Museum that rekindles patriotism
Antiques but still deadly can be deadly
With the dark war clouds still looming large, a visit to the Eastern Naval Command's Swarna Jyoti Museum will certainly act as morale booster to our ebbing patriotism. Swarna Jyoti was created as a motivation hall cum museum in 1989, commemorating the golden jubilee of INS Circars (the central command of ENC). It was built with the aim to provide a perspective of the eastern seaboard's maritime history, growth of the Navy from pre-independence days and the Naval heritage. The museum, located within the ENC complex in Visakhapatnam, is by itself an edifice standing head and shoulder over quite a few imposing structures in the city, as it is considered to be an epitome of glory and supreme sacrifice.
The museum is divided into five sections: maritime history, eastern seaboard IN establishments and ports, ocean resources, Naval archives and Aquaria.
In the first section, maritime history is well depicted pictorially on the three huge centre pillars that adorn the main hall. The rich navigational heritage that we have inherited from the Vedic times is made conspicuous with the pictorial display of archaeological artefacts excavated from the sites of Lothal, Harappa and other relevant Indus sites. A cursory glance of the brief written under each photograph will virtually transport us to that era and certainly do us proud to be an Indian. The pillars vividly narrate Indian maritime history right from the epochal Indus to the modern Naval operations, including the 1971 war with Pakistan and the IPKF operation that was christened as 'operation Pawan'. The second section gives an overview of the ENC's operation, its command set up and all the establishments under its control. A well-crafted scale model of Chennai harbour is also on display. The Ocean Resources section comprises displays about specimens of marine life, models of various rigs and oil platforms on the eastern coast and a scale layout of Vizag harbour.
The most interesting part is stored in the mezzanine floor of the building: the floor of the booming guns and swishing swords. The artefacts displayed range from a fully dressed contemporary Naval commando to various calibres of guns and shells and from a dressed medieval Maratha soldier to the swords and bayonets of World War II. The mannequin of a commander in dress code No. 2, by itself, speaks of the dynamism and national fervour attached to the uniform.
Adjacent to the Swarna Jyoti building is 'Smritika' that reminisces the silent arm of the Indian Navy, the submarine museum. A pictorial display of these great machines that have been running deep and silent for years in the waters, guarding the coast from all unwanted intruders, will hold you spellbound.
The most nostalgic display are the few remains that have been extracted from the sunken Pakistani submarine, Gazi, that was destroyed a few kilometre off the coast of Visakhapatnam in the 1971 war. The exhibit of various torpedoes and the escape suit sends a chilling message that how dangerous the game could be. A visit to the museum is a must for the younger generation, who seem to be dreaming and yearning for the green notes day in and day out, keeping patriotism in the backseat for the time being. A stroll down to the place would not only be exciting and exhilarating but also nostalgic and motivating. It is also a form of tribute to those fearless men in whites, who would not flinch to be hit on the chest, at times, when the nation's honour is at stake.
Photo: K.R. Deepak
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