War The name is enough to strike fear amidst our hearts. Our country had been forced to adopt a belligerent approach quite a few times because of similar approach by some of our neighbouring countries in the recent past. But when we walk down the memory lane to a pre independence era, we come to terms with not one but two world wars, the scars of which can still be seen in quite a few unfortunate locales across the world. India had to become a part of the wars as it was ruled by the British forces. Between the two, the second world war which lasted from 1939 to 1945 has a major memorial connection with the north east. The connection is known as the ‘Guwahati War Cemetery’.
Sheaths at a war memorial
The Guwahati War Cemetery was started during the period when the second world war was engulfing the entire planet in its flames. The Cemetery was started as a burial site for quite a few military hospitals that were located in the region. During the time there were other cemeteries as well spread across the region but there was a major problem plaguing the others. The problem was of maintenance. There was no proper amenities in those cemeteries by virtue of which proper maintenance works could have undertaken. As a result of which, graves were brought in from those cemeteries to the Guwahati Cemetery. Some of the cemeteries from where graves were brought in by the Army Graves Services were the Sylhet Military Cemetery, the Amari Bari Military Cemetery, the Nowgong Civil Cemetery, the Gauhati (old name of Guwahati) Civil Cemetery and the Mohachara Cemetery. Furthermore, after the war ended more graves were brought in due to lack of care from places such as Lushai Hills and from civil cemeteries of Badarpur, Cooch bihar, Darjeeling, Dhubri, Dibrugarh, Dinjan, Katapahar, Lumding, Shillong, Silchar among others.
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The Entry Gate to the Cemetery
The Guwahati War Cemetery is located in the Silpukhuri locality of the capital city of Assam. The globally renowned Navagraha Temple is located just a stone’s throw away from the war memorial. In here, visitors can pay respect to many a hero who left their mortal bodies for heavenly abode during the war. The memorial has 486 graves and commemorations belonging to Commonwealth servicemen and 24 graves belonging to Chinese soldiers. Apart from them, there are 2 non war graves and 25 graves that are yet to be identified.
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Inside the Cemetery
The Cemetery is open to general public throughout the week with slight changes in timings during the two major seasons of the year. The place screams history to the fullest, the likes of which are scarce to find anywhere in the world. But even then, the place is yet to get its due. While the Kohima War Cemetery and the Imphal War Cemetery in the neighbouring states of Assam are quite well promoted as popular tourist destinations, the Cemetery in Guwahati, not inferior by any counts is not at all a prominent tourist landmark in the tourism map of the city. There is a large bulk of the population of the city who are strangely unaware that such a landmark even exists in the city! The place deserves its due position in the historical hierarchy of the country and the sooner it is done, the better.