Today, many people pass by the Mysore Lancers Haifa Memorial not realizing that though they are separated by almost 5000 km, Bangalore has a strong historical connection with Israel.
It was the erstwhile Maharaja of Mysore’s personal army, the Mysore Lancers that played a deciding role in liberating the port city of Haifa from Ottoman invaders during WWI in 1918. This memorial is one of three monuments in India that commemorates the role of the Mysore Lancers in this war.
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The Mysore Lancers And The Battle Of Haifa
The Mysore Lancers were part of the 15th Cavalry Brigade of the British Empire during WWI. The contingent was made up of 29 officers, 444 non-commissioned officers and 132 followers along with 528 horses and 49 mules. They were commanded by Chamaraj Urs Bahadur.
The Mysore Lancers reached the battlegrounds in September 1918 and were given the seemingly impossible task of liberating a city that was well-defended and fortified by artillery guns.
The Mysore Lancers worked in tandem with the Jodhpur Lancers to attack the city from multiple fronts. Despite being armed with only swords and lances and facing machine gun artillery, the Mysore Lancers attacked Haifa and won what is still considered one of the greatest cavalry battles in the world.
This win was especially significant to the Bahai faith community. Along with freeing the city, the Mysore Lancers rescued the eldest son of Baha-u-llah, Abdul Baha from the risk of execution by the Ottomans. Baha-u-llah was the founder of the Bahai Faith.
The Mysore Lancers Haifa Memorial
The Mysore Lancers Haifa Memorial in Bangalore is situated at the crossing between RT Nagar and JC Magar Main Road, Bangalore. It was commissioned over 100 years ago by the Maharaja of Mysore, Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar. On it is engraved the Roll of Honour with the names of Mysore Lancer’s martyrs of WWI.
Every year, a wreath-laying ceremony is conducted at the memorial on September 23rd, Haifa Day. The two other monuments commemorating the Mysore Lancer’s role in WWI stand in Haifa and at Teen Murti Bhavan in New Delhi.
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