Bahai News - Jodhpur Lancer's "Haifa Day" commemorated in Baha'i House of Worship
Jodhpur Lancer's "Haifa Day" commemorated in Baha'i House of
NEW DELHI, India, 6 October 2000 (BWNS) -- Every year on 23 September the
Indian Army commemorates Haifa Day, when two Indian cavalry brigades
fighting under British General Edmund Allenby during World War I helped
liberate Haifa, Israel, from Turkish-German forces in 1918.
The courageous uphill assault by the Jodhpur Lancers, which took by
surprise the German and Turkish artillery and machine gun emplacements on
top of Mount Carmel, is also commemorated by the Haifa Monument that
stands at one of New Delhi's busiest intersections.
This year, for the first time, a Haifa Day commemorative event was held
at the Baha'i House of Worship in New Delhi, highlighting a little-known
connection between the bravery of the Indian fighters and the early
history of the Baha'i Faith.
One of the residents of Haifa in 1918 was Abdu'l-Baha, the son of the
Founder of the Baha'i Faith and designated by Him as His successor. The
Commander of the Turkish forces in Syria and Palestine, Jamal Pasha, had
threatened to crucify Abdu'l-Baha and destroy the Baha'i holy places in
Haifa and nearby Acre. With the liberation of Haifa, the threat to
Abdu'l-Baha's life was lifted.
This link between the Jodhpur Lancers and the life of Abdu'l-Baha first
came to light in February 2000 when the architect of the Baha'i House of
Worship, Mr. Fariborz Sahba, met with Union Minister for External
Affairs, the Honorable Jaswant Singh. Mr. Singh's father was a member
of the Jodhpur Lancers and fought under General Allenby.
The event on 23 September was attended by the Home Minister, Mr. L. K.
Advani; the Union Minister for Disinvestments and Planning, Mr. Aroun
Shourie; the Ambassador of Israel, Mr. David Aphek; the Deputy High
Commissioner of the United Kingdom, Mr. T McCann; the Ambassador of the
European Commission, Mr. Caillouet; and other high-ranking army
personnel, diplomats, and heads of non-governmental organizations. The
rulers of the princely states of Jodhpur, Mysore and Hyderabad, whose
cavalries have now combined to form the Indian Army's 61st Cavalry, were
"The Jodhpur Lancers distinguished themselves with their equestrian and
fighting skills and sheer courage...and the day is a very important one
in our annals," wrote the Maharaja Gajsingh of Jodhpur in response to
the invitation. "The link between the Haifa Charge of 1918 and the life
of Abdu'l-Baha is indeed interesting and adds a new dimension to the
whole story of Haifa for us here at Jodhpur."
The evening program consisted of a choir service in the Prayer Hall of
the House of Worship and a gathering in the illuminated lawn surrounding
the Temple. Zena Sorabjee, a member of the Asian Continental Board of
Counsellors, spoke about Abdu'l-Baha's life of service and the spirit of
service embodied by the 61st Cavalry.
©Copyright 2000, Baha'i World News Service
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