New Delhi: Journey of its rich heritage (1911-2011)
| Saturday, Dec 10 2011 3:16PM IST
'Dilwaalo ki dilli' celebrates 100 years as the CapitalThe national capital of India, the 'dillwalo ki Dillii' is all set to celebrate its 100 years on 12th December 2011. On December 12, 1911, King George V announced the shifting of the capital of imperial India from Calcutta to Delhi and the rest as they say was history.Delhi before 1911:Delhi in its 6th century witnessed continuous inhabitation and the city was believed to be the site of Indraprastha, legendary capital of Pandavas in the Indian epic Mahabharata. Settlements grew from the time of the Mauryan Empire. In 1206, Qutb-ud-din Aybak, the first ruler of the slave dynasty established the Delhi Sultanate. He started the construction of Qutub Minar. In the late medieval period a succession of Turkic and Afghan dynasties, the Khilji dynasty, the Tughluq dynasty, the Sayyid dynasty and the Lodhi dynasty held power and built a sequence of forts and townships in Delhi.Delhi was a major centre of Sufism during the Sultanate period. In 1526 Mughal Empire was founded that ruled Delhi for more than three centuries. During 1553-1556, the Hindu king, Hemu Vikramaditya acceded to the throne of Delhi by defeating forces of Mughal Emperor Akbar at Agra and Delhi. The Mughals re-established their rule after Akbar's army defeated Hemu during the Second Battle of Panipat. Shah Jahan built the seventh city of Delhi that was called 'Old City' or 'Old Delhi'. The old city served as the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1638 and after 1680, the Mughal Empire's influence declined rapidly as the Hindu Marathas rose to prominence.After the decline of Mughal Empire, Nader Shah invaded and looted Delhi. In 1752 a treaty was signed which made Marathas the protector of the Mughal throne at Delhi. In 1761, Marathas lost the third battle of Panipat and in 1803; the forces of British East India Company overran the Maratha forces near Delhi and ended the Mughal rule over the city.After the Indian Rebellion of 1857, Delhi came under the direct rule of the British crown and was made a district province of the Punjab. On 12 December, 1911 the National Capital of the then colonized India was shifted by the British from Kolkata to Delhi. Delhi after 1911:On 12th December 1911, when King George V, who visited the country to commemorate his coronation as the British emperor of India, announced the shifting of the capital of imperial India from Kolkata to Delhi, the political focus also shifted and Delhi was re-established as the center for ruling the Indian sub-continent.This was not the first time that Delhi, which has reference dating back to 1450 BC, became a capital. A team of British architects led by Edwin Lutyens designed a new political and administrative area, which was known as New Delhi, to house the government buildings. New Delhi, also known as Lutyensâ€™ Delhi was officially declared as the capital of the Union of India after the country gained independence on 15th August 1947.In 1947, during the partition of India, thousands of Hindu and Sikh refugees from West Punjab and Sindh fled to Delhi while many Muslims residents of the city migrated to Pakistan.In 1991, the Constitution (Sixty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1991 declared the Union Territory of Delhi to be formally known as National Capital Territory of Delhi. This Act gave Delhi its own legislative assembly, though with limited powers.Culture:Delhi always had a rich culture due to its history as different rulers build many monuments. According to the Archaeological Survey of India, there are almost 1200 heritage buildings and 175 monuments in Delhi. In the old city or Old Delhi, Mughals and Turkic rulers constructed many monuments. Amongst them included Jama Masjid which is India's largest mosque and Red Fort. The most famous heritage sites â€“ the Red Fort, Qutub Minar and Humayun's Tomb are all located in Delhi. Other famous monuments of Delhi are India Gate, the Jantar Mantar, Purana Qila.The republic day parade is a large cultural and military parade showcasing Indiaâ€™s cultural diversity and military might. Over the centuries Delhi is known for its composite culture and a festival that symbolizes it truly is the 'Phool Walon ki Sair', which takes place in September.Delhi believes in diversity:Being the national capital of the country, Delhi attracts people from all over the country. Therefore, the culture of Delhi represents the culture of all states of India. It is a kind of synthesis and reflection of the culture of India as a whole. Its culture comes from the modern lifestyles as well as the old traditions and values. On one side we see the old Delhi where people still uphold the values of the past. Old Delhi still offers the culture of Mughals and Turkic rulers. On one side we still hear the qawwallis in the old city whereas on the other hand the people in New Delhi have become the slaves of pretension and where one can hear loud and blaring music of pubs and discotheques.Delhi: the epicenter of politics: Delhi that was known as a special Union Territory today has its own Legislative Assembly, Lieutenant Governor, Council of Ministers and Chief Minister. The Union Government of India and the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi jointly administered New Delhi, a city in Delhi, which is the capital and seat of government of both the National Capital Territory of Delhi and of India itself. The legislative assembly was re-established in 1993 for the first time since 1956, with direct federal rule in the span. The Parliament of India, the Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidential Palace), Cabinet Secretariat and the Supreme Court of India are located in New Delhi. There are 70 assembly constituencies and seven Lok Sabha (Indian parliament's lower house) constituencies in Delhi.Delhi was a traditional stronghold of the Indian National Congress, also known as the Congress Party. In the 1990s, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) under the leadership of Madan Lal Khurana came into power; however in 1998, Congress regained power under Sheila Dikshit, the incumbent Chief Minister. The Congress retained power in the Legislative Assembly in the 2003 and 2008 elections.