The story behind a special tradition…
At the entrance of the Dining Hall of NATIONAL DEFENCE ACADEMY Khadakwasla, there is a table set for one, with the chair tilted forward. This table is set for the Armed Forces Personnel who are Prisoners of War and forgotten, in the hope that they will return one day ( 54 PsOW of the 1971 war have never returned home).
The Placard on the table says: “The table set is small, for one, symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner against his oppressors. The single rose displayed in a vase reminds us of the families and loved ones of our comrades-in-arms who keep their faith awaiting their return. The Red Ribbon tied so prominently on the vase is reminiscent of the red ribbon worn upon the lapel and breasts of thousands who bear witness to their unyielding determination to demand a proper accounting of our missing.
The candle is unlit, symbolizing the upward reach of their unconquerable spirit. The slice of Lemon is on the bread plate, to remind us of the bitter fate. There is salt upon the bread plate – symbolic of the families’ tears as they wait. The Glass is inverted, they cannot toast with us this night. The chair – it is empty. They are not here. Remember! All of you who served with them and called them comrades, who depended upon their might and aid, and relied upon them, for surely, they have not forsaken you.