Rare memorabilia turns 75 alongside Independence

The silver medal awarded to late air force officer P.K. Chandran on the day the country was declared independent.

The silver medal awarded to late air force officer P.K. Chandran on the day the country was declared independent. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

As the country celebrates 75th anniversary of Independence, a rare medal awarded to a late air force officer and being zealously guarded by his family at his home in Moothakunnam has also turned 75.

The silver medal inscribed with August 15, 1947, on one side and the name T.K. Chandran and his number in the defence force, 18565, remains a prized possession of the family. In fact, it forms part of a rare collection of four medals received by the late officer, the other three precedes the country’s Independence and bear the British insignia.

“It was awarded to my late father on the same day India was declared as an independent nation. He was deployed in Jammu and Kashmir at that time,” said T.C. Premkumar, eldest son of the late defence officer.

A few months after the country turned independent, the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru visited Jammu and Kashmir to boost the morale of the defence contingent there. Chandran also had the privilege to be part of the guard of honour extended to Nehru at that time. A rare photograph of that also forms part of the family’s collection.

“It wasn’t easy to get photographs from those times. It so happened that this particular photograph was captured by a man who was originally from Fort Kochi. Later, he sent that photograph to my father. They met in Kochi 25 years after that photograph was taken,” said Mr. Premkumar.

In fact, Chandran had a bigger collection of photographs and memorabilia of his defence service. But much of it was lost during the deluge of 2018.

Chandran had joined the air force in a recruitment held in Thrissur four years prior to Independence as a 22-year-old. His first posting was in Lahore in February 1943. He retired after 15 years of service.

Much before the Har Ghar Taranga campaign to mark the 75th year of Independence, Chandran used to unfailingly hoist national flag at his home during every Independence Day till his death aged 93 on October 2, 2011.

“Father used to assemble our family members from all generations during those flag hoisting functions. He was very proud of his service to the nation,” said Mr. Premkumar.

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Printable version | Aug 14, 2022 7:14:26 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/rare-memorabilia-turns-75-alongside-independence/article65768317.ece