Continuous Tragedy in Agra Memorial
We have read a lot of news items about how a statue of Mahatma Gandhi was found lacking his iconic glasses or without his stick, the items having been stolen. But probably for the first time, an entire statue of the Mahatma has disappeared from the Gandhi Memorial in Agra, and the administration doesn’t have a clue.
The memorial lies across Yamuna, adjacent to Itmad-ud-Daulah, the tomb of Empress Noor Jahan’s father. It is said that the Mahatma had stayed in this place, which was an ancient Haveli for eleven days while trying to get rid of some ailments. The water of the Haveli’s well was said to cure many diseases and probably Bapu wished to try it out. After independence and Gandhi’s assassination, the Haveli was declared a memorial and a plaque commemorating Bapu’s stay in the building was installed.
The Natural and Heritage Conservation Committee Dilip Pathak said that they had arrived at the Gandhi Memorial to clean it on the occasion of the Mahatma’s birth anniversary, but when they arrived here, Bapu’s statue was nowhere to be found. They looked around the place, even asked the residents of the nearby area, but the statue has simply disappeared, probably stolen in the past few months as the memorial is in a very poor condition and nobody ever visits this place. All the literature connected to Gandhi has also disappeared from the building.
He said that the entire premises reeked of alcohol and there were plenty of signs to indicate that the dilapidated building serves as a shelter for many illegal activities, all of which were scorned upon by Bapu. He said that the Commissioner Agra division has been requested to get a new statue of Bapu installed in the memorial and get the building repaired by obtaining special dispensation from the Archaeological Survey of India, which has so far blocked all moves to repair this building, claiming that it is too close to the Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah and Chini ka Roza.
Social activist Deep Sharma said that when the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to take up Bapu’s cause of cleanliness, maybe he could begin his campaign by cleaning and restoring the Mahatma’s memorials dotting this land.