Wednesday, 9 March 2011

32 feet High Huge Raja Bhoj statue Unveiled in Bhopal; Enthronement Millennium Year Celebrations Begin


Opposition parties critical of Madhya Pradesh Govt. for wasting crores of rupees

Bhopal, March 01 (Pervez Bari): Associated with much hype and hoopla the completion of 1000 years of coronation of Raja Bhoj, a king of the Parmar dynasty, was marked by the unveiling of 32 feet high gigantic statue of the ruler along the embankment of the Upper Lake, the lifeline of Bhopal, in the morning here. Later, a high voltage cultural programme was held at the Lal Parade police ground in the evening on Monday to mark the occasion.
Former Union Minister and Member of Rajya Sabha Mr. Venkaiah Naidu, who is a veteran Bharatiya Janata Party, (BJP), leader and being past president of the party, was the chief guest at the unveiling function. The BJP ruled Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mr. Shivraj Singh Chouhan presided over the function. While in the evening BJP national president Mr. Nitin Gadkari was the chief guest and Mr. Chouhan presided over the cultural function.
Mr. Naidu pressed the button to unveil the statue of Raja Bhoj. After unveiling the statue, Jawans of the Madhya Pradesh Police accorded 21-gun royal salute to Raja Bhoj. Colorful balloons were set off with the tune of police band to mark the occasion. On this occasion, 21 Pandits recited 'Swasti-Vachan' with Madhya Pradesh song. Thus, Raja Bhoj Enthronement Millennium Year celebrations got underway here with a bang with whole of Bhopal dressed like a bride. The illumination of rotaries and some government buildings gave a festive look to the city. There was half day holiday announced in the government offices for the employees to join the celebrations in the evening. The Madhya Pradesh Government had got printed two lakh invitation cards and distributed to every Tom, Dick and Harry for the cultural evening to be a grand success with overflowing spectators.
Meanwhile, a few words about the statue. The sculptor of the statue is Mr. Prabhat Rai of Gwalior. The 32-feet high statue which weighs seven tonnes is made up of gunmetal and bell metal and has incurred a cost of Rs. 27 lakhs. It took two months time to manufacture the statue. Its base is 12 feet and was installed on 10 feet high “Burj” (bastion) in the Upper Lake. While it was officially stated that the expenditure on the celebrations was Rs. four crore whereas sources claim that it is much more running into several crores. The Opposition parties on the other hand were critical of the Madhya Pradesh Government for spending crores of rupees at a time when farmers were committing suicide over damage to crops due to frost. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Chouhan speaking at the unveiling ceremony described the unveiling of statue of Raja Bhoj as fulfillment of a resolution. He said that Raja Bhoj is an ideal and inspiring figure for him.
Mr. Chouhan said that Raja Bhoj was an intellectual, believer of justice, art lover, musician and good administrator. He said that Raja Bhoj was not only a good administrator but also an upholder of communal and religious harmony. He said that Raja Bhoj was the first who initiated for water conservation and urban development in India and perhaps in the world. Raja Bhoj had developed the nation as a country of culture. The Chief Minister announced to rename the V.I.P. Road as Raja Bhoj Road.
He said he was pained to see Vagdevi idol in British museum. Efforts will be made to bring back the statue of 'Vagdevi'--a goddess of Raja Bhoj--from London, he asserted.
Similarly, he said:”When I see Kohinoor diamond in London museum I want to bring it back to India like Hanumanji. But in a democracy this cannot be done. Hence, it would be considered as how to get back the diamond”.
The Chief Minister said that action plan for the development and conservation of Raja Bhoj lake would be given final touch in this week. The Upper Lake will be developed into an attractive destination not only for the people of country but also abroad. Galleries will be developed along the embankment of Upper Lake depicting history and culture.
The Chief Minister said that the State Government is celebrating Raja Bhoj Enthronement Millennium year to recollect the history of Raja Bhoj. He hoped that Madhya Pradesh would become a developed state, drawing inspirations from the ideals of Raja Bhoj.
Speaking on the occasion Mr. Venkaiah Naidu said that no country could develop by overlooking its history. He underlined the need for mandatory inclusion of history in syllabi of academic institutions. He said that Raja Bhoj is an asset of not only state but also of entire nation.
Describing Raja Bhoj as synonym of good governance, Mr. Naidu said that it should be an agenda of democratic states and the nation as well. To ensure a good governance and education to each and every person will be a befitting tribute to Raja Bhoj, he said. He concurred with the Chief Minister to bring back the Vagdevi idol from Britain. If Madhya Pradesh Government forwarded any proposal he would try to get it ratified by the Parliament. He appreciated the State Government for installing statue of Raja Bhoj and observing Enthronement Millennium Year.
Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha Deputy Speaker Harvansh Singh said that Raja Bhoj was an upholder of culture, arts, science and religion. Installation of statue will be an inspiring figure for the people, he said. Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation, (MPTDC), chairman Dhruvnarayan Singh, who is also MLA from Bhopal Central, said that the installation of statue would uphold the traditional values and promote knowledge. He wished Madhya Pradesh for a developed state and prosperity among its citizens. He also demanded rechristening of Bhopal as Bhojpal.
Chief Minister Chouhan felicitated statue carving artist Prabhat Rai with shawl and coconut. A folder of Tourism Development Corporation 'Bhojdharshan-Janiye Raja Bhoj Ko' on the life of Raja Bhoj was released on the occasion.
At the outset, MPTDC chairman Dhruvnarayan Singh and Managing Director Hariranjan Rao welcomed the guests and sport them traditional colourful headgears. On the eve of the statue unveiling ceremony Madhya Pradesh Urban development Minister Mr. Babula Gaur expressed his views while releasing a souvenir “Swabhiman” published by Raja Bhoj Panwar-Parmar Samaj at his residence on Sunday. The minister said that as per evidences, Raja Bhoj had constructed a Shiv temple on the bank of old pond at Bhojpur one thousand years ago. He had taken a cue from Somnath temple to build it at Bhojpur. The pond was known as Bhojpal pond in the history. It was also Raja Bhoj who founded Bhopal. Later, it was called Bhu-Pal and lastly it is known as Bhopal.
Gaur said that after Raja Bhoj, Bhopal was developed by Gond king Nizam Shah, Rani Kamalapati, Sardar Dost Mohemmad Khan and Begums and Nawabs of Khan's generation.
It may be mentioned here that the Madhya Pradesh State Government has dedicated 2011 to Raja Bhoj millennium year. The State Government calendar this year is also dedicated to Raja Bhoj which contains photographs of inscriptions and temples erected by Raja Bhoj in various parts of the State. The victories of Raja Bhoj in wars and his cultural activities have been illustrated through photographs. The photographs of rising sun at the Upper Lake in Bhopal, 'Shivlinga' of Bhojpur, Bhojshala at Dhar, Vagdevi statue (presently in British museum of London), Saraswati temple at Dhar (Bhojshala), Nadi Devi and Shivgan carved in Shiva temple at Bhojpur, dam at the Betwa river near Bhojpur, Shiva temple at Bhojpur, Raja Bhoj coiled snake symbols, 'Jain Tirthkar' statue at Bhojpur, iron-pillar at Dhar and Tamra-patra photographs from Betma are other attractions of the calendar. (pervezbari@eth.net)

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