[What is the 'Dalit Prerna Sthal'? What is its purpose? Why was it built? The inscription shown in the picture above, displayed prominently in the 'Rashtriya Dalit Smarak' (picture below), provides many of the answers. We are publishing here the full text of the inscription for our readers. It was copied by hand, so some inaccuracies might have inadvertently crept in. We shall correct the errors, if any, as and when we get access to an official copy of the text. We thank Bhanu Pratap Singh for both the text and the pictures- Round Table India.]
For over a millennium, a substantial mass of this nation's populace, belonging to the Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) have been the victim of an iniquitous social order based on Varna and caste that has held them in its thrall and blighted every aspect of their existence over the ages. A number of sants, gurus & mahapurush (great men) born in this society have dedicated their whole lives and made great sacrifices in course of the righteous struggle for the transformation of this unjust and inhumane social order to a humanistic equalitarian social order.
In recognition of and to honour the historic devotion and unparalleled contribution of these stalwarts towards the struggle for social transformation and empowerment of the neglected, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government of Uttar Pradesh, under the leadership of hon'ble chief minister Ms Mayawati ji has for the first time in this country's history, taken the unprecedented and momentous decision to commemorate their struggle and honour these great souls in a manner befitting thier true stature. A decision that is certain to be hailed for posterity and recorded in golden letters in the pages of history.
As you are aware, every action, decision and policy framed by the Uttar Pradesh govt of Bahujan Samaj Party led by hon'ble chief minister Ms Mayawati ji has been based on the principal of 'Sarvjan Hitay & Sarvjan Sukhaye', progress and prosperity to all. In this context, it has been an enduring theme of this government policy to acknowledge and honour, in every possible manner, the sants, gurus and great souls whose contributions to the cause of social transformation had for long been ignored, due to the prevailing casteist mindset in the country.
The Uttar Pradesh govt of Bahujan Samaj Party led by hon'ble chief minister Ms Mayawati ji has constructed a number of 'Sthals' (Grand Memorials) to commemorate the struggle of these inspired souls in Uttar Pradesh, particularly in the state capital Lucknow and near the national capital Delhi. Of these, one of the most prominent, grand and expansive is 'Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal', Noida, district Gautam Buddha Nagar, Uttar Pradesh, a detailed outline of which follows:
'RASHTRIYA DALIT PRERNA STHAL'
(Noida, District Gautam Buddha Nagar, Uttar Pradesh)
The Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal, an urban landmark is planned as a gateway to Noida (a booming industrial and institutional area in disrict Gautam Buddha Nagar) and to the state of Uttar Pradesh at large, located on the eastern bank of the river Yamuna. It addresses both Noida and national capital of Delhi. While the west bank of the river is dominated by national memorials and pre-eminent monuments of many eras, the 'Prerna Sthal', visualised as a symbolic representation of the ideals and ideas, underlying the humanistic movement for 'Social Transformation', has been envisaged as an urban landmark on the eastern bank of the Yamuna river.The Dalit Prerna Sthal built over an area of 82.5 acres (334,334 sq. meters) is broadly categorised into three zones.
Proceeding from north to south, vistors approach in the area of 'first zone' (measuring 36.25 acres/146734 sq. meters) which houses the 'Rashtriya Dalit Smarak', comprising an area of 0.5 acre (2643 sq. meters) designed using an architectural vocabulary drawn from the traditional architecture of the Buddhist era.The memorial capped by a central cupola and four flanking domes, fluidly combines traditional form with modern construction technique.
While entering this Smarak the visitors ascend the high twin plinth of the structure and through the entrance pavillion, proceed into the memorial. Installed within are grand statues, murals and memorial inscriptions, representing the continuous and ongoing struggle for 'Social transformation'.
Three eye catching bronze statues of parampujya Bharat Ratna Baba Saheb Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, Bahujan Nayak Manyawar Sri Kanshi Ram ji (and in accordance with his will) the statue of his sole political successor Ms Mayawati Ji, hon'ble chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, adorn the marble clad central chamber, while the three side chambers house bronze murals highlighting their individual achievements with regard to movement for social transformation. Externally, the central dome of the this memorial rises to a height of 40 meters and is clad in pink sand stone, within is a magnificent bronze inner dome. The memorial is flanked by two 52 feet high bronze fountains on either side, to provide comfort to the visitors.
Scupltures of 20 (Twenty) grand elephants, 10 (Ten) each on either side of the monument,with their trunks raised-up in a traditional gesture of welcome, flank the main building. Historically elephant statues in various forms have been in use in public buildings, monuments, temples, palaces in ancient India and other south east asian countries. As the 'Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal' has also been planned to represent the historical continuum of 'Social Transformation' in the country, the elephant was considered appropriate symbol and mascot in this context.
Extensive formal green areas form the foreground and backdrop of the 'Prerna Sthal'. The central focus of the large green spaces are the two 52 feet high bronze fountains on the either side of the memorial structure. Various public conveniences and facilities for the visitors complete the overall composition.
The second zone, measuring 13.25 acres (53,776 sq. meters), is a circular space encompassed within the loop of the Gautam Buddha flyover (leading to sector 18 of Noida) developed as commemorative plaza with an attractive 18 feet high bronze statue of Bharat Ratna Baba Saheb Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar at the center, while the area encompassing the outer perimeter of the flyover, is an extensive plantation and service area for the larger benefit of the visitors. Additionally this space provides a beautiful pedestrian pathway linking the adjacent zones of the 'Prerna Sthal'.
The "third zone", covering an area of 33.1 acres (1,33,823 sq. meters) is accessed through two monumental gateways. Within, the landscape theme revolves around a central focal feature, the 100 feet high 'Samta Mulak Prateek Stambh', a granite clad column surmounted by the 'Ashok Chakra' representing truth, harmony and righteousness. 18 feet high bronze statues of the pioneers of the social transformation movement have been erected around the 'Samta Mulak Prateek Stambh' as a mark of respect and honour to them. 20 Granite columns with bronze elephant capitals,10 (ten) on either side of the 'Prateek Stambh' lead into the landscape. Rolling greens and formal plantation beds with extensive plantation of shady trees, various shrubs and ground cover enhance the beauty of the 'Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal'.
The main objective of the development of this grand 'Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal' is to represent the process of 'Social transformation' in a concrete shape and to convey the message for generations to come. In keeping with this concept, the 'Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal' has been designed and developed using natural stone that has metamorphosed over many millennia and has attained an immutable form.