Prime Minister Narendra Modi is inaugurating the renovated Jallianwala Bagh complex in Amritsar in a virtual ceremony. First opened by Dr Rajendra Prasad on April 13, 1961, the moment is a tribute to the victims on the massacre that took place on the same day in 1919 at the hands of the British colonial rulers.
On the unfortunate day, a large crowd had gathered at the Bagh to protest the arrest of nationalist leaders Saifuddin Kitchlu and Satya Pal. Nobody knows the exact number of lives lost, although the Deputy Commissioner’s office has the names of only 448 who fell to the bullets of the British, led by General Dyer, who fired on the orders of the then Governor of Punjab, Michael O’ Dwyer. With 1,250 bullets fired on that day, the number would actually have run in thousands.
Glass Barrier Around Martyrs Well
The Centre had set aside roughly Rs 20 crore in 2019 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
The Ministry of Culture has performed restoration and conservation work, as well as the construction of facilities such as bathrooms, ticket booths, and drinking water. Since February 2019, the memorial has been closed to the public as NBCC Ltd., a government-owned company, has been renovating it.
They have re-located the entry and exit points to the Bagh as well as erected an artificial lotus garden to surround the main memorial. Shihidi Khu or Martyrs Well is now surrounded with a glass barrier. The move has also been has also been criticised by some because it appears to limit the view.
Multiple development initiatives have been undertaken at the complex. Elaborate heritage restoration works have been carried out in sync with the local architectural style of Punjab.
The heart of the Bagh, the flame monument, has been repaired and restored, water body rejuvenated as a lily pond, and the pathways made broader for better navigability.
Images of the renovated complex shared by BJP’s Twitter account:
A tribute to the bravehearts who lost their lives on April 13, 1919. Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi will dedicate renovated complex of Jallianwala Bagh Smarak to the nation on Aug 28, 2021. pic.twitter.com/PXGGS5mVNQ
— BJP (@BJP4India) August 27, 2021
Sculptures Representing ‘Those Who Never Came Out’
Every evening, a 28-minute Sound and Light show will reenact the events of April 13, 1919. Visitors can sit in silence on a Salvation Ground to honour the martyrs.
On the towering walls of the short alley through which tourists enter the complex, several new sculptures of martyrs have appeared. These are meant to represent ordinary Punjabis from all walks of life who entered the park on that fateful day, but never came out again.
As a result of the adaptive reuse of underused buildings in the complex, four new galleries have been built to exhibit the historical worth of events that occurred in Punjab during that time period. History of Punjab, liberation movement and Gadar movement are portrayed in the galleries.
It also features a statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, a sculpture of Guru Nanak Dev, and a Sikh warrior named Banda Singh Bahadur.
Several new and modern amenities have been added, including redefined paths of movement with appropriate signages; illumination of strategic spots; landscaping and hardscaping with native plantation; and installation of audio nodes throughout the garden. Also, newer areas have been developed for housing the Salvation Ground, Amar Jyot and Flag Mast, a press release by the government said.