Development of the Indian City Delhi — Historical, Contemporary


Dr. Ravi P. Bhatia – TRANSCEND Media Service

Delhi is an ancient city with several unique and majestic monuments such as Lal Quilla (Red Fort), Purana Quilla, Qutab Minar, Hauz Khas Fort, Humayun Tomb and others. Akshardham Temple and Lotus Temple are also beautiful structures that the Indian government developed some years back and many people are attracted to visit them. The British rulers of India also constructed several important buildings such as Rashtrapati Bhawan (president’s house), several office buildings (south and north blocks) and a unique marketplace — Connaught Place. They also constructed the main office building of Delhi University.

Delhi has become an important destination for delegates coming for various international events. Recently the G 20 Conference, that concluded on 10 September was held. Part of the credit for this goes to the Indian Prime Minister Mr Modi (from 2014) for his dedication. He invited world leaders from USA, England, Brazil, France, Australia and other countries for the Conference that was aimed at promoting peace and goodwill. The motto of the Conference was — Vasudev kutumbkam  (One Earth, One Family, One Future).

Many political leaders, professors, teachers and scholars also participated in the conference. Credit to these professors goes partly to the capital city of India because Delhi has several academic institutions for teaching and research. Delhi has an IIT, JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University), Delhi University and other well-known institutions — institutions of eminence, central and state universities, deemed universities and other academic and research institutions.

One of these eminent institutions is Delhi University on which I am writing a few lines about its features.

Delhi University (DU) was established in 1922 — a century back. It is now located in both North Delhi as well as South Delhi and is a well-known teaching and residential campus. It has in all 91 affiliated colleges spread all over Delhi. Some well-known and old colleges are St Stephen College, Hindu College, Miranda House, Ramjas College , Lady Shriram College and several other colleges — both teaching and residential. All colleges admit both male and female students but Miranda House, Lady Shriram College are only for girl students.

In addition to these colleges, the university has several departments of science, arts, commerce, management, languages, etc. It has teaching and research facilities in most well-known languages — Hindi, Sanskrit, Urdu, Bengali, Arabic, Turkish, French, German, Spanish, Russian, English. Many teachers are distinguished and some of them are well known as experts in Indian Constitution and political science.

There are some brilliant teachers in these colleges, and a few of them have been invited to join government due to their expertise in teaching economics, political science and other subjects.

Two brilliant scholars taught in DU and who subsequently won Nobel Prize. One was Amartya Sen who taught in DU during 1963 – 1971 and won the Nobel for Economics in 1998. Being a Bengali, he first taught in Calcutta and many other well-known institutions.

Another Nobel Prize winner–in Peace–was Aung San Suu Kyi, from Myanmar, who won the award in 1991. There were some reports that she would be stripped of the Nobel award but fortunately this did not happen.

I may mention that I also was a student of some colleges — Hansraj College and Ramjas College of Delhi University and one of my classmates was Parthasarathi Dasgupta, who had a distinguished career in Economics and who subsequently won many awards for his outstanding work in economics in England. He was also knighted by the British queen. I did not study economics, but physics and later on did some research work in the subject and taught it in some institutions. I may mention that I was an ordinary scholar in the subject.

Mahatma Gandhi is a well-known person and respected all over the world. When any distinguished leader visits India and has talks with the Prime Minister and the Indian government, the leader is also taken to the samadhi (resting place after death) of Gandhi in New Delhi to pay respects to the great man. Recently many world leaders came to India for the G 20 summit which was held in New Delhi. Most of the leaders were also taken to Rajghat to pay respects to Mahatma Gandhi’s samadhi.

Everyone understands the importance of Mahatma Gandhi for his nonviolence and stress on teaching of skills in education and for other efforts for promoting peace and goodwill. He was awarded several honours for his outstanding work in the area of peace and his dedicated struggles for the removal of the colonial yoke of England that India suffered for about two hundred years. Many people proposed Gandhi’s name for Nobel Peace award, however this did not occur.  It is difficult to understand why this did not happen.

Anyway, Gandhi’s eminence does not rest on a Nobel Prize.  He was not awarded this Prize but people respect him for his other features — truth, nonviolence, promoting spinning wheel, dedication, ashrams that were started by him or by the government for people to stay in them briefly and imbibe Gandhian values. These ashrams are present in several cities in India as well as some overseas. His birth anniversary — 2 October is celebrated worldwide and is a gazetted holiday in India. He was born in Porbandar in Gujarat in 1869. The day is marked by prayer meetings, exhibitions, film screenings and other events to make his life and values well known to people, especially the young generation of people.

To conclude, it may be mentioned that earlier, India was considered a poor country with limited infrastructure and development. Today India is included in the category of top five countries for economic development. The Indian government has publicly stated that our country will soon improve economically and will emerge in the category of top three economies of the world.

People are keenly waiting for this development.


Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. His new book, A Garland of Ideas—Gandhian, Religious, Educational, Environmental was published recently in Delhi.

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 2 Oct 2023.

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