City Landmark – Lenin’s Tomb, Nehru Park
A forgotten statue.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The sprawling Nehru Park is a perfect escape with its abundance of trees and rocks. You would think our first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s statue must be tucked away in some corner. But no, there’s no Nehru in Nehru Park. Instead, we have Vladimir Lenin here.
While a great many statues of Lenin were felled under new revolutions in Europe following the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, Delhi’s Lenin has survived. Here he stands in a three-piece suit with his face turned upwards, as if he is looking ahead into the distant future when socialism would rule the world.
The bronze statue was unveiled by USSR leader Mikhail Gorbachev and then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1987. According to a news report from then, hundreds of Delhi school kids stood facing the statue waving the Indian and Soviet flags.
This afternoon, however, The Delhi Walla is the only one in the park focusing on Lenin. Two lovers on the nearby bench are busy with each other, while another guy appears to be sleeping. A rotting marigold garland is strung around Lenin’s neck — the revolution’s 100th Anniversary was observed just last month.
Soon another love-lorn couple enter the scene. They sit down on the grass, with their backs turned towards the 20th century history-maker — the scene isn’t disconcerting at all. In a city teeming with numerous memorials to rulers who were believed to be invincible, the Russian leader’s barely acknowledged presence somehow fits.