La Martiniere School, where Akhilesh Yadav will be sworn in to become CM of UP was the scene of a ferocious battle between Indian soldiers fighting to throw out the British.
Image by Felice Beato in 1858 of La Martiniere Lucknow | Street by Street, building by building, Indian soldiers fought for Lucknow. | Click for image.
May 3, 2002: Mayawati’s swearing-in ceremony held at La Martiniere ground.
In 1980s and early 1990s, not more than 1,200 persons were invited. Senior government officials, political party functionaries and a few guests were invited for the function. But now, leaders want at least their MLAs and party workers to attend the event.” Another official from the secretariat administration department (SAD) that plays a key role in organising the event and bears the entire cost agreed. “It’s a grand affair,” he stated.
As per the estimates gathered from the sachivalay department, around Rs 60 lakh is being spent in readying the venue. “A normal shamiyana for 400 guests in a wedding ceremony costs at least Rs 1 lakh. The ‘tentage’, lights, sound, fans could cost about Rs 1 crore for 10,000 guests,” admitted an engineer at LDA. Not only this, around Rs 1 crore would go in paying rent for holding the event on La Martiniere ground. Actually, the use of the ground is managed by La Martiniere College board whose ex-officio chairman is a Justice of the Allahabad High Court.
At present, Justice Umakant Singh holds the position. When Lucknow administration approached the college management for using the place, the board convened its meeting. Considering that the preparations for the event had begun, the board said that the occasion should be treated as a one-time exception. It gave the permission but asked the organisers to pay Rs 1 crore as compensation for using the place to which the administration agreed. “The cost will be borne by the state government,” said Anil Sagar, DM, Lucknow. (via Swearing-in assumes ‘grand’ proportions – The Times of India).
150 years ago
More than 150 years ago, Indian soldiers paid with their lives, attempting to rid India of the young British Raj. After spending crores on this event, at this venue, for the swearing in ceremony of Akhilesh Yadav, it may be worthwhile to remind ourselves that some very valuable blood was shed for this to happen now.
Those who died, battled for a future. A better future, they could not live to see.