The hologram of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose has been removed from the Grand Canopy at India Gate, while the fittings for the actual stone statue have started.
Sources toldthat the hologram was switched off late last week, and for the next month and a half, fittings for the actual statue will be carried out, which is scheduled to be unveiled on August 15 this year.
Arun Yogiraj — who had created the 12-feet statue of Adi Shankaracharya at Kedarnath — was roped in for the 30-feet statue of Bose to be installed at the India Gate. A huge block of black granite stone was selected for the statue, which has been transported to Delhi, where the carving is underway presently. Work on the Bose statue is slated to be completed before the August 15 deadline, sources say, adding that the statue will weigh around 90 tonnes.
It was in January when the Prime Minister had announced that a “grand statue” of Netaji will be installed beneath the canopy at India Gate.
Officials in the Ministry of Culture had said that Netaji’s hologram will be in place at the spot, powered by a 30,000 lumens 4K projector, until the granite statue is completed. The dimensions of the hologram statue — which was unveiled by the PM on January 23 to mark Bose’s 125th birth anniversary celebrations — were the same as the actual one being sculpted.
The sandstone canopy where Netaji’s statue will be installed was built in 1936, and housed the statue of King George V. After the Independence, there was opposition to the statue’s central location, but it stood at the sitefor another two decades, until it was moved to Coronation Park in 1968.
There have been deliberations during successive governments of installing a Mahatma Gandhi statue where King George V’s statue stood, or that of the first PM Jawaharlal Nehru. Several historians were of the view that the canopy should remain empty as a reminder of the country’s past. So, for more than five decades, the canopy remained empty, earning the name ‘Empty Canopy’.
Located at a junction of six roads, the 73-foot canopy is inspired by a sixth-century pavilion from Mahabalipuram.