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Bharat Rakshak (“Defenders of India”) is a website devoted to discussing India’s military affairs. The BHARAT RAKSHAK project was the brainchild of a few Indians who decided to put up websites related to India’s Defence on the Internet.

One of the first sites on Indian Defence on the Internet was by Seetal Ramesh Patel at Geocities.Com – which was set up in early 1996. Soon after, Seetal’s site was joined by R Chattopadhyay’s site on the Indian Air Force {Bharatiya Vayu Sena} which was set up in November 1996 and Nandan Dharwadkar’s site on the Indian Navy {Bharatiya Nau Sena} which had come up about the same time.

In January 1997, Seetal proposed to create the Consortium of Indian Military Websites merging his Space site along with the sites on the Navy and the Air Force. With the idea that Seetal would take care of the Space Site, and R Chattopadhyay & Nandan take care of their respective branches, the search for someone to maintain an Army and Missile site ended with the inclusion of Harshvardhan Vedak and Rakesh Koshy who had earlier showed enthusiasm & interest in the defence site concept. Seetal proposed naming the consortium, Hind Rakshak, under a common aegis of ‘Rakshak’ site. It was R Chattopadhyay who thought of naming the association Bharat Rakshak, which everybody quickly developed an affinity for. And Bharat Rakshak continues to be the name till date.

Amalgamation of the Air Force, Navy & Space sites and the construction of the Army & Missile sites began in March 1997 and in the following month, these sub-sites was uploaded to a Geocities server with the main page being hosted on a separate server. The Navy site was hosted from a web server at Texas A&M University, the Air Force site was hosted from a web server at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and last but not least, the Space site was hosted from a web server in London, U.K. The Army & Missile pages were not yet complete and Harsh & Rakesh were feverishly working to finish their sections for Bharat Rakshak’s official launch.

Bharat Rakshak officially started up on 01 July 1997, but was online since March/April 1997, as complete construction of the Army and Missiles sites were completed only by 30 June 1997. By 15 August 1997, the 50th Anniversary of India’s Independence, the Bharat Rakshak website had attracted more than 12,000 visitors. It was then decided to put all the sub-sites on a common server, with the BR main page. Seetal then made the investment of registering the domain name and leasing out server space. The cost however was too expensive for just one person to carry and thus it was decided that all the webmasters would chip in. Seetal then came up with the idea of having a sponsor so that they would cover the costs and they would host their site. Soon with luck and determination, Seetal found the perfect sponsor Bharat Rakshak was looking for – Lancer Publishers & Distributors Ltd. This company was a very renowned publisher of military books in India. Lancer sponsored Bharat Rakshak by contributing their information and resources for the use on the website, and in fact Lancer’s own site is designed and maintained by Seetal himself. This relationship with Lancer later on helped Bharat Rakshak in developing its own website for marketing of books related to Defence and Military issues. The influx of higher traffic after the nuclear tests in 1998, necessitated a mirror site till the time better servers were engaged to cater to the high traffic.

Bharat Rakshak expanded with the launch of Amar Jawan on 15 August 2000. A website dedicated to the personnel of the Indian Armed Forces. It is the only site which pays tribute to all the fallen soldiers of the nation with an online roll of honour, that lists the martyrs and their contributions. This site was a result of tremendous effort put by a number of enthusiastic volunteers.

Today BHARAT RAKSHAK is a one stop reference site for anyone wanting to know anything about the Indian Armed Forces.



Seetal Patel

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