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:
- Prelude to 1857 uprising
- First war of Indian independence 1857 AD
- India at the crossroads 1858 – 1884 AD
- Emergence of Congress 1885 – 1905 AD
- Moderates and extremist phase 1906 – 1919 AD
- Beginning of Gandhi era 1920 – 1929 AD
- India during Civil Disobedience Movement 1930 – 1939 AD
- Quit India Movement 1942 AD
- Indian National Army 1942 AD
- 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.
Dr. Piyush Bhatt , Assistant Superintending Archaeologist, Indian War Memorial Museum, Archaeological Survey of India, Red Fort, Delhi- 110006.