS OF NAVY DAY, ARMY DAY and AIR FORCE DAY

Army Day is on 15 January, Navy Day on 4 December and Air Force Day on 8 October.

Not only are the days different, but we see that even the reasons for which the three services celebrate their “days” are different.

REASONS FOR CELEBRATING NAVY, ARMY and AIR FORCE DAYS:

Navy Day – to commemorate the first wartime heroic act of the Indian Navy (successful combat action)

Army Day – in recognition of an Indian taking over as Chief of the Indian Army (personality based)

Air Force Day – to celebrate the day the Indian Air Force was born (birthday or foundation day)

(By the way, till a few years ago, the Indian Air Force celebrated Air Force Day on the 1st of April since its first squadron, No. 1 Squadron, was commissioned on 1 April 1933. Or was it because it was on the 1st of April 1954 that Air Marshal Subroto Mukherjee, one of the founding members of the Air Force, took over as the first Indian Chief of the Air Staff?)

The distinct manner in which each uniformed service celebrates its “day” aptly illustrates their contrasting service cultures and it is no wonder that there is not much of so-called “jointmanship” among the three services.


NAVY DAY and NAVY WEEK 2014

This year, Navy Day (4th of December 2014) falls on a Thursday.

As I said earlier, the Navy Day celebrations actually extend across the entire week in which the Navy Day falls, so Navy Week will be celebrated from the 1st of December 2014 to the 7th of December 2014.

The celebrations are held mainly at Mumbai, and on a smaller scale at Visakhapatnam and Kochi too, and the Navy Week Celebrations culminate with the spectacular Navy Ball at the end of the week on Saturday.  

During the Navy Week, the Navy tries to showcase its capabilities to the civilian public by holding a series of combat demonstrations, live displays, parade drills and events like band concerts. 

Sometimes, naval families, veterans and prominent citizens are taken out for a day at sea to observe “shop window” exercises which demonstrate salient aspects of the navy at sea.

In a nutshell, the aim of Navy Week is to showcase the Navy to civilian citizens.

Alas, nowadays, there are no Navy Day or Navy Week celebrations in landlocked places like Pune, where a large number of Navy Veterans have settled down after retirement.

Earlier, serving Naval Officers in Pune, borne in NDA (National Defence Academy), IAT (Institute of Armament Technology) and other local units, did invite Navy Veterans of Pune for Navy Day Functions (in coordination with the Navy Foundation Pune Charter).

But now, it seems that Navy Veterans are forgotten, or maybe Navy Officers in these units no longer observe Navy Day.

Anyway, in the next few posts, I will hark back to my glorious navy days, and tell you a few of my reminisces of Navy Days and Navy Weeks.

And if you happen to be in a “Navy Port” where Navy Day is being celebrated – do have a look at the Navy Week activities and tell us about it.

VIKRAM KARVE
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