Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Chattri - War Memorial for Indians in Brighton, England!!

Indian war Memorial Chattri,_Brighto, England. en.wikipedia.org

Above image:  The Chattri (height 29 feet; diameter 9 feet),a war memorial commemorating Indian soldiers in the First World War who had been treated at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, which was used as a makeshift hospital. It stands on the South Downs above the city of Brighton and Hove; looking southwards towards Brighton......

India was part of the British Empire During the First World War, and more than 800,000 Indian soldiers fought for the Allied Powers as India was part of the British Empire. The war last for four years and the wounded soldiers were treated in many  makeshift military hospitals. Among the three established in Brighton, one was the town's famous royal palace, the Royal Pavilion and  King George V  wanted Indian soldiers treated  at the Pavilion built in,  Indo-Saracenic style so that the  setting would help them recuperate easily. building would provide familiar surroundings. Surprisingly all  higherups, including the king and the queen visited the hospital to cheer up the  military men. Among the 345 injured soldiers  admitted in December 1914 at  Brighton's  Royal Pavilion that provided  for the different dietary and other cultural requirements of Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims, The 21 Muslim soldiers died  were buried at the Shah Jahan Mosque in Woking, Surrey, in accordance with Islamic tradition ; of the 53 Hindus  and Sikhs died in the hospital, they were cremated in a specially created ghat on High Downs above Brighton  and the Aasthi  (ashes) scattered in the English Channel. Subsequently, the funeral rite was again observed in line with religious customs bein practiced by other faiths. 

war Memorial Chattri,_BrightonWikimedia Commons

After the war a memorial was planed at Brighton and on the Ghat and the credit goes to John Otter, a lieutenant in the Indian Medical Service and later
the Mayor of Brighton and  Lt Das Gupta who made the proposal. After completing certain modalities, conditions, etc.,  funds were raised in 1917 for the memorial and India House would bear the cost of construction and erecting the memorial. 

The Chattri was designed by a  young Indian architect, E. C. Henrique and Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob, an English architect who designed many buildings in India and a pioneer in   Indo-Saracenic designs provided guidance. The work on the memorial was completed by the end of 1921. Also added was a cottage for the care-taker of the Chattri. The net cost of construction was roughly of £4,964 ( equal to £183 thousand in 2017 market rate) and the work was done by a Manchester based firm that got the contract  in 1918. The Chattri was unveiled on 1 February 1921 by Edward, Prince of Wales. After 1930, the Chattri fell into disrepair and the upkeep was complicated with the death of the cottage keeper. The  condition of the Chattri was precarious and during the 2nd world war, the soldiers used this place for shooting practice, causing several bullet holes. After several representations made, the city corporation took responsibility and  worked with the Imperial War Commission  to set things right for the memorial; the War Office agreed to repair the war memorial  and the Chattri was restored to old conditions

White marble from Sicily was used for the construction of the main part of the memorial and the plinth was made of gravestone. The plinth stands on three blocks of granite that covered the slabs during cremation. The memorial stands in the place where the ghats (funeral pyres) were built for the 54 dead Indian soldiers. 

Chattri is a tall, domed pavilion, rising to 29 feet (8.8 m) to the finial at its apex with a square base supported by eight columns that start  with square bases before becoming octagonal halfway up. The base of the dome is  octagonal. The plinth bears an inscription in English, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu.

 The Chattri was listed at Grade II by English Heritage on 20 August 1971 and is one of 1,124 Grade II-listed buildings and structures, and 1,218 listed buildings of all grades, in the city of Brighton and Hove.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chattri,_Brighton