City Monument – Three Unbreathing Soldiers, Teen Murti Traffic Circle
Souvenirs of a war.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Almost everybody knows that Teen Murti Memorial derives its name from those three statues plonked in the centre of the landscaped garden… right?
But many of us probably haven’t been able to carefully inspect these bronze statues of soldiers, because the garden itself isn’t easily accessible–what with teeming traffic and other inconveniences.
Those who might turn up this late afternoon, here in Luytens’ Delhi, would spot a rose lying at the base of this memorial to Indian soldiers who died fighting in West Asia during World War I. The plinth is inscribed with some details about this brigade, both in Urdu and English; while the tablet soaring upwards lists the names of those killed or missing.
No one has any idea where English sculptor Leonard Jennings OBE got his particular inspiration back in 1922. One does immediately notice is that all three have moustaches and are wearing pagdis or turbans, with long tunics falling down to their knees.
They’re standing erect, as you’d expect, and each holding a lance: as though the regiment is being inspected by a general or perhaps even the King-Emperor himself.
The sculptor himself rendered most of his commissions in India. Jennings’ work included a 10-foot statue of King George V unveiled in Patna only a few years before Independence.
With the sun now setting, a Border Security Force soldier in this high security area of the capital now enters the garden and walks right up to the statues. Armed with an assault rifle, he gazes at a plaque inscribed with this thought: Their name liveth for evermore.
Lest we forget