UP is the only state in India to house a jail museum in India
The Uttar Pradesh Prison Department has set up a first-of-its-kind 'jail museum' in Lucknow that displays the state's legacy dated as old as the 18th Century. Seated at the Jail Road in the state capital, this museum attempts to unveil the story of India's freedom struggle and portray a picture of its obscure past and the evolving present. With an expansive range of antiques including prison artefacts used since the 1700s, it is a must-visit place for those who have an appetite for history.
Fostering a connect between the freedom fighters & the citizens
As per the prison museum, the rationale behind developing this museum is to rekindle people's respect for all the brave hearts who laid their lives to win India's freedom from the British clutches. "From manuscripts, letters of freedom fighters, handcuffs to prisoners' utensils, and a lot more is on display here", informed Anand Kumar, Director General, UP Prisons Headquarters.
"The jails are here in the state from the 18th century and UP is the only state where a jail museum has been set up. We have tried to maintain the history of our heritage from the 18th century to date. It takes visitors back in time and acquaints them with history", the DG added. Relaying the ordeals and horrors of the independence struggle, the museum concocts a striking view of days from the past.
Inking the freedom fighters' vision of a free India
Narrating the tales of the brave revolutionaries of the Indian Freedom Movement, an entire wall of this museum has been dedicated to the martyrs of the Kakori Incident. Cataloguing the details of their lives, the letters and other things, this particular section of the museum throws light upon the lesser-known incidents of the robbery rebellion, led by Ram Prasad Bismil and Ashfaqullah Khan.
The letter before their execution and the ropes used for the same have also been put up as exhibits here, which resonate with the Indian freedom fighters' vision of a free nation. Another letter, dated July 17, 1938 also forms a star attraction here. This letter was written by Ras Bihari from the Bareilly Central Jail in UP to Sachindranath Sanyal, who was then in Japan. Testifying the roots and reach of the freedom struggle, it transports the visitors back in time.
The attractions at the Jail Museum of Lucknow
Visitors can also catch a glimpse of the iron shackles and fetters that caged the prisoners here, during the British administration. Besides, stone-chakkis form interesting tokens of the historic heritage displayed here. As the legend goes, British jailers used to force the prisoners to grind the hand-operated mill, to punish them.
Other items such as charkas, books and magazines written by prisoners as well as old clocks, bedsheets, balance scale, mud bricks, tikki board and other items made by the inmates are a part of the jail exhibition.
The museum display extends to another wall that is adorned with photographs of iconic and popular politicians, freedom fighters and material related to their lives. Additionally, an exhibit of the currency designed by the Lucknow Model Jail has also been put up here for the lovers of numismatics. Open on all days a week, the museum offers free entry to all visitors.
Reviving the glory of India's struggle for independence, this centre offers an experience that will fill you with pride for the nation and its first torchbearers. So if you feel goosebumps every time you think about our freedom movement, you cannot afford to miss out on trudging through the halls of this museum!
- Pictures shared by Usman Kidwai