AUTHOR: Farid Singh Shergill
(Student, Vivek High School, Chandigarh)
The Land of Five Rivers- Punjab has a rich history and over the centuries many kingdoms have ruled over this land. From the invasion of Alexander the Great to the invasions of Mohammed Ghori, Mahmud of Ghazni , The Mughals, Invasion of tyrants like Ahmed Shah Abdali. The Land of Punjab has been the center of battle and conflict throughout its history.
One would think that a land with such rich history would have countless relics and forts reminding people of the era gone by, but Alas it is saddening to see that Punjab’s archaeological sites are in a dire state.
In this article I will be highlighting the state of Punjab’s archaeology by examining the town of Sangrur which served as the worthwhile capital of the Jind State .
The city of Sangrur was the erstwhile capital of the Jind State. The city’s buildings were colonial buildings of the Indo-Gothic fashion, a style of architecture evolved by British architects using elements of Mughal, Hindu and Gothic cusped arches, spires, tracery and minarets. The King’s of Jind made many landmark developments in the field of education, architecture. The city had educational institutions such as Raj High School, Lady Minto-Ranbir Girls School and a college. It also had many gardens, markets and palaces.
The Lady-Minto-Ranbir Girls’ School was established in the first decade of the 20th century under the rule of Maharaja Ranbir Singh of Jind, it was one of the premier schools of Punjab at the time and one of the only institutions which provided quality education to girls. Sadly today this school no longer exists, it was demolished and in place a shopping complex was erected.
Here are the ruins of the Sangrur Fort which was built during the reign of Raja Gajpat Singh between 1775–1786. Raja Gajpat Singh was the maternal grandfather of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Due to the sheer neglect this once remarkable fort now stands in ruin.
Built in the 1920s this Palace was one of the residences of the Maharaja of Jind. The Palace was gifted to the Punjab Health Department by the Maharaja in 1957, since that time this palace has been neglected as you can see its roof is crumbling, its walls are broken and there has been zero maintenance. This Palace is now being demolished and has been allocated to the Post-Graduate Institute for Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) for setting up a satellite centre.
This Grand Clock Tower is one of the only reminders of the city’s rich History which stands to this day, commissioned in 1885 by Maharaja Raghubir Singh of Jind from the Canal Foundry Roorkee. Though still standing the Clock Tower is not in great condition as can be seen in this photograph and it needs maintenance.
The Shahi Samadhan contains 16 Samadhs, these are of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s maternal grandfather Raja Gajpat Singh and his descendants the Rulers of Jind . All these samadhis are situated in a complex near the Nabha Gate . The samadh is a place of remembrance and it ought to be restored and maintained, the sheer neglect faced by such sites is flat out disrespectful. This site was to be ‘restored’ 7 years ago but it is clear that never happened.
Many other sites of Historical significance such as the Baradari, Diwan Khanna and the veterinary hospital are in need of care.
This problem is not only prevalent in the city of Sangrur but it prevails throughout Punjab countless forts, palaces and sites of historical interest have been left to crumble.
Here are some pictures of Monuments across Punjab which are in a state of despair
The Aam Khas Bagh was built for both the public and exclusive use of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, the royals used to stay here on their way to Lahore. The complex contained the Sadar Khana, Sheesh Mahal and Hamam. Presently instead of using this monument to generate revenue the government has not made significant effort to restore it; a section of the boundary wall has collapsed and locals take the ‘nanakshahi’ bricks and use them to make ‘chulhas’.
Due to corruption and an indifferent attitude towards these sites the government has failed to utilise these resources . The Government could’ve used them to generate revenue for the state but they chose not to, they could’ve made museums but they chose not to. We see states like Rajastan which has maintained its forts and palaces well generating massive amounts of revenue from tourism. International and domestic tourists visit the cities of Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Bikaner. In Rajasthan old and neglected palaces have been converted into Heritage Hotels and the same should be done in Punjab.