A ceremonial pillar topped with an ornate bronze sculpture depicting the emblem of Bihar and erected in the state Assembly premises to mark the centenary of its iconic building is all set to be unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 12.
On Sunday morning, workers were giving finishing touches to the tall obelisk that has been mounted in a garden opposite the central portico of the majestic landmark.
”We are all ready to host our Prime Minister, and all preparations have been made for his visit to the Bihar Assembly premises on July 12. It is a matter of great honour for us that the PM will be unveiling the Shatabdi Smriti Stambh that marks 100 years of the building that houses the Assembly. The pillar is 40-foot high, including 25 feet of civil structure clad with Jaisalmer stone and topped with a 15-foot bronze sculpture,” a senior official told PTI.
The bronze sculpture symbolically depicts the emblem of Bihar — a Bodhi tree with prayer beads dangling from its side branches, flanked two ‘Swastikas’ — he said. The historical emblem is used as a logo of the government of Bihar.
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The pillar with an octagonal cross-section has five tiers below the sculptural tree which had been lent a green hue, and sits on a wide platform with three approaching steps from all sides. Panels have been added on the faces of the base of the pillar, depicting several illustrations as shown in different parts of the Constitution of India.
”The number of leaves in the tree symbolically represent the combined strength of the members of both the Legislative Assembly (243) and the Legislative Council (75). It has nine branches depicting the nine administrative divisions of Bihar,” the senior official said.
The foundation stone of the centenary pillar was laid by President Ram Nath Kovind on October 21 last year. The President had also planted a sapling of Bodhi tree, which now stands in front of the ceremonial column.
”As per the scheduled programme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji will arrive at the Bihar Assembly premises in the evening and unveil the Shatabdi Smriti Stambh. He will also lay the foundation stones of a Bihar Vidhan Sabha museum and Bihar Vidhan Sabha guest house via remote control. A book on the historic journey of the Assembly would also be released on the occasion as per the plan,” the official said.
The book in Hindi depicts the journey of the Bihar Assembly from its first session to its 17th session, and has been compiled by officials of the Assembly, he said.
Two huge posters bearing messages of greetings and an image of Prime Minister Modi have been mounted on walls on either side of the central portico of the majestic Assembly building.
During his visit to the Bihar Assembly premises, the prime minister will also officially christen a garden as ‘Shatabdi Smriti Udyan’. The garden located near the centenary pillar has been enriched with 100 herbal plants, officials said.
Bihar Governor Fagu Chauhan, Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Deputy Chief Minister Tarkishore Prasad, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Tejashwi Yadav are also slated to attend the event, they said.
In a statement earlier, Speaker Sinha expressed delight over the prime minister’s scheduled tour on July 12 which will be the first occasion for any prime minister to visit the Bihar assembly.
The Bihar Legislative Assembly building — originally called the Council Chamber — which completed its centenary in 2021, was designed by architect A M Millwood in a ”free Renaissance style” in keeping with the architectural grandeur of the iconic Patna Secretariat, according to old records.
Though the handsome double-storied edifice was ready by the end of 1920, the inaugural session of the Bihar and Orissa Provincial Legislative Councils in the new building was held on February 7, 1921 after it was formally opened by the then state Governor Lord S P Sinha on the same day.
During the centennial function hosted in 2021 in the Central Hall of the new annexe building of the old Bihar legislative complex on the very same date — February 7 — Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had highlighted the glorious past of the Bihar Legislative Assembly.
Bihar Legislative Assembly was created after the bicameral legislature system came into being following the Government of India Act, 1935. Orissa separated from Bihar on April 1, 1936, and since then the upper house of the legislature is called Bihar Legislative Council. According to ‘Patna: A Monumental History’, a Bihar government publication of 2008, originally, only the building east of the Patna Secretariat clocktower was built in 1920 and it housed the Council and the Council Secretariat.
This building today houses the Bihar Legislative Assembly. The north and south wings were added in later years. The north wing currently houses the Bihar Legislative Council, while the south wing houses other offices.
The first joint session of the two houses took place on July 22, 1937.