Reliving my Heritage – Red Fort, Delhi, India
What is Heritage? How well do we know about our Heritage?
To know about my heritage I visited a site recognised by UNESCO in India known as Red Fort.
Heritage is the full range of our inherited traditions, monuments, objects, and culture. Most important, it is the range of contemporary activities, meanings, and behaviors that we draw from them. Heritage includes, but is much more than preserving, excavating, displaying, or restoring a collection of old things.
Red Fort was built by the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan in 1638 when he shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi. He built the huge walled city of Shahjahanabad(now old Delhi). It took 10 years to build. The city had 14 gates out of which only Kashmiri, Ajmeri, Lahore, Turkman and Delhi gates exist today. Red Fort is made of red sandstone.
Red Fort dates back to the peak period of Mughal power when it was known as Quila-e-Maulla( Auspicious fort ). Designed by Ustad Ahmed Lahori.Originally when it was painted white it looked as if it is made of marble but due to weather conditions and polluted atmosphere that paint was corroded, still u can find remains of it in the Fort.
The massive walls of the Red Fort, rise 33m, with bastions on the battlements, and two main gates were designed to keep invaders out. The entire fort is said to have cost one crore rupees, half of it being spent on palaces. Although the complex sustained great damage during 18th and early 19th centuries, its one-time grandeur can still be seen. Entrances at the Lahore gate of the palace is veiled by the barbican added by Aurangzeb. It leads to a long covered bazaar, the Chatta Chowk. A few yards ahead one comes to an open arched 49 ft-high Naubat / Naqqar Khana ( welcome room ) once used as apartments for nobles on duty. It was followed by Diwan-e-Aam ( hall for general audience ) built in red sandstone sitting atop an impressive plinth and then the Diwan-e-Khas ( hall for preferred audiences ). The other attractions here are the Mumtaz Mahal, Rang Mahal ( palace of colours ), Khas Mahal (emperor’s palace), Moti Masjid (pearl mosque),the Hammam (bathing area) and the shah Burj. It is in the Diwan-e-Khas where Shahjahan once sat on his famous peacock throne. Mumtaz Mahal now houses the museum of archaeology which has artefacts salvaged from the royal palace.Surrounded by a moat, it became the focal point of patriotic fevor during India’s struggle for freedom. So much so that the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, addressed the nation from the ramparts of the fort when India became free on the midnight of August 15, 1947. This tradition continues. When I entered the museum I got to know about my countries struggle for independence.
HISTORY OF INDIA ( inside the museum )
It all started with the establishment East India Company. The English came as traders and became our masters. Slowly and gradually the conquered India from South to East and then headed towards North. They emerged as supreme power in India. They totally shattered the traditional self-suffice rural economy. The economic exploitation of india by british ruined the peasantry uprooted the tribals, and destroyed trade and handicrafts. Large parts of south and west India were put under the Ryotwari system, whereas Punjab, North-West provinces and Awadh under Mahalwari system.
The company wanted to collect maximum taxes to meet their military, administrative expenses and also wanted to gain maximum profit. Whenever atrocities, repression and exploitation reach beyond a certain limit, there is a mass outburst in the form of revolt. The museum also consist the memory of the revolt of 1857. It started on may 10, 1857. The revolt was outcome of the widespread resentment that had been boiling against the British for a long time.
It was lead by nana sahib in Kanpur, Tantya Tope in bithul and Begum Hazart Mahal in Awadh. Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi led the revolt in central India. Mahatma Gandhi, popularly known as father of the nation, played a stellar role in India’s freedom struggle. He initiated many activities like Satyagrah and Sarvodya under non-violent resistance. The Indian independence act 1947 was passed by British parliament. The Indian political parties agreed on the transfer of power from the British government to the independent Indian government and partition of India.
Thus our heritage is unique in several respects. Let’s try to maintain and preserve it at all costs.
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