Friday, August 22, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Ranjit Singh’s statue unveiled in Parliament House
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 21
Sikh leaders finally got their due place in the Parliament complex with the Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today unveiling the statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh riding a horse and the portraits of Master Tara Singh and Baba Kharak Singh, who left an impeccable mark on the polity of Punjab.

The light and sound show “Sher-e-Punjab”, performed by Chandi-garh-based artiste Harbux Latta, narrating the life and achievements of the Sher-e-Punjab, not only enlightened the audience but also left a mark on them. This is for the first time that the paintings of any Sikh leader have been exhibited in the Central Hall of Parliament.

The portraits of shaheed Bhagat Singh and Udham Singh still await the nod to be placed in the Central Hall of Parliament.

The ceremony was attended by Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, Opposition leader (Lok Sabha) Sonia Gandhi, Opposition leader (Rajya Sabha) Dr Manmohan Singh, SAD president Parkash Singh Badal, SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi and National Commission for Minorities (NCM) Chairman Tarlochan Singh .

The 22-foot high statue of the Maharaja has been sculpted by Ram Sutar, who had earlier sculpted the Lion of Punjab’s statue installed in Amritsar. The light and sound show was the first Punjab production to be presented in the newly constructed Balayogi auditorium in the Parliament complex .

Master Tara Singh and freedom fighter Baba Kharak Singh are the architects of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).

The portraits have been made by Amritsar-based artist Phoola Rani. Master Tara Singh was born in a Punjabi Hindu Malhotra family of Rawalpindi. He is remembered for two things — steering Sikhs towards opting for India in 1947 and to campaign for the state of Punjab in independent India. The Prime Minister also unveiled the portraits of four others — Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Dr K.N. Munshi and Dr B. Pattabhi Sitaramaiah Pantulu.

Chattopadhyay was the composer of the National Song “Vande Mataram”, and Kazi Nazrul Islam was a revolutionary poet who brought back the glory of Bengali music as well as Indian music. Dr Munshi was a versatile personality and a great academician who vehemently denounced the British for the pitiable economic conditions which prevailed in those days and Dr Pantulu was a freedom fighter who pioneered the cooperative movement in South India.

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