Thursday, 31 October 2019

The 1857 Sepoy mutiny (rebellion) memorial, Delhi - first major revolt against the English company's rule

The Mutiny Memorial in 1870, Delhi.
 Above image: The Mutiny Memorial in Delhi is a monument to British officers. In panels around the base, there is a record of 2,163 officers and men who were killed, wounded or went missing between 8 June and 7 September 1857. It was taken in 1870 by an unknown photographer..................

The Mutiny,  now referred to as the great rebellion of 1957 by the Sepoys against the East India company's unjust and oppressive rule  is  the most important event in the history of the British colonial rule in India. It took a while for the British to control the rebellion that started off at Meerut Cantonment and  had engulfed most of the northern Indian states.  Tens of thousands of Indian soldiers and civilians were killed  by the British and like wise  lots of British including women and children fell victims to the frenzied Indian mobs that were on a rampage spree, resulting in chaos and mayhem. In the aftermath of this  wide-spread rebellion against the foreign rule, East India Company's corrupt and misrule came to an end and the subcontinent's administration came under the direct Crown rule later called the ''British Raj''.   In New Delhi, there is memorial to the victims  in front of the Old Telegraph Building, Kashmiri Gate, now known as Ajitgarh. It is a historical monuments one of the tallest in the capital. 

Built in 1863  in the Gothic style in red sandstone, with four tiers rising from an octagonal base, this memorial is meant for all those who had fought in the Delhi Field Force, British and Indians, during the Indian Rebellion of 1857. They lost their lives between May/June and September as part of Delhi Field Force.  The lowest tier consists of seven faces containing memorial plaques and one face has the stairway to the upper tiers. The then  Public Works Department of the British India government  bore all the construction cost and erected this memorial. The memorial was  designed  to be  taller than the  near-by Ashoka Pillar, which is just  200 metres (660 ft) away. Anyway  its  present height is 33 meters.  Upon the completion of this memorials, it received much criticism from the public.
Mutiny Memorial in 2012
 As part of 25th anniversary of India's Independence in 1972,  the Indian Government that was wary of the  comments mentioned in the plaque, renamed the monument 'Ajitgarh' ('Place of the Undistinguished) Mutiny Memorial 1870 and erected a new  plaque stating that the 'enemy' mentioned on the memorial were 'immortal martyrs and freedom fighters  for Indian freedom'. It is also known as the 'first war of independence' against the colonial rule.

In 2910 for the first time chemical cleaning was done with a view to installing illumination work. Chemical cleaning  will improve the shine in the facade according to the ASI. The conservation work was done by Intach's Delhi chapter and they took meticulous care not to damage the heritage value of the old structure that was structurally strong. Non-acidic detergent is used as a cleaning agent and every inch of the surface is covered. It is a time-consuming job as the chemical will act as a binding agent on the surface and improve its strength and ageing process.