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The Immortals
Photo by Munish Dhiman

The art of sculpting comes very close to depicting observable reality as truthfully as possible. Unlike painting, which is by nature illusive and aims to adapt a viewer’s imagination to varying dimensions and perspectives, sculpting is considered a more bona fide attempt at creative authenticity. A sculpture is there within the space it occupies, as real and alike as the thing it represents. These fibre-glass sculptures, shaped and composed by the artist Manjit Singh Gill are therefore concrete representations, lasting glimpses into the personalities of some of the finest figures in Indian history. Earlier this year, Gill decided to quit his job with the Government of Punjab. He was a senior gazetted officer, employed in the department of Archaeology and Museums. But even so, he gave up his professional career with only one aim in sight: to pursue his passion for sculpting. This was when he made his return to the village of Ghallkalan, which is part of the Moga district in Punjab, Gill’s birthplace and now the setting for his growing sculpture collection. “Owing to the lack of time and freedom when I was a government official, I decided to resign from my job, and dedicate myself to this art, which will always remain my first love,” the sculptor said. “I set up the Desh Bhagat Park here with my sculpture collection because I wanted to let the world know that there have been Indians who have made this country proud with their sacrifices and numerous achievements.”

This sculpture of Mahatma Gandhi, like all the others here, is made of fibre glass. An added layer of colour gives the statute its bronze aspect.

Sikh military commander Banda Singh Bahadur, who mounted an armed resistance against the Mughal invaders in 1709.

A garlanded hand symbolising the message of meditation and spirituality.

A statue of Neerja Bhanot, who was killed while trying to save passengers aboard the Pan Am Flight 73 (also featured here). The aircraft was hijacked by terrorists on 5 September 1986.

Ustad Daman (real name Chiragh Deen), a noted poet and mystic of the undivided Punjab.

A sculpture of the Buddha in a state of meditational repose.

Statue of Kartar Singh Sarabha, a revolutionary leader belonging to the Sikh community.

18-foot-tall statue of the ‘Flying Sikh’ Milkha Singh

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