07 Aug 2023
Freedom from British rule did not come easily. It was a long drawn struggle mostly non-violent which commenced much prior to India attaining independence in August 1947. Indians from all walks of life united in their pursuit to seek freedom, demanding from the British the right to self-governance, oppressive policies, and promote equal rights to the citizens of the country. The constant pressure, maintained by the Indian freedom fighters, ultimately made the British to retract, and allow independent India to be a democratic sovereign country. During the quest to seek Independence, a number of historical sites, associated with the freedom struggle, will take us back in time, and re-live the memories associated with our Independence movement.
The year was 1916. It was during this time the allied forces were busy in World War I. Back home, in India the Lucknow pact was formulated. The pact essentially envisaged an agreement between the Congress and the Indian Muslim league, to bury radical difference and to put pressure on the British Government to force them to take a liberal approach to self-governance. This pact paved the way for the khilafat movement, and the non –co-operation movement in 1920. The historical significance of Lucknow can be associated with Moti Nagar, Kakori, and Musa Bagh, for the 1857 uprising. The evening sound and light show at the “Residency”, (built in 1800 A.D.) is a must watch, whereas the freedom struggle unfolds to a captivating audience with sound and light effects.
If there is one iconic structure associated with the freedom struggle it is the Sabarmati Ashram. Gandhian principles were promulgated here attracting worldwide attention, focussing on the plight of Indians during the pre-independence era. In short, it serves as a launch pad, for various non-violent civil disobedience movements. This ashram now houses a museum. This ashram has some rare artefacts used by Mahatma Gandhi, and various phases of the Mahatma’s life depicting in pictures, and letters. A visitor can spend time usefully in participating in walking tours and learning about Gandhian philosophy. A charka used by Gandhiji, is also a rare exhibit, to weave cotton fabric, during his stay in the ashram.
A 1909 structure associated with Netaji Subash Chandra Bose. This building is managed by the Netaji Research Bureau and has a museum, archive and library. Though Mohan Singh, a British Indian Army Officer, was the founder of the Indian National Army (INA), it was Netaji who revived it in 1943, during the World War II era, and the objective of the revamped INA was to liberate India from colonial rule. Netaji’s famous slogan was “you give me your blood, and I will promise you your freedom”.
The13th day of April 1919, was like any other day in the Indian calendar, except that it had a festive mood being “Baisakhi”, an Indian festival to commemorate the harvest festival and New Year. A large gathering of innocent people assembled at Jallianwala, basically to peacefully protest, when pro India activist like Satyapal and Saifuddin Kitchlu were arrested by the British India administration. The layout of Jallianwala was such that it was walled on three sides, with only one exit gate. Gen Dyer, a British officer, posted there, ordered firing on the innocent civilians. With no escape route, around 379 people lost their lives and over 1200 wounded. Gen Dyer, has been named the butcher of Amritsar of his rash act. The fall out of this incident, propelled nationalistic zeal among Indians, paving the way for the non-cooperation movement.
The Grand Trunk road from Kolkatta to Rawalpindi and crosses into Pakistan at a village called Attari-Wagah, the Indo-Pak crossing point. Though this landmark had no historical significance, yet it holds patriotic fervour amongst both Indians and Pakistanis. Chants of patriotism reverberate, the air on both sides of the border. It is truly a patriotic stirring ceremony. Thus, the parade by the Indian BSF and Pakistan rangers is a must see. It swells our heart with pride and everybody goes back witnessing the parade, amongst chants of “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and “Vande Mataram”.
This was a prison established by the pre Independent British era, far from civilisation in these remote islands with a deliberate purpose. It is believed to be constructed between 1896 -1906 periods. The location of the prison is such that, firstly, it made escape of prisoners impossible as the place was surrounded on all sides by water. Secondly, during those days in the absence of media, reporting of torture incidents never made headlines. Thus, the British had a free hand in dealing with both criminals, and political prisoners. Many who participated in the freedom movement had to undergo torture and some of them were even executed. Thus, it gained prominence as a place associated with the Indian freedom movement. The evening sound and light show, brings back the events of the British colonial era almost live and is a must watch and a certain must in the travel itinerary.
Skyway has been organising Independence related tour circuits in the past. All that a traveller needs to do is to spell out his/her travel needs and places that must be covered. Experts in Skyway tours would curate a travel itinerary that exactly matches your needs. Do connect with Manju on Mobile No.9845199077 Or Shylaja on Mobile No.9845188115 who will only be too happy to help you out.