History and Politics of Delhi
Delhi, the capital of India, shines like a multi-faceted diamond, complete with skyscrapers, flyovers, a scintillating nightlife, and a bustling IT village. Yet, despite this, the fact that much of Delhi’s rich history continues to form vital parts of this city, shows how the city has been able to simultaneously adapt and retain itself.
Located on the banks of the river Yamuna, Delhi is supposedly the Indraprastha of the epic Mahabharatha. Indeed, Delhi has always had a history of habitation. Its history reveals a patchwork of inter-dynastial conflict, as several dynasties warred for the throne of Delhi.
Delhi has changed many hands in bloody wars, from the Chauhans of the second century AD, the Delhi Sultanate of the 13th century, the Turkish, Afghan, Khilji and Lodhi dynasties next, to the Mughal empire that ruled for over three centuries.
Yet, despite the central Hindu-Mughal conflict that is responsible for a long line of kings – and a longer array of beautiful architecture in various styles all over Delhi – the city has also been a fountain of artistic and spiritual accomplishments that fostered peace and brotherhood.
Meanwhile, interestingly, legend has it that rulers who create new cities in Delhi are cursed with not being able to last their rule.
This didn’t stop Delhi’s power set from creating new areas of rule.
These 7 cities – Quila Rai Pithora, Mehrauli, Siri, Tughlakabad, Firozabad, Shergarh and Shahjehabanad – are little more than suburbs now, but are known for plenty of relics from their glorious past.
Delhi was also once the centre of the Sufi movement.
And Emperor Akbar’s revolutionary religion ‘Din-e-Elahi’ was also born here, at Fatehpur Sikri.
And even today, more than 60 years after India turned a democracy, the capital understands communal harmony and actively spreads the word across the nation.
Delhi is also known as “Dilli” or “Dehli”, and the name probably originates from either the word ‘Dehali’ (Sanskrit) or the word ‘Dehleez’ (Persian), both of which mean ‘Gateway’. Sure enough, Delhi is all heart – as the famous quote goes, “Dilli, Dilwaalon ka Sheher” (Delhi is the city of people with big hearts and courage).
Being the capital of India, of course, makes Delhi quite a happening city where news is concerned. Delhi is literally the seat of power of India, as well as that of the state government of Delhi.
The destiny of the country is shaped here, the biggest VVIPs are all here, the Rashtrapati Bhavan (the Presidential palace) and the Indian Parliament are here, India’s Supreme Court is here, the embassies are all here, and important people are constantly visiting here.
The city is also the epicenter of political reportage, being as it is the center of political activity. And if you are planning to get work done, be warned – red tape and bureaucracy are rampant, and things work by influence.
So Delhi – as royal as India can get. If you’re not struck with awe, you’re not exploring enough.