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Hope for decrepit French memorial in Gurugram as official issues directions for restoration

The memorial is dedicated to a French soldier by the name of Jean Etienne. Etienne served Begum Samru for 35 years until his death at the age of 75 in 1821.

gurgaon Updated: Jun 16, 2018 08:58 IST
Sadia Akhtar
Sadia Akhtar
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
French memorial,Gurugram,Gurgaon
A view of the memorial dedicated to Major Jean Etienne, a native of Bordeaux in France, who served Begum Samru who ruled over Jharsa-Badshahpur pargana till her death in 1836, in Gurugram.(Parveen Kumar/HT Photo)

Taking cognisance of the report in the Hindustan Times on the dilapidated state of a 19th-century French memorial in Mohyal Colony, the deputy commissioner of Gurugram has asked heritage body, INTACH, to prepare a restoration plan.

On Wednesday, deputy commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh asked officials concerned to file a status report about the present condition of the memorial.

The report submitted by the Naib Tehsildar, Wazirabad outlined that site inspection carried out by the patwari had confirmed the presence of a dome-shaped old memorial with an adjoining grave on the said location. The report concludes that the memorial required repair work.

“We have inspected the site. Since it is a heritage structure and has a history behind it, we have asked INTACH volunteers in Gurugram to prepare a restoration plan. We have decided to raise funds as part of CSR (corporate social responsibility) and also involve philanthropists for renovation and restoration of such historic sites in the city,” Singh said.

HT had reported about the poor condition of the memorial, which is dedicated to a French soldier by the name of Jean Etienne. The soldier is believed to have served in Begum Samru’s army. Begum Samru ruled over Jharsa-Badshahpurpargana till her death in 1836.

The memorial mentions the date of Etienne’s death as Sunday June 5, 1821. Etienne served Begum Samru for 35 years until his death at the age of 75.

“I have conveyed to the DC that we are willing to take up the responsibility of restoring this monument at our cost. Once I get a nod from him, I will proceed with carrying out the preliminary estimates for the restoration work,” Atul Dev, convener of the Gurugram chapter of INTACH, said. Singh is likely to hold a meeting with INTACH on Tuesday.

“Begum Samru was a very gutsy woman. She had an army in Gurugram, which resulted in the British putting up a battalion and cantonment in the city. They feared her army. Preserving the monument will strengthen her legacy,” Dev said.

“The authorities should sit down with the Residents’ Welfare Association before they proceed with any such step,” Yogesh Mehta, member of Mohyal Housing and Welfare Association, Mohyal Colony, said.

First Published: Jun 16, 2018 08:58 IST