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A year after adopting Shivaji Maharaj’s seal in Navy flag, PM Modi to attend Navy Day celebrations from Sindhudurg: Read how Chhatrapati’s legacy inspires Indian Navy

The 2023 edition of the 'Navy Day' celebrations is being held at Sindhudurg (meaning: Fort in the Sea)to commemorate the maritime heritage of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

The Indian Navy observes ‘Navy Day’ on 4th December each year to honour the resilience, diligence and bravery of the maritime branch of the Indian Armed Forces.

This year’s celebration marks the 52nd anniversary of ‘Operation Trident‘ which was undertaken by the Indian Navy on 4th December 1971. Without suffering any losses, the Indian Navy fleet entered the Pakistani waters and launched a major offensive amid the Indian-Pakistan war.

It sank minesweeper PNS Muhafiz, destroyer PNS Khaibar and a Pakistani cargo vessel that was carrying ammunition. A total of 255 Pakistani sailors were killed in the operation.

On Monday (4th December), Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be a part of India’s Navy Day celebrations in the Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra. In a tweet, he said, “On Navy Day, best wishes to all the personnel of the Indian Navy.”

“Their commitment to safeguarding our seas is a testament to their unwavering dedication to duty and love for our nation. In every circumstance, their spirit and resolve remain unshakable. We are forever grateful for their service and sacrifices,” he informed.

PM Modi added, “I look forward to joining the Navy Day programme at Sindhudurg in Maharashtra later today. This place has a close association with Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, whose efforts to build a strong navy are well known.”

PM Modi to unveil statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on Navy Day

According to a press release by the Press Information Bureau (PIB), PM Modi will reach Sindhudurg at 4:15 pm and unveil a statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj at Rajkot Fort.

He will attend the ‘operational demonstration’ by India’s Navy aircraft, ships, submarines and special forces. Such programmes enable the general public to learn about the operations undertaken by the Indian Navy, highlight its contribution to national security and generate maritime consciousness.

The 2023 edition of the ‘Navy Day’ celebrations is being held at Sindhudurg (meaning: Fort in the Sea)to commemorate the maritime heritage of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

Sidhudurg and its connection to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

The development comes a year after the Indian Navy discarded its earlier ensign with the St George’s cross and introduced a new design featuring the royal seal of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. It must be mentioned that 2023 marks the 350th year of the coronation of the Maratha emperor.

In this context, the island fort of Sindhudurg holds immense significance for the Indian Navy. Sindhudurg Fort was built by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj between 1664 and 1667 on a low island named Kurte to defend the Maratha Empire against the Siddis of Janjira.

Another fort named Padamgad served as a shipyard for the Maratha Navy. It was built on a smaller island opposite Sindhudurg. It must be mentioned that Sindhudurg allowed the Marathas to establish a stronghold on the Konkan coast against the English, Dutch and Portuguese navy.

The Sindhudurg fort is spread across an area of 48 acres. It stands as a testament to the military acumen and vision of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. It is believed that the Maratha ruler personally supervised the construction of this fort and ensured its robust design and formidable defences.

Reportedly, over 500 masons, 200 blacksmiths, 100 Portuguese, and a workforce of 3000 toiled tirelessly for 3 years to complete the fort. The distinctive feature of Sindhudurg fort lies in its foundation stones, meticulously laid in slots and fortified with molten lead.

Lime stone, sourced from the central part of the Deccan plateau, highlights the strategic planning behind the fort’s construction.

Adoption of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s seal as Indian Navy’s new ensign

On September 2 last year, the Indian Navy’s new ensign was inaugurated by PM Modi. The Navy dropped the earlier ensign with the St George’s cross and the newly introduced design features a distinct shape, the shape of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s royal seal.

The meaning and significance of the new ensign were explained in a short video. The video also honoured the heritage of the Maratha emperor and depicted how the design has changed over the years. Here is the video:

“From a small harbour police outfit at the beginning of the 17th century to one of the world’s finest naval forces in the 21st century, the Indian Navy has come a long way. It is the proud custodian of a rich maritime legacy. For years, the rank and file of the Indian Navy have dreamt of a change in its ensign that would honour its civilisational heritage. Over the years, the Indian navy’s ensign has undergone several changes and has transformed on many occasions. Shedding the last remnants of the colonial past, on September 2, the Indian Navy adopts its new ensign,” the video said.

“The octagonal shape represents the 8 directions symbolizing the Indian Navy’s multidirectional reach and multidimensional capabilities. The octagonal shape with twin golden borders draws inspiration from the seal of the great Indian emperor Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, whose visionary maritime outlook established a credible naval fleet, with 60 fighting ships and approximately 5000 men. The rising Maratha naval power, during Shivaji Maharaj’s period, was the first to secure the coastline against external aggression,” it further added.

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