Topic outline

    • Colonialism and the City
      The Story of an Imperial Capital

      Q46. How did the Old City of Delhi change under British rule?
      What did the British do to remove the marks of Mughal beauty and glory in Delhi after the 1857 war?

      Ans. The British changed the old city of Delhi entirely. The British wanted Delhi to forget its Mughal past.

                                 i.        The area around the Fort was completely cleared of gardens, pavilions and mosques (though temples were left intact). The British wanted a clear ground for security reasons.

                                ii.        Mosques in particular were either destroyed, or put to other uses. For instance, the Zinatal- Masjid was converted into a bakery. No worship was allowed in the Jama Masjid for five years.

                               iii.        One-third of the city was demolished, and its canals were filled up.

                               iv.        In the 1870s, the western walls of Shahjahanabad were broken to establish the railway and to allow the city to expand beyond the walls.

                                v.        The Delhi College was turned into a school, and shut down in 1877.

      Q47. Discuss the construction plan of New Delhi.
      Write a short note on construction plan of New Delhi.

      Ans. Construction plan of New Delhi

                                i.        New Delhi was constructed as a 10-square-mile city on Raisina Hill, south of the existing city. Two architects, Edward Lutyens and Herbert Baker, were called on to design New Delhi and its buildings.

                               ii.        The government complex in New Delhi consisted of a two-mile avenue, Kingsway (now Rajpath), that led to the Viceroy’s Palace (now Rashtrapati Bhavan), with the Secretariat buildings on either sides of the avenue.

                               iii.        The features of these government buildings were borrowed from different periods of India’s imperial history, but the overall look was Classical Greece (fifth century BCE).

                               iv.        For instance, the central dome of the Viceroy’s Palace was copied from the Buddhist stupa at Sanchi, and the red sandstone and carved screens or jalis were borrowed from Mughal architecture.

                                v.        But the new buildings had to assert British importance. Therefore, the Viceroy’s Palace was kept higher than Shah Jahan’s Jama Masjid.

      Q48. What attempts were made to decongest the old city?

      Ans. Attempts made to decongest the old city were:

                                  i.        In 1888 an extension scheme called the Lahore Gate Improvement Scheme was planned by Robert Clarke for the Walled City residents. The idea was to draw residents away from the Old City to a new type of market square, around which shops would be built. Streets in this redevelopment strictly followed the grid pattern, and were of identical width, size and character. Land was divided into regular areas for the construction of neighbourhoods. Clarkegunj, as the development was called, remained incomplete and did not help to decongest the Old City.

                                 ii.        In 1936, The Delhi Improvement Trust was set up and it built areas like Daryaganj South for wealthy Indians. Houses were grouped around parks. Within the houses, space was divided according to new rules of privacy. Instead of spaces being shared by many families or groups, now different members of the same family had their own private spaces within the home.


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