A government-appointed committee has asked the family to select a few quotations by the late Mrs Gandhi, which will be put up on the mural wall behind her samadhi. For the first time a photograph of the former prime minister will also be engraved in the wall encircling the big-rock like pillar, signifying strength and power, at the samadhi.
The Rajghat Samadhi Committee, which works under the Ministry of Urban Development, is planning to bring Kanakapura granite stone from Karnataka to modify the pillar — the same stone as used in Rajiv Gandhi’s memorial.
Officials admitted a conscious bid to have a common identity and link between the two memorials. While the plan to revamp Shakti Sthal was mooted two years ago, it is only now that things have started moving. The project is expected to be completed within four months and the government is likely to spend around Rs 77 lakh on it.
Currently, there is a brick wall behind the rock pillar, which will now have mural art. “On the redesigned mural wall, there will be a photograph of Indira Gandhi. This photograph will be engraved on the wall with the granite stones as its frame,” a senior official of the Urban Development Ministry said. “After a discussion with family members and close friends, it was decided that the samadhi will be given a complete makeover. The photograph and quotations will be chosen by the Gandhi family and a formal request went to them a month back.”
The move comes at a time when the government is planning a common samadhi complex for leaders, citing paucity of space at Rajghat in Delhi where several top leaders have their memorials. While four large samadhis are dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Pandit Nehru and Indira Gandhi, there is a common memorial for K R Narayanan, Shankar Dayal Sharma, Zail Singh and Chandrashekhar at Ekta Sthal, carved out of Shakti Sthal.
“There were a lot of meetings with conservationists and heritage experts to decide the changes that will ultimately be brought to Indira Gandhi’s samadhi. There were normal repair works in the past, but this is for the first time that such visible changes would be made,” the official said.