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Delhi: Meenakshi Lekhi assures all help for Mehrauli structure’s national monument tag

On Saturday, the National Monuments Authority, which operates under the Ministry of Culture, observed the martyrdom day of Banda Bahadur at Red Fort lawns at a function organised in collaboration with the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee.

Written by Divya A | New Delhi |
Updated: June 26, 2022 6:54:04 am
Meenakshi Lekhi said Banda Bahadur defended the honour of his religion by sacrificing his life and his courage should not be forgotten.

Nearly two months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation from the Red Fort to mark the 400th Parkash Purab of Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur, the 17th century monument witnessed another government function to celebrate Sikh warrior Banda Singh Bahadur.

On Saturday, the National Monuments Authority (NMA), which operates under the Ministry of Culture, observed the martyrdom day of Banda Bahadur at Red Fort lawns at a function organised in collaboration with the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC).

The event was attended by Minister of State for Culture and External Affairs Meenakshi Lekhi, along with NMA Chairman Tarun Vijay and Baba Jatinder Pal Singh Sodhi, 10th generation descendant of Banda Bahadur.

Lekhi said Banda Bahadur defended the honour of his religion by sacrificing his life and his courage should not be forgotten. She assured all support for declaring Banda Bahadur martyrdom place in south Delhi’s Mehrauli as a national monument by the Archaeological Survey of India.

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“Banda Bahadur was a great Sikh warrior and a commander of the Khalsa army who defeated the Mughals and liberated a large part of north India from the Mughal rule and established the Khalsa rule in Punjab,” said a statement by the Ministry of Culture.

“He abolished the zamindari system and granted property rights to the tillers of the land… He was captured by Mughal ruler Farrukhsiyar and his martyrdom took place in Mehrauli where a monument stands in his memory,” it added.

“Though Independence came to India much later, it was Banda Bahadur who first taught Indians to fight, conquer and establish their independent rule,” said Vijay, adding that Banda Bahadur and his son Ajai Singh were martyred on June 9, 1716, along with their 18 companions near a gate en route to the tomb of Sufi saint Qutub-ud-din Bakhtiar kaki at Mehrauli.

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The martyrdom place of Banda Bahadur in Mehrauli was identified and located in 1970 with the efforts of Jathedar Santokh Singh, the then secretary of DSGMC. “We call the memorial ‘Deuri’. There is a gurdwara adjacent to it. We keep the memorial clean and try to look after its maintenance,” BJP leader and former DSGMC chief Manjinder Singh Sirsa had said recently. “We want the ASI to declare the structure a national monument and take care of its preservation.”

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First published on: 26-06-2022 at 03:07:10 am

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