Bhopal: Shaurya Smarak leaves visitors guessing

BHOPAL: Lack of signage and proper information are creating problems for the visitors at the otherwise-magnificent ‘Shaurya Smarak’ in the city. The memorial, costing Rs 41 crore, was inaugurated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 14.

Barring security guards – who know next to nothing – there is no one to guide the visitors, who are turning up in their hundreds to visit the place. What worse confounds the problem is that the memorial has several symbolic structures, including areas representing death, life and battle field. Obviously, it is not possible for everyone to understand what these structures signify. And there is not a single board explaining what they represent and why.

“How do I know what it signifies”, said Ajay Karmakar, as he stood before a huge red-coloured metallic structure in the open area of the memorial. There is no board around the structure to explain what it represents or symbolises. Similarly, in the underground portion of the memorial, models of fighter jets have been displayed but their names are missing.

“I had heard a lot about the memorial. But I am feeling letdown. There are seven glass display boards with the names of 280 martyrs. But instead of sandwiching the plaques on which the names are itched between sheets of glass, they have been stuck on the glass plate, thus exposing them to the elements. A brief description of the valour of the persons concerned would have been in order”, said Anant Sahu, an artist and assistant professor in a city college.

He also adds that “The landscaping is good but sculptures of martyrs should have been made in bronze like in Jharkhand and also in Assam, where 50-70 sculptures of Bodo freedom fighters have been displayed. To be very frank, it is a good park”.

Similarly, Snigdha Tripathi, a research scholar said, “I came here with lots of expectations. I thought I will be able to know more about the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the country. But disappointment was in store for me. No doubt, the portrait in the gallery are good but unfortunately, for want of signage, I had to spent a lot time locating the gallery,” she said, adding that “I read in newspapers that movies on martyrs are screened daily here but I could not find the place where it is done. The toilets have leaking taps and garbage is dumped in the open. I don’t know about others, but this place did not evoke patriotic feelings in me”.

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