DNA Web Team | Sep 18, 2017
The final journey of the Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh began Monday with the mortal remains being taken on a gun carriage to the Brar Square here for conducting last rites with state honours
India on Monday bid a teary farewell to the Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh with full state honours.
Singh's body was consigned to flames amid chanting of hymns at the Brar Square in Delhi Cantonment in the presence of several senior political leaders and top brass of the Indian Military.
A gun salute was given to Singh while IAF Sukhoi fighter jets carried out a fly past in the "missing man formation" in honour of the 1965 war hero who died on Saturday. There was a fly past by IAF choppers also.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, BJP leader LK Advani, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and three service chiefs were present at last rites ceremony of Marshal of Air Force.
One of finest soldiers of India, Singh, who had led an young Indian Air Force during the 1965 India-Pakistan war, died following a cardiac arrest at the age of 98.
President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in paying tributes to Arjan Singh. Modi drove straight to Singh's residence in the national capital on his return from a day-long visit to Gujarat, and paid his respects to Singh, the only Air Force officer to have been accorded the five-star rank.
The prime minister also wrote a message of condolence at Singh's residence and interacted with his family members.
"My tributes to the brave soldier who had a fighter's qualities of valour and courtesy. His life was dedicated to Mother India," Modi wrote in Gujarati in his message in the condolence book at Singh's residence.
President Ram Nath Kovind, who is also the supreme commander of the armed forces, visited Singh's 7, Kautilya Marg residence.
The three service chiefs --Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, Naval chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat -- as well as Minister of State Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Puri were also present.
Known as a man of few words, he was not only a fearless fighter pilot but had profound knowledge about air power which he applied in a wide spectrum of air operations. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian honour, in 1965.
Many people confuse the firing of a gun salute with the volleys of musketry which are fired over the grave at a military funeral. (There is a protocol that states how many guns fire in salute of a dignitary. This salute is fired with howitzers, cannons or saluting guns). In a military funeral, there are the pallbearers, the squad leader and the firing squad. The firing squad consists of 7 service members. Each has a rifle and 3 rounds of blank ammunition.
Three volleys of musketry are fired at the end of a military funeral to signal the end of the funeral. It dates back to the days when conflicting armies would call a truce to clear the battlefield of dead and wounded. Three volleys of musketry was the signal to the other side that you had finished burying your dead and evacuated your wounded and were ready to continue operations. The custom lives on today as the closing (along with the playing of taps or the Last Post) of a funeral where military honors are rendered.
Royalty and heads of state receive a 21-gun salute, field marshals, state officials and equivalents receive a 19-gun salute, generals and equivalent ranks receive 17, and so on down to 11 for a brigadier. To honour the passing of a soldier below the rank of brigadier, or as a general gesture of mourning and remembrance, three rifle volleys are fired; all the rifles are fired in unison, and this is repeated three times. The three volleys are believed to have originally represented the holy trinity.
The 21-gun salute traces its roots to the Anglo-Saxon empire, when seven guns constituted a recognized naval salute, as most naval vessels had seven guns. Because gunpowder in those days could be more easily stored on land than at sea, guns on land could fire three rounds for every one that could be fired by a ship at sea.
Later, as gunpowder and storage methods improved, salutes at sea also began using 21 guns.__._,_.___
(Source- Via Gp e-mail from Carl Gomes, Vet
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