Relics of the Raj
We are pleased to announce to Our People that on the advice of Our Ministers tendered after consultation with Our Governor-General in Council, We have decided upon the transfer of the seat of the Government of India from Calcutta to the ancient Capital Delhi. (Quoted in New Delhi Making of a Capital, Malvika Singh and Rudrangshu Mukherjee, Roli Books, 2009)
On12 December 9111 , two important declarations were made by King George V and his wife Mary here in the Coronation Park, Delhi. First, that the Capital of British India would be shifted from Calcutta to Delhi, and the second was about annulment of the Partition of Bengal. They also declared that India would now be ruled directly by the King and Queen of England, thereby ending the rule of the East India Company.
Here is the date with history :
1877: Coronation Park becomes venue of Delhi Durbar, when Queen Victoria was proclaimed the Empress of India.
1903: Celebrates the accession of Edward VII.
December 11, 1911: Hosts Delhi Durbar, commemorating the coronation of King George V as Emperor of India. Representatives of all the princely states attended the function.
After 100 years the park is a “graveyard of statues” as conservationist A.G. Krishna Menon describes the site of Dilli Darbar .
Sic transit gloria mundi – “Thus passes the glory of the world”.
Neglected, forsaken and in shambles Coronation Park is a nightmare to get to. Sixty feet tall figure of King George in all his regalia of crown, orb and specter surveys the 57 acre ground around him. Local teams play cricket (inheritance of the British) oblivious to the history. Full of camel thorn shrubs, plants growing on plinths of statues, rubbish heaps and construction workers trying desperately to restore the long gone glory with age-old tools, it attracts very few tourists.
No one wants to reawaken unpleasant memories of more than two centuries of British colonial rule and I find it absurd to beat the drum of celebrating 100 years of Delhi when the name New Delhi was finalized only in 1927, and New Delhi was formally inaugurated only in 1931.
I took a trip to the north of Delhi , braved the dirt, thorns and traffic to get the idea of what lies in that midst of decaying overgrown patch of land and trust me it was just worth a few pictures to mark 11.12.11, nothing else .