Indian War Memorial Museum, Red Fort (New Delhi)

Indian War Memorial Museum, Red Fort (New Delhi)

Source: ASI

This museum was set up as a tribute to the soldiers who had participated in the world war in India or abroad on behalf of the British. Naubat Kahana or Naqqar Khana (Musical house) of the Red Fort was chosen to accommodate the museum in its first and second floors. The museum is approachable from the north and south of the building facing east.

The introductory gallery comprises diorama showing the battle of Panipat with the army of Babur and Ibrahim Lodi standing opposite each other. The other displayed objects are arrows, swords, khukris, revolvers, machine guns, shells etc. Variety of daggers with ivory and inscribed hilt, chest armour, small weapons like gupti, battle axes are also exhibited in the gallery. Helmets, armours, different types of swords, daggers etc are displayed in Gallery No. 2 and 3. Bomb fuses, shells, models of pistols, bullets, gun powder flasks on display gives vivid picture of the arms and ammunition used during the First World War.

The last two galleries show the impact of European industrialization over the weapons and communication since radars, telephone, telegraph, signal lamps, guns with periscope, trench periscope etc were introduced during the war. Various types of badges, ribbons, uniform of Turkish and New Zealand army officers, and flags are also put on display. Model of army transport cart and railway goods track, model of Baghdad Arab port and Basra dockyard exhibited in the museum attract the attention of the visitors. Another attraction of the gallery is the complete dress of Maharaja Jodhpur. His Highness Pratap Singh including kurta (long shirt), belt, trouser, turban with zari work, shoes and inscribed sword with sheath.


Swantratata Senani Museum, Red Fort (New Delhi)

Located on the northeast of the Red Fort, Salimgarh was built by Islam Shah Sur (1545 – 1554 AD), also known as Salim Shar, son and successor of Sher Shah Sur (1540 – 1545 AD). It remained unfinished during Salim Shah's death in 1552. Roughly semi-circular on plan with a circuit of the walls about a km it originally stood on an island close to the west bank of Yamuna River.

A portion of Salimgarh fort, which the Archaeological Survey of India initially took over from the Indian army, has been developed in 1995 as a memorial to the Indian freedom fighters. The two barracks which were used to imprison Shah Nawaz Khan, Prem Kumar Sahgal, Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon and hundreds of other soldiers of the Indian National Army and other barracks are being maintained as a memorial. This memorial was originally a guard room constructed by the British army in 1916 AD. During the historical INA trial in Red Fort many of the prisoners were detained here.

The Archaeological Survey of India tool over these barracks from the Indian army in 1992 for conservation and preservation on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Quit India movement and was dedicated to the INA heroes. INA uniform worned by Col. Prem Kumar, riding boots and coat buttons of Col. Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon, photographs of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and others are on display. In one of the galleries, excavated material and photographs of the excavation carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India inside the fort in 1995 are also on display.


Swatantrata Sangram Sanghralaya, Red Fort (New Delhi)

The Red Fort is one among the prominent monuments in Delhi, which was constructed by Shahjahan in 1648 A.D. After the downfall of the Mughal empire, the Red Fort was occupied by the British army which pulled down several structures and raised new ones. In 1945 – 46, the INA officers were tried in a court martial and the proceedings of the court aroused nation wide interest. The Congress formed a committee of lawyers for the defence of the accused, Shah Nawaz Khan, P.K. Sehgal and G.S. Dhillon who were found guilty but remitted in the face of the country wide resentment.

On 15th August 1947, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, unfurled the national flag from the ramparts of the Red Fort. The Lal Qila thus became a symbol of independence and national pride. Considering the role the Red Fort has played in the freedom struggle Swatantrata Sangram Sanghralaya was set up in one of the double storeyed army barracks in 1995. The museum provides a glimpse of major phases of India's struggle for freedom. The following are the phases/episodes of the struggle which have been portrayed in the museum:

1.Prelude to 1857 uprising
2.First war of Indian independence 1857 AD
3.India at the crossroads 1858 – 1884 AD
4.Emergence of Congress 1885 – 1905 AD
5. Moderates and extremist phase 1906 – 1919 AD
6.Beginning of Gandhi era 1920 – 1929 AD
7.India during Civil Disobedience Movement 1930 – 1939 AD
8.Quit India Movement 1942 AD
9.Indian National Army 1942 AD
10.India Achieves Freedom 15th August 1947

In the museum, the history of the freedom struggle is depicted through photographs, documents, paintings, lithographs and objects like guns, pistols, swords, shields, badges, medals, dioramas, sculptures etc.


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