Tag Archives: 100 years of New Delhi

From Dehli to New Delhi, it wasn’t 1911

Amidst the cacophony of celebrating 100 years of Delhi, several details seem to have escaped the attention of our ever vigilant media, both print and electronic. This post is to draw your attention to a few of these ‘details’ in an attempt to place the celebrations in what appears to this author to be the correct perspective.

The 12th of December, 2011, can not by any stretch of imagination be described the centenary of Delhi, because there were at least 7 Dehlis before New Delhi came up, in fact 9 Dehlis if one were to add Kilokhri and Kotla Mubarakpurpur, Dehlis in their own right, to the generally accepted list of Qila Rai Pithora, Siri, Tughlaqabad, Jahan Panah, Firozeshah Kotla, Din Panah or Sher Garh or Purana Qila and Shahjahanabad. All of these came up at different times from the  11th century to the 17th century and all of these were more than a 100 years ago.

All that the 12th of December 2011 can claim to be the centenary of, therefore, is New Delhi. Let us look at even that claim a little more closely. What exactly transpired on the 12th of December 1911 that is causing so much excitement a 100 years later? Continue reading From Dehli to New Delhi, it wasn’t 1911

यहाँ से शहर को देखो…

(नई दिल्ली का सौवां साल शुरू होने पर हिंदी साप्ताहिक आऊटलुक  में यह लेख पहली बार प्रकाशित हुआ था.)

अब जबके हर तरफ यह एलान हो चुका है के दिल्ली १०० बरस की हो गयी है और चारों ओर नई दिल्ली के कुछ पुराने होने का ज़िक्र भी होने लगा है, इन दावों के साथ साथ के दिल्ली तो सदा जवान रहती है और देखिये ना अभी कामन वेल्थ खेलों के दौरान यह एक बार फिर दुल्हन बनी थी वगेरह वगेरह तो हमने सोचा के क्यों न इन सभी एलान नामों की सत्यता पर एक नजर डाल ली जाए, और इसी बहाने उस दिल्ली वाले से भी मिल लिया जाए जो इस अति प्राचीन/ मध्य कालीन/ आधनिक नगरी का नागरिक होते हुए भी वैशवीकरण के झांसे में इतना आ चुका है के वो अपने आप को २१वीं शताब्दी के पूर्वार्द्ध में आने वाले आर्थिक संकट को पछाड देने वाले चमचमाते भारत देश की राजधानी का शहरी  होने का भरम पाले हुए है. Continue reading यहाँ से शहर को देखो…

New Delhi – A Heritage Zone at 80!

[This article by Sohail Hashmi was earlier inadvertently posted under the name of Shivam Vij. The error is regretted.]

Connaught Place renovation for the Commonwealth Games, September 2010. Photo credit: AP

In 1988 Lutyen’s Delhi, was declared a heritage zone by prohibiting building activity within the 26 square kilometre area out of the 43 Sq. Km. area that falls within the civic control of New Delhi Municipal Committee (NDMC). A move has now been initiated to get the entire area declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The very logic of an area being declared a Heritage Zone should preclude any interference with the layout and design of the entire zone. Non-interference also means that, future building and development activity, if at all permitted, has to conform to the original parameters of design, materials, fittings and fixtures used, building techniques, landscaping and the kinds of trees planted in the heritage zone.

Even before the 1988 freeze on construction, there was a master plan for Delhi and it clearly identified the Lutyen’s Bungalow Zone as an area where high rises were not to be permitted. Continue reading New Delhi – A Heritage Zone at 80!

Who is a Dilliwala?

Chhat Puja at India Gate, Delhi. Photo credit: S. Subramanium / The Hindu

For most residents of New Delhi, the region known as Old Delhi falls within the realm of the unknown. Aside from business people and those who earn a living inside the walled city only a few from outside the walled city used to venture into, what is derisively called Dilli 6. At least this was the picture till very recently.

With the introduction of the Metro entry into and exit from the heart of the city, it has become less daunting. More and more people from outside the “walled city area” have begun to tentatively explore the narrow winding lanes of Shahjahanabad. Except for those who come to explore ‘history and heritage’ and their numbers are small, consisting mostly of fair skinned tourists, most others arrive to explore the fabled flavours of the street food of Old Delhi or Shahjahanabad to give the place its correct name.

Continue reading Who is a Dilliwala?