In news– A statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was recently placed under the Grand Canopy to the east of India gate, halfway on the east-west axis to the National War Memorial.
History of the India Gate Canopy-
- About 150 m to the east of India Gate, at a centre of the C-hexagon, stands the 73-foot canopy, inspired by a sixth-century pavilion from Mahabalipuram.
- The canopy, designed by Edwin Lutyens, was added to the India Gate complex in 1936 as a tribute to the then recently deceased Emperor of India, King George V, and housed his 50-foot marble statue.
- The statue, showing George V in his coronation robes and the Imperial State Crown, was commissioned to Charles Sargeant Jagger, a well known sculptor of war memorials.
- After Independence, there was widespread opposition to the statue, and especially the fact that it occupied such a central location in the nation’s capital.
- Still, it stood at the site for another two decades, until it was moved to Coronation Park near the Inter-State Bus Terminus by the Yamuna in North Delhi in 1968.
- Coronation Park was the venue of the Delhi Durbar of 1877 at which Queen Victoria was proclaimed as the Empress of India in addition to her existing title of Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, as also of the two subsequent Delhi Durbars of 1903 to mark the accession of King Edward VII, the father and predecessor of George V and 1911, when George V was proclaimed Emperor of India.
- The 1911 Durbar was the only one that was attended by the Emperor himself.
- Successive governments of independent India deliberated on whose statue should replace that of George V under the Grand Canopy.
- It was argued that Mahatma Gandhi’s statue would be ideal, or perhaps one of Jawaharlal Nehru.
- Following the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984, it was suggested that her statue should be placed under the canopy.
- For more than five decades, the canopy remained empty, and earned the name of ‘Empty Canopy’.