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Days after PM Narendra Modi visited a digital exhibition on Sardar Patel at Delhi’s Pragati Maidan on his birth anniversary, its miniature travel version is likely to be flagged off at Bahauddin Government College in Junagadh on November 9. Initiated at Modi’s behest by the Ministry of Culture to showcase the role of integrated India and Sardar Patel’s role in it, the ‘Uniting India: Sardar Patel’ exhibition will travel to other states after Gujarat, say sources. Falling on Junagadh’s Liberation Day — on November 9 — the exhibition gains significance as Sardar Patel addressed his first public meeting in the ground of Bahauddin college after the Nawab of Junagadh escaped to Pakistan and Junagadh was liberated in 1947.
Visitors will not only be able to ask questions to Patel’s life-sized hologram and get a reply in his voice, they will also be able to experience the trauma of India’s partition, see India’s map without its many ‘rebel’ princely states at the exhibition designed by the NID, Ahmedabad. The show recreates the story of India’s political integration through Patel’s life and his statesmanship through digital interactive installations, audiovisuals, social media and cinematic storytelling.
NID’s initial interpretation plan of the exhibition was reviewed by Modi twice and his suggestions were incorporated in the exhibition that took one and a half year to create. It also features information and maps on the eight odd “difficult” princely states — Bhopal, J&K, Hyderabad, Junagadh, Travancore-Cochin, Baroda, Aundh — where India faced accession issues.
“In less than a year, Sardar Patel convinced 565 princely states to join India with minimum use of military strength.,. Digital copies of ‘Instruments of Accessions’ signed by these states have been made accessible to visitors to browse and read through a virtual flip-books. People can also zoom into a touch table to understand these states, see digital maps showing India under the Maurya, Mughal and British rule. There are also kiosks where people can take a pledge of United India by filling up a digital form that is linked to their social media through an installation called ‘Uniting India Experience’. One can also encounter Patel in a period setting inside an office and take pictures with him. People will be able to relive Partition through a multi-screen audio-visual presentation and also learn of how Sardar’s initiatives,” said Mayank Loonker, Faculty of Communication Design at NID who headed the project.