Commenters brought it up in the post about the commissioning of INS Shikra, and it's something I noticed then as well, though I didn't really have the time to blog about it. All I can say is that it's a damn shame the Navy hasn't bothered to commission some faithful artwork for something as important as the crest of the newly commissioned base.
The INS Shikra crest is not just inappropriate (considering that the Bald Eagle is the national bird and globally recognised symbol/metaphor of the United States), but irresponsible and careless to the extreme. The Shikra (see photo) is a small bird from the hawk family (we saw plenty of these during bird-walks in boarding school in the early 1990s in South India -- feisty little killers). The Bald Eagle is found only in North America. The Shikra is found largely in South Asia, particularly India.
It would be easy to dismiss this as someone's error, or oversight. But then stop and think. An error in the creation of something as enduring and permanent as an official crest? Choosing any old bird of prey and passing it off as a bird as singular as the Shikra is irresponsible and tacky to the extreme. I really wish the Navy would take it under consideration to have a re-look at the Shikra crest.
And it's not as though the Navy doesn't have crests of relatively obscure or little known animals. For example, the Navy's Kilo INS Sindhuvijay has a crest that faithfully depicts the decidedly unfamiliar Cuvier's Beaked Whale, and the Class 209 INS Shankul's crest depicts a Skate, which could easily have been made a manta or any of the other familiar rays.
This isn't nitpicking. A crest is a form of military heraldry that carries a great degree of identity and pride. And if that's based on an error, well, you know I mean.
Labels: Military History, Navy