Friday, 4 January 2019

Historic Lal Baradari, once a sanctified place in Lucknow, UP - needs urgent repairs and restoration

Lal Baradari, Lucknow, UP  n.geoview.info
Monuments play no less role in deciphering the history of a country or  a region than others. They are the connecting bridge between the past and present. History has no place in a society if there are no monuments. In a vast country like India there are innumerable monuments that are either rotting or not getting the attention of the governments. Invariably, in most cases, financial constraints  may be projected as a major excuse. Many monuments are slowly dying for want of funds and action. Such monuments need to be preserved for our posterity and the governments both state and central should allocate some funds to save such dying monuments that are steeped in history.

Lal Baradari, a notable and once a sanctified  structure in Lucknow built during reign of Nawab Saadat Ali Khan (1798 -1814)  became  a part of Chhatar Manzil Palace complex and served  as the throne room, coronation hall and assembly for Avadh rulers. In the 1990s it was  occupied by the State Lalit Kala Academy of fine arts and was also used as gallery for holding art exhibitions. It is on Lucknow University campus opposite  Tagore library park Park.

Paradoxically, this place once served as a place of celebration where the people from higher class used to conduct  marriages and receptions, not realizing that this place the Baradari of Qaiser Bagh, also known as the Safed Baradari because of its color (safed that is white) was meant as 'palace of mourning' and was named Qasr-ul-Aza as such.  The last King of Awadh, Wajid Ali Shah built it as an Imambara for observing azadaari (mourning) for the martyrdom of Imam Hussain and his followers at Karbala. People who had attended the joyous functions were in a state of rude shock upon knowing the purpose for which the building was constructed by the last ruler.
Lal Baradari, Lucknow, UP Times of India - Indiatimes.com
According to Prof. Masood Hussain Rizvi, who wrote a book on  Wajid Ali Shah, mentioned that  the year of inception of the palace of mourning Qasr-ul-Aza as 1270 Hijri (1854) by the Sultan, Wajid Ali Shah. This is based on a chronogram by one Maqbool-ud-Daulah Mehdi Ali Khan. He also mentioned  about an English book on Lucknow showing  a photograph of the interior of the Imambara with a taazia and alams (banners) and a zakir (preacher) appeared seated on a mimbar (pulpit) for addressing a majlis (assembly for mourning).
Lal Baradari, Lucknow, UP  Wikimedia Commons
The ruler Wajid Ali Shah  came to know about  one Syed Mehdi Hasan who had returned from the a pilgrimage to Karbala, with a zarih (replica of the tomb of Imam Hussain) made from Khaak-e-shlfa (sacred earth from the place of Imam Hussain's martyrdom) that is believed to have a curative power. The zarih was initially kept at Karbala of Dayanat-ud-Daulah on 26th of Shaban 1270 Hijri (May 1854). The King  along with his nobles went to that  place dressed in black, the color of mourning. Later, he ordered that the zarih be given royal reception and be  placed in his newly built Imambara Qasr-ul-Aza at Qaiser Bagh. The King also rewarded Syed Mehdi Hasan with cash and conferred upon him a khillat (robe of honour).

The English company upon taking control of Awadh in 1856, they used Baradari to hold court for petitions and claims by the officers and nobles of the deposed King's reign and his relatives. Around 1923 or later,  the Taluqadars of Awadh   got it back  from the British, as a gesture of appreciation for their submission and loyalty to the Queen of the British Empire. The Baradari  continued to be in their possession and control.

This building steeped in history, a few years, ago had a bank and cafeteria for the students and a teachers club, all vacated because of the fragile condition of the building. A few years ago, part of the roof of  vaulted hall collapsed and the pillars seemed to be in bad shape and might  come down at any time, according to the media reports. The lakhauri bricks of the building had begun to fall and recently, it is reported in the news paper, that a major crack had developed in this historic structure. The crack widens as the days go buy and the building is slowly crumbling now. Indeed, a sad tale of wanton neglect and apathy,


Experts say it requires a huge sum to restore this building back to old splendor and it can not be done without any help from the central and state governments. Despite several letters to the governments, there has been no positive response. To prevent any mishap and trespassing,  as the structure is in a dilapidated condition, fencing is done around the building. It is the only red stone building in the Awadhi era.
Source:
Hindustan Times, City Scan, A Time in History
Wednesday 29.4.1998 — Palace of mourning

http://lucknow.me/Lal-Baradari.html
 https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/historic-lal-baradari-on-verge-of-collapse/articleshow/67342278.cms