Delhi has been the capital of various ruling dynasties for more than 1,000 years, although with some gaps in between. The grandest capital of all was built by Shah Jahan. The Old Delhi or Purani Dilli was earlier a walled city called Shahjahanabad.
The construction of the city was completed in 1648, and it remained the capital of the Mughal Empire until its fall after the “Great Revolt of 1857”. It still serves as the symbolic heart of metropolitan Delhi.
The decision to shift the British capital from Calcutta to Delhi was announced at the ‘Coronation Durbar of King George V’ in 1911. New Delhi was constructed as a ten-square-mile city on Raisina hill, south of the Old Delhi.
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Viceroy Harding explained the choice of Delhi as the capital of British India in the following words:
“The change would strike the imagination of the people of India… and would be accepted by all as the assertion of an unfaltering determination to maintain the British rule in India”.
New Delhi exhibited a sense of law and order in contrast to the chaos and unlawfulness of Old Delhi. It was clean and green”.
The Partition of India in 1947 led to a massive exchange of population between Pakistan and India and resulted in bloody communal riots. As a result, the population of Delhi swelled.
Massive migration from Punjab resulted in overshadowing of the Urdu culture of Delhi. New colonies such as Tilak Nagar and Lajpat Nagar came up to cater to the needs of Hindu and Sikh refugees from Pakistan.
Click on the link below to understand the evolution of Delhi in chronological order!
Thus, the Delhi we know today has undergone a tremendous transformation to reach its present state. Pilar Maria Guerrieri’s book, Maps Of Delhi shows these changes over time in an orderly, concise and laudable way.
The last map in the book shows the forthcoming Master Plan 2021 by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. It depicts an enormous increase in the urbanized area and the under-developed areas in the map have been marked as “urbanisable”.
Image credits: Google images
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This post is tagged under: Delhi, Old Delhi, capital, map, British era, Mughal period, colony, shift capital from Calcutta to Delhi, shift capital from Old Delhi to New Delhi, when, how, why, maps of Delhi, history of Delhi, Shahjahanabad, Delhi’s past