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Azadi Express-Train Exhibition

“India fought back, emerged victorious and came firmly back on the road to achieve its past glory. Each of the first eight coaches carries a specific epoch in the freedom movement and displays exhibits under various themes like ''Company Raj''; ''The Lightening'' - incidents and events related to Barrackpore and Meerut when Indian soldiers revolted against the British rule; ''Fire Spreads'' - reflecting the spread of revolt across northern and eastern India; ''British Takeover'' - showing the defeat of the revolutionary forces, revengeful British campaign against the leaders and masses who took part in the uprising.”
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by Zubina Ahmed

(March 19, Kalkata, Sri Lanka Guardian) Painted in the colours of our Tricolour, Azadi Express, a mobile train exhibition on the freedom struggle began its journey to different parts of the country from the capital.The train, which was flagged off by Union HRD Minister Arjun Singh from the Safdarjang Railway station in Delhi, would be stationed at each of the 70 destinations for two to five days. The train exhibits the entire freedom struggle and will tell people across the country how we got our freedom and how to protect it. The train exhibition is part of the celebrations of the 150 years of 1857, 60 years of Independence and the birth centenary of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh.

Photos, books, cards, cutouts, and video clips on the 1857 war of independence, the emergence of Mahatma Gandhi, the Jallianwala Bagh incident, the Bhoodan movement, patriotic literature and many more memorabilia were on display.The special train comprising 11 coaches, decked with material related to all major incidents in the making of India since the first war of independence will journey throughout the country for eight months until May 15, 2008. Azadi Express takes one on a journey through time. It begins from an era when our country was one of the richest nations of the world, to a time when we were reduced to abject poverty.
India fought back, emerged victorious and came firmly back on the road to achieve its past glory. Each of the first eight coaches carries a specific epoch in the freedom movement and displays exhibits under various themes like ''Company Raj''; ''The Lightening'' - incidents and events related to Barrackpore and Meerut when Indian soldiers revolted against the British rule; ''Fire Spreads'' - reflecting the spread of revolt across northern and eastern India; ''British Takeover'' - showing the defeat of the revolutionary forces, revengeful British campaign against the leaders and masses who took part in the uprising. The ''National Awakening'' section depicts the formation of the Indian National Congress, partition of Bengal and opposition to it, Gandhiji''s emergence, the Rowlatt Act, and the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. A section called ''Gandhiji Leads'' showcases the launch of the non-cooperation movement, the civil disobedience movement, and the historic Dandi march.

The ''Quit India'' and ''Azadi'' sections show the climax of India''s freedom struggle and its culmination into free India. Last three coaches focus on the new dawn in our national history and march forward to prosperity and the strengthening of a vibrant democracy. The exhibition also includes various social movements like the indigo farmers issue, the rise of the nationalist press, patriotic literature, Bhoodan movement of Acharya Vinoba Bhave, and participation of women in the freedom struggle. The Azadi Express is a must see for everyone, particularly for children as it provides a concise and interesting overview of how rich India was before the foreigners came, how it lost its freedom, the independence struggles and the development it achieved.

(Zubina Ahmed, art editor of the Sri Lanka Guardian. She also is working as a sub editor for The Statesman, Indian leading newspaper and a student of St. Xavier’s college Kolkata doing her bachelors in English.)
- Sri Lanka Guardian

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