“I want to create something like Wikipedia, just dedicated to the soldiers of our country where one can find all about a soldier’s life, his sacrifice, his story of becoming a martyr,” said 56-year-old retired Wing Commander (IAF) M A Afraz while talking to. He is the founder of Honourpoint, an online memorial for the martyrs and soldiers of our country.
Afraz’s family — his wife, father and mother — have served the nation for many years. “My wife is an Air force doctor, my father and mother have also served in the Navy; I know the hardships of a defence personnel,” said Afraz.
What is Honourpoint?
Honourpoint is an online memorial with data on more than 13,000 martyrs and soldiers who have died of natural causes, collated from the year 1947. The organisation aims to collect data on 11,000 more soldiers.
“It is a way for former comrades, colleagues, family members, friends and other countrymen, to show their profound gratitude to these brave hearts of India for their exemplary service to the nation,” the website says.
The data has been collected with the help of the soldiers’ kin, local journalists, books and government websites, which is then converted into a video or an article.
“We try to contact the soldier’s family and are in touch with more than 800 families. We conduct events for the families and with the help of some sponsors, we try to give them some financial aid,” said Afraz.
“However, that is not the only aim. The families are scared that the sacrifice of their loved one will be forgotten by people. Our aim is to give a platform to the soldier’s kin where they can talk to people and feel proud about the sacrifices,” says Afraz with a firm voice.
Honourpoint, a non-profit organisation, has organised 6 events in different parts of the country. The online memorial, that had come up just last year, has more than 1,95,000 followers on Facebook and gets around 12,000 visitors per month.
The journey of Honourpoint
After retiring from the Airforce in 2008, Afraz launched the online portal in April 2017, along with two of his friends and retired Wing Commanders Rajendra Prasad and L K Chaubey.
“We started with just with three people and Chaubey’s son helped us with the website. Now, we are about 10 to 15 people working on the website,” said Afraz, father of two daughters.
“With calculated risks, consistent efforts, much hard work and limited resources, the idea took nearly three years to materialise. It was difficult but I think I got the right support from people,” he said.
Afraz says there are no such memorials dedicated to our soldiers where people can read their stories. Therefore, he wanted some platform to serve this purpose.
Afraz says he is a proud nationalist and the idea of belonging to the country motivates him to do this. He adds that the idea of unity can help in maintaining peace and harmony.
“We believe that India as a nation owes a debt of gratitude to its legion of soldiers who have preserved the territorial integrity of the nation since its independence, by their blood and sweat and guarded against forces inimical to its geo-political interests. These soldiers deserve their rightful place in our nation’s history and the knowledge about their contribution needs to be collated and preserved for future generations to know about and derive inspiration,” states the website.
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