(Note: This story was first published on 22 July 2019. It is now being republished after the same claim went viral on social media again.)
A widely circulated message across multiple social media platforms claims that war memorial India Gate has the names of 61,395 Muslims freedom fighters’ inscribed on it.
The post, which is in Hindi, translates to:
“There are total 95,300 names of freedom fighters inscribed on Delhi's India gate
And some shameless people call Muslims traitor whereas their own history is about serving the British people.”
The post, in addition to the number of names of Muslim freedom fighters, also lists the numbers for Sikhs, Dalits, Savarnas, 'Sanghis' etc.
TRUE OR FALSE?
The claim is false and has glaring discrepancies at multiple levels.
To start with, the total number of names of freedom fighters inscribed on India gate is 13,216 – all of whom suffered casualties during World War I. The post falsely exaggerates this number to 95,300.
The data can be found on Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) website, which aims to honour Commonwealth forces who died in the First and Second World Wars.
The names inscribed on the wall also include martyrs from United Kingdom and Australia, who served alongside the Indian Army under British rule. The viral post finds no mention of this.
According to the website’s data, the total number of Indian names inscribed on the monument is 12,260, with 959 from UK and one casualty from Australia.
The website also states that one of its principles is to “not make any distinctions on account of military rank, race or creed.”
WHAT DID WE FIND
The official data available on the war memorial, which was unveiled on 12 February 1931, proves that the viral posts are incorrect.
The cornice of the India Gate is inscribed with the Imperial suns, while both sides of the arch have INDIA, with dates MCMXIV (1914 left) and MCMXIX (1919 right). The inscription below ‘INDIA’ says:
“TO THE DEAD OF THE INDIAN ARMIES WHO FELL AND ARE HONOURED IN FRANCE AND FLANDERS MESOPOTAMIA AND PERSIA EAST AFRICA GALLIPOLI AND ELSEWHERE IN THE NEAR AND THE FAR-EAST AND IN SACRED MEMORY ALSO OF THOSE WHOSE NAMES ARE HERE RECORDED AND WHO FELL IN INDIA OR THE NORTH-WEST FRONTIER AND DURING THE THIRD AFGHAN WAR”
The monument also acts as a national memorial to all the 70,000 soldiers of undivided India, who died during the years 1914-1921. The majority of them are commemorated by name outside the confines of India.