City Monument – War Wall, Mehrauli

City Monument – War Wall, Mehrauli

The unknown soldiers.

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]

It does not look like a place worth stopping for. This is just a yellowing wall, albeit in historic Mehrauli.

But stop.

An inscribed marble plaque is embedded in the wall.

The Zails Of
And Badarpur
1261 Men
Went To
The Great War
Of These 92
Gave Up
Their Lives

A star is carved on each side of the plaque. A blackened earthen lamp lies at the bottom. The wall itself protects a health care center, which is said to be originally a Lodhi-era tomb. An adjacent poster provides phone numbers for applying government-issued identity cards. But there is no clue on the identity of these 1,262 men who went to fight in the First World War from the Delhi districts of Mehrauli and Badapur.

And where were these men sent?

Who put up this memorial?

A shop called Drishti Optics stands across the road. Its owner, an authorized dealer of Rayban sunglasses, doesn’t know the name of even one of the 92 men who gave up their lives in the war.

Google too turned out to be of no use.

Centuries ago, a Roman poet had said, “It is sweet and right to die for one’s country.” English poet and soldier Wilfred Owen had memorably called that an old lie.

Owen knew better. He was killed in the Great War.

Where Near Mehruali Bus Stand Nearest Metro Station Qutub Minar Best Time Later afternoon

The great casualty