Its 15th August the time to celebrate liberation from British. India will complete 66 years of Independence this August, but the joy of being independent has the grief of sufferings hidden behind it.
The British ruled over us and treated us like slaves, they developed superiority over us in the premises of our homeland. There are innumerable experiences of how the British ill-treated the Indians, one of the most ruthless being the practices of Cellular Jail in Port Blair. Visiting this place can arouse the feeling of patriotism in no time, it gives the sense of being the sufferers and the sense of being the fighters.
The Cellular Jail is situated in Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, It was built from 1896 to 1906. It is also called “KAALA PAANI” as it symbolizes darkness and suffering. It serves as a perfect epitome of the torturous practices of the British rulers over the innocent Indians. The Cellular Jail building had seven wings and at the center a tower was situated to act as the intersection, its purpose was to keep watch by the guards, each wing had three stories. There were no dormitories and a total of 693 cells. Each cell was 4.5 metres x 2.7 metres or 13.5×7.5 feet in size with a ventilator located at a height of three metre. No prisoner could see each other or converse with each other, they could only see black walls.
The prisoners included revolutionaries and activists, the British locked all those who tried to hamper their way in the quest of conquering India. Some popular names in the list are: Babarao Savarkar, Barindra Kumar Ghosh, Vaman Rao Joshi etc. The prisoner were treated inhumanly and were made to work as labourers during the course, many prisoners died while their stay at the prison. The cells were designed in a way that no one could interact or look towards each other, it served as solitary confinement without proper light and food, it was impossible to be out of the prison once sent it. Andaman and Nicobar itself was a place without much population and the prison by the British, made it an avertible place.
Two out of seven wings were destroyed by earthquake and other two during the World War 2 by Japanese and it is left with 3 wings. Now the Cellular Jail is open for the visitors, it has a museum which shows the rooms, instruments used by torturing by British. It also has a gallery to showcase the pictures of the older times depicting the lives of prisoners. The Gobind Ballav Pant Hospital is now located in the premises of the Jail. The Cellular Jail National Memorial shows the importance of Andaman and Nicobar in the history of Independence. Andaman was named was named as “Swaraj” and “Shaheed” by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, he hoisted the Indian Flag to proclaim independence on 30th December 1943 at near the jail.
The Cellular Jail completed its 100 years in 2006, and various Indians who suffered in the jail premises during the British Regime where invited for the celebrations. The celebrations were in tribute to the Indians who served the nation in its dark age under the rule of British. The Cellular Jail is now one of the National Monument glorifying the deeds of rebellious freedom fighters. It speaks for the sacrifices by the Indians and celebrates the spirit of bravery. Now the place is recognized as pilgrim destination from being a torturous cell.
The Memorial attracts many visitors, they want to be acquainted with the tragedies of the nation. There is a Light and Sound show every evening to remind the people of the sufferings and heroic attempts of the freedom fighters, it also gives a glimpse of the time spent by the prisoners with atrocities. There is a well maintained art gallery, garden for the visitors. Every corner of the place is worth exploring it stirs the sense of rising like a phoenix after the hard times.
On this occasion of India’s 66TH Independence Day we salute the freedom fighters who preferred the nation over their domestic lives. We have number of incidents that recall the brutality of the British like; ill-treatment of peasants, Jallianwala Bagh massacre etc. Here we have reviews from some visitors of the Cellular Jail that helps us to know how the place invokes within us the pride of being an INDIAN;
My trip to Andaman and Nicobar reminds me of cellular jail that is popularly known as “Kaale Paani ki Saja”. The moment you enter you are just reminded of great patriots Veer Sarvakar and Bahukeshwar Dutt who along with other Indians struggled for our Independence. Today we are moving freely in this independent India because of those patriots who lost their lives because of inhuman tortures some examples being; they were forced to drink urine, treated like animals, made to grind oil for continuous hours at a stretch, forced to sleep in 4-1 room less than the size of an adult human body, no water supply for drinking, no light, no food, and only work and work, these all practices are highlighted in the light and sound show. But still they had a sole aim and motto “ sar katega par jhukega nai”, it’s the freedom fighters who made are life worth living in a free, independent nation. We bow our heads with great reverence.
Chief medical officer (N.F.M.C)
Feeling after visiting the jail.
Thousands laid down their lives to let our country breathe this day, never forget their sacrifices.
“Azadi ki kabhi sham nai hone denge, shaheedo ki kurbanio ko badnaam na hone denge
Bachi hai jo ek bund garam lahu ki, desh ka anchal nilaam na hone denge”- Mr.Tilak Raj Kataria, New Delhi