Volume-Two master plan for delhi 1957 Part -1 preambl e

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Part -1


Planning as a concept and as policy needs no elucidations in the India of today. However, strangely enough, planning methods have not yet been applied to reforming the physical environment within which planned economic growth and social development are to take place. Except for the design of new towns, for the dramatic new steel mills and the capital of newly created states, our old cites growing at a vertiginous rate have been left to sprawl over the land. Finally ,four years ago the government recognized that its own seat, Delhi, with its population doubled since 1941, was in dire need of some drastic surgery, dynamic proposal to accommodate its expected growth, as a major city of India, and as a major world capital . As a result the preparation of a master plan for Delhi and its region was undertaken. Thus Delhi will be the first to have a comprehensive urban development plan with metropolitan and regional proposals. It is hoped that the preparation of this plan will point the way towards solving the growth problems that are besetting other urban areas in the country. In this respect the proposed plan becomes an all India prototype.

A Regional Plan –why?

The Delhi citizen or the visitor to Delhi daily sees and deeply feels the need for intelligent planning and action. He experiences the delays and tensions and hazards of chaotic traffic. He sees the miserable hovels of Jamuna Bazaar and a dozen other squatters colonies , the incredible overcrowding and lack of sanitation in the old city , where in some wards people are huddled 1000 to the acre, In contrast to a New Delhi density of at places, as low as 3 families per acre. He knows how difficult and expensive it is to find a dwelling for himself, and often when he does find one, he suffers from lack of water supply , or of drainage, or connected sewerage.

But what may not at first sight be so clear is that to remedy those desperate conditions we must not work only at these immediate tasks. Unless we plan at a much larger scale as well as, on a regional scale, then the immediate remedies will inevitable fall. Even if we plan and build large quantities of good housing in Delhi, and even if we simultaneously supply the water and the Sewerage and the shopping, we will still fait to catch up. For the possibly major problem of every metropolis everywhere is in-migration from rural areas and from smaller towns, and this problem is especially acute in Delhi. From 1941 to 1951 the total population of India increased by 13.3 per cent. But the urban population increased by about three times that. Urban places of up to 100,000 population increased by 23.2 per cent, but much more spectacular and alarming was the increase in cities of 100,000 and over, where the population rose by 125 per cent.

Delhi s growth in this period was especially drastic for well known reasons: the lakhs of mass refugee migration from Pakistan ; the massive growth of Government employment from colonial law-and-order State to the Capital of a great country dedicated to the planned welfare State ; the proliferation of Embassies, business representatives from India and all over the world, of National Associations and Institutes; all this piled on top of natural growth and regular in migration- especially drawn by all these factors.

*The preliminary figures of the 1961 census also reveal that the urbanization has been maintained at a high level.

Unless therefore the plan is for the Region , so that the smaller cities, the larger villages all around offer employment opportunities and reasonable living conditions to share the burden of rapidly increasing population and of in-migration, Delhi will be swamped, and even the most desperate attempts to cope with the problem here will still fall further and further behind. In short, to solve the miseries and short-coming of the city itself, one must think and operate and control in terms of the metropolitan urban –rural integration . Or to put it another way, Regional counter-magnets must be created for the vast numbers of in migrants.

Thus the most self –centered Delhi-ite, to cure the ills of his own Mohalls or of this own housing colony or of his one traffic –beleaguered streets, or the impossibility of renting a proper offices, must agree to the urgent necessity of Regional planning. He must interest himself in the Rural and Regional aspect of the Delhi Plan, as well as in the much more precise and recognizable features which apply in his own neighborhood and place of work.

The plan which attempts to foresee and deal with the development of Delhi up to 1981 .has estimated Delhi s; population than at five million. But this projection of population is not by any means on; the high side; was in fact chosen more nearly on’ the low side’ of a number of standard methods of projection . Also, demographic projection for so long a period are far from infallible. If this low side projection is indeed to prove out, Large numbers of rural in-migrants must be attracted elsewhere. Indeed, it is not only a question of rural in- migrants. Projections for the other group of districts , such as Meerut , Bulandshaher ,Karnal and Gurgaon with towns such as panipat and Hapur themselves show a big rate of increase if they, or at least some of the cities in the large region, are not reasonably planned and developed, Delhi will be receiving in-migrants from these, and these towns in turn will suffer depletion , even incipient decay , if they are not equipped to attract virile enterprise.

For working purpose, the 1981 urban population for urban Delhi including Narela has been estimated at 46 lacs and the population Delhi Metropolitan Ares has been estimated at about 60 lacs.

There are also more immediate reasons for planning the Region. The automobile , the truck , the bus have erased’ the political boundaries of cities .Regulations within the city simply lead to unbridled haphazard development just over the border, as witness the burgeoning shambles on the Grand Trunk from the borders of Delhi Territory to Ghaziabad; and the same ribbon development is now beginning on the Mathura Road southward.

Thus the problem shared by Delhi and its surrounding cities is a mutual one, not merely a worry for Delhi.

The city of Delhi- New- Delhi some general Urban Features:

The Delhi Regional plan is particularly significant for two reasons. It deals with a specific problem- namely, the ordering of the future of the Delhi area for the maximum benefit of its residents and those whose business brings them benefit of its residents and those whose business brings them of the National Capital from time to time. This in itself is adequate reason for its having been prepared at this crucial time when the Delhi area is about to experience a growth that probably will reach fifty lakh or more in population in twenty years.

Delhi is a unique city. Both the substantive elements of the plan, and its texture and character endeavour to do it justice in modern terms. It has an ancient history of splendor and of squalor, of destructions and of persistent reconstructions. It thus has a symbolic and spiritual connection which the planning and architecture must seek to live up to, and to exemplify. There is a current and recent deficiency here which must to be made good. In short, THE PLAN, must be not only technically skilful, but must have character, to combine in modern terms characteristics of a symbolic and cultural centre, the Heart of a Great Nation , and the work –a –day Metropolis.

Delhi as a city is unique in other ways. it is relay a number of cities quite separate in character, origin, and to a great extent a function. It is the over crowed old walled city, with its overspill into crowded and haphazard paharganj, Naya Bazaar, Sadar Bazaar with no open spaces and almost no proper community facilities. it is the dignity of Civil Lines to the North, with its great University, and its own overspill of colonies largely refugee in origin. It is the prestige- ful official New Delhi its westernized Connaught shopping centre, which it is the sought to keep entirely aloof from the old areas. It has its own recent overspill of colonies , refuges and other, to the south and west, without utilities, without shops, with unpaved roads, with no or makeshift schools.

The task is not to less these special positive and functional characters by trying to erase them and superimpose a uniform character. The task is to set and to implement minimum acceptable basic living standards for all, more closely to equalize living conditions and community facilities, to improve and sanitize and thin out the old city without sacrificing its essential character and virtues, some of which are actually modern, and sought by latter-day cities. Families must no longer need to queue up at public taps in back lanes for their water requirements. Better solutions must be found for its intensive business activities, huddled in among small back shops and living quarters. But while internal circulations must be somewhat improved, it must not be pierced by through roads or wide circulations roads. One must remember that the centers of modern cities are right now sending great sums to rearrange themselves for the automobile free existence. THE PLAN, to a large extent, attempts to retain this happy situation.

In the New Delhi area, further development is essential to obtain balanced economic in land and services in the heart of the Government complex in which more people can live and work.

The city of Delhi- New Delhi- proposed form of the city:

Planning has two major concerns. First, it is necessary to make certain that proposed development shall correct the consequences or past growth. Most urban areas are confronted with problems arising from their having developed in a haphazard manner, more often than not without benefit of control in the public interest. Under such circumstances, private interest runs rampant, overlooking , or not being concerned with, the efficiencies and facilities that are required for the building of urban areas that must serve lakhs of people, varying functions that must be performed in harmony, and needs of the population that must be fulfilled.

The second concern of planning has to do with future change, ranging from new in hitherto rural environs to rebuilding and modifying what exists so that it is integrated with what is to be. A comprehensive plan must provided the guide lines for new growth at the same time as it makes proposals for the correction of the consequences of past growth.

The basis pattern or scheme of the Urban Delhi plan, is to organize all new developments, and re-form old areas, on the basis of large District relatively self- contained for daily purpose and needs: housing, employment, with district and neighborhood centers for recreation shopping, commercial, cultural activities. This close location relationship is of over-riding importance in greatly diminishing the demands on the costs of transport and highways.

This pattern and its economics are a main feature of The Delhi imperative which will be discussed latter, of course, there will be a very large remaining component of central employment in Government and business. But it is anticipated that this will be a smaller percentage of employees and customer travel then now.

The nuclei or constituent cells of the ‘District’ and a series of compact residential neighborhood based on the pattern of elementary schools and area unpierced by through traffic streets so that children can walk safely unaccompanied to school. Each such neighborhood has its own small community and shopping center for daily needs.

Regional plan: principles, objectives and Methods.

The Delhi plan is so prepared that it meets these objectives:

First - The best possible location of employment centre and housing facilities. This involves creating the optimum distribution of work centers of different types in such a way as (1) to make employees housing both accessible to such centers and also protected from any deleterious influences that might derive from their unplanned juxtaposition, and (2) to ensure the location of employment centers which are in places accessible to needed facilities and services.

Second - The elimination of slums and squatting and provision of adequate housing and related community facilities. This requires planning not only for well designed structure with full utilizes but also their arrangement visa- vis regardless of occupation and income, can benefit from them. Housing for low income families is especially important.

Third - The development adequate transportation facilities for the movement of people and goods, bearing in mind the anticipated improvement due to locality- district development described above, for the city. In the case of Delhi great care has been taken to achieve a consider-able degree of segregation of bicycle traffic from others from, and especially to create certain separate bicycle tracks.

Fourth – The rebuilding of deteriorated areas and the application of effective regulations for new developments, consistent with the three above objectives.

Fifth – The combination of utilitarian solutions to development problems.

Sixth - The assignment of stages for development.

Seventh – The analysis of the cost of undertaking the solutions to planning problems.

Experience has shown that a balanced, comprehensive development plan is impossible to achieve unless all of these objectives are met. The first five objectives are, of course, basic. But the best and most practicable comprehensive plans must include, in addition, detailed attention to objective 6 and 7. The fixing of priorities among various goals is closely connected with means at hand for their fulfillment. It is clear that scarcely a city in the world has the resources to undertake all of the improvements and development that would be desirable. The more restricted the resources, the more imperative is it to provide means and allocate their disbursement according to priority. The great benefit of such a procedure is that, no matter how little or how much can be undertaken in a particular five- year period, what is done fits into a long run plan, becomes organic rather than haphazard.

Eighteen - Having arrived at possible for these needs in the first step, i.e. the initial plan, studies must continue, actual conditions checked against the projections of the plan. Continued study and thought must be directed towards further planning, partly to keep in motion the execution of the present plan, and partly to make any adjustments that may become necessary as new factors emerge to affect the area.

Continued planning is mandatory for still another reason. The present plan is based on detailed analysis, from which major principles and proposals guiding the future growth of Delhi have been developed. This general framework is supplemented by prototype solutions to problems of various sorts, with suitable modification and consistent with sound planning.

The plan deals with four distinguishable but closely built-in areas up to 1981.

  1. Delhi-New Delhi urban area, present and future: 170 sq.miles.

  2. Rural areas in DelhiTerritiry:400 sq.miles.

  3. Metropolitan Area: that it towns very close to Delhi whose development is inextricably connected- Loni, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Bahadurgarh, Narela and to an extent Sonepat also : about 800 sq. miles.

  4. The National Capital Region: about 4,500 sq. miles.

The need for a protective inviolable green-belt around the city to limit its physical growth, to prevent the ultimate oozing together of Delhi and nearby cities, to provide the availability of close-at- hand countryside to the urban family.

The gross residential densities of population vary from high to low in various part of the future city, from 50 persons per acre to 250. These latter densities are higher than desirable. They characterize the old city areas and certain central densification areas. They are a considerable improvement over the present congestion. After much consideration, it seems the best that can be accomplished now.

Rural Areas in the Delhi Territory.

There are over 300 villages. This problem has a negative or holding action, aspect, and a more creative one.

On the holding action side, one most never repeat the tragic village enveloping or village engulfing as illustrated by the example of Muburkapur kotla. A number of village will be included in the proposed expansion of Delhi urban area, whose inhabitants will need to be relocated, instead of hemming in the mud houses and the cattle and the insanitation.

On the fully creative side, the plan is to include groups of villages in small clusters surrounding a central village which has or ill have facilities such as a mandi a secondary school, processing industries in some cases facilities which the individual village cannot afford. The villages in the group are close enough to this centre so that they can readily make use of and benefit from them. New work centers for handicrafts presently located in the crowded squalor, scattered all over Delhi and shahdara are all proposed for the Urban Villages surrounding Delhi.

Metropolitan Area:

This embraces the group of towns around Delhi previously listed. Being within Delhi s ’orbit they have manifold financial, purchasing , marketing and other contact with a rather high degree of dependence on Delhi . Part of their population works in Delhi.

Several points are specifically noted here.

In addition to their own rate of growth, it is hoped they will so develop as to be able to offer homes and employment to a substantial number of in-migrant workers who would otherwise reach Delhi. Aside of the general merit of this thesis, it will be noted in the Land Use chapter that Delhi’s urban limits are pushed as par out as they economically can be. Beyond them, development costs would be excessive due to problem of topography , rock – out –cropping , flooding . It would cost much more to develop and to channel the people into these towns.

These towns are actually a little nearer to Delhi’s than could be normally wished for maintenance of separate identity. For prevention of joining by mutual spread. To take care of this, a particularly generous green-belt must be established , and vigilantly maintained.

National Capital Region:

This varies from point to point , from some 70 miles to 115 miles. Actually , from several view-points, it would be will to develop these towns in the manner prescribed for the ‘ring’ towns in the metropolitan area.

The whole question of counter-magnets is of course on a national plan as well. Not only is it a question of developing over the nation the kinds of cities here noted and there surrounding rural areas. Of the size from, say 25,000 to several lakhs. Industrially and commercially. This is already receiving substantial thought. What may not be so generally realized is that the four largest Indian cities Delhi, Bombay , Calcutta and Madras are disproportionately absorbing the cultural life of the country as well –which means that factors is operating in favour of the excessive magnetism of the metropolis , The erstwhile cultural life of relatively large cities such as Lucknow, Allahabad , Agra, Nagpur , has deteriorated markedly in the last two decades. They thus lost ground vis-à-vis the metropolises.

The Delhi Imperative:

The Delhi Imperative is used in this context to describe the essential concepts, measures and attitudes towards the plan that are indispensable. These imperative must be the guiding factors in the evaluation of the individual action programmes and projects and in the detailed project planning.

The Delhi Imperative-I Economy:

The first of the imperatives is ECONOMY. Unless economy permeates THE PLAN, from conception through implementation to operation, the country cannot afford such plans. THE PLAN must offer the cheapest way of accomplishing absolutely necessary results, cheaper than any other plan.

The built- in economy of self- contained districts with work centers in and around the districts is necessary in order to minimize the journey to work. The potential of staggered and double shift of industries will save cost of rental and of equipment-twice the production can be turned out on the same premises and with the same equipment. In addition, economics in land and transport by diminishing peak loads will be achieved.

The economy of electric supply price policy, air conditioning and water supply must be kept in mind. An inducement for two shifts in industry can be made by lowering substantially the industrial rates for night users. The present trends in air- conditioning loads seem to be indiscriminately using precious power. The normal device of surcharge on domestic consumption can be used.

The economy in redevelopment of the walled city through minimal road changes and widening is an important consideration. Thus obtaining a feature for the Central city which western cities. The world over are striving for the elimination of through traffic. Along with this, the economy of and use through the densification of certain residential areas in the New Delhi garden city. The over generous gardens provided with each bungalow make present densities as low as three families per acre, This can be brought up to densities comparable to the extended residential area of 16 to 20 dwelling units, per acre, without altering the character and board tree- lined avenues. This will bring Government employees closer to their offices, the secretariat, reducing time and cost of transport. The cost of land for the densification would be an additional saving.

The economy of construction is another feature with the maximum use of the minimum urban row house built around a utility core, which permits self- help participation in the construction. Development of the urban village on the periphery of the city for handicrafts presently manufactured in the slum areas of the old city should be undertaken. Economies of land, construction and development are obvious. Simplified construction of schools is another major economy. It is imperative that all of these devices should be set into a time-table of development to avoid premature subdivisions without utilites. With this time-table of development the obvious economies in large scale land acquisition permit enormous savings in land costs.

The Delhi Imperative-III:

In the initial stage and the subsequent decade for the development of New Delhi, the imperial garden city, large scale land acquisition was carried out and effective planning of the new city emerged. In the latter years this policy was ignored and since partition land speculation has vitally prohibited the low income families from obtaining a reasonable lot, forcing them into the presently overcrowded slum areas. Without large scale acquisition as a general policy long before the need for each specific use, planning cannot be fully effectuated. Public purchase and ownership and subsequent phased development of land creates legitimate land value enhancement, which when leased for commercial and industrial use of high level residential can produce substantial revenues which should be applied to the social goals, helping development or supply of land for development would then become a general public consideration based on the overall welfare of the city.

The Delhi Imperative-III

Active Social Component :

Physical planning and redevelopment are not in themselves enough. Physical improvement may be refused by people affected, or accepted reluctantly after much delay and thus obstruct the development programme. The physical improvement in many cases disrupts social patterns and relationships and for some people the net balance is negative. This means planners must deal with the people considerably before the improvement or action is undertaken. Their problems and needs must be considered and where feasible provided for in the new location and layout. This problem of communicating the plan to the people can mean the difference between successful and negative development . Facilities and amenities at certain socials levels are actually rejected and money wasted, especially in the sanitary facilities. There are many organizations presently in Delhi that provided part of these social services. They must be formed and combined into sensitive groups of social workers within each agency carrying out the work.

The Delhi Imperative- iv

Promptness in Small projects: citizens

Satisfaction in the plan.

In the nature or things, planning is a long term process whose benefits take years to flower, particularly when there are limited resources. There, are however, innumerable small items which can be accomplished quickly, whose remedy is simple and inexpensive. Vast amounts of good – will for he plan can be achieved by these small actions. They require alertness, and trained observation by the officials.

The Delhi Imperative – v.

Determination and Decisiveness in Execution.

Enforcement , Follow-Through.

Examples of failure to execute a project through determination and latter enforcement and follow- through, with adequate staff has done great damage to the planning administration as a whole.

Planning development is a complex, sensitive job. Each operation is itself difficult and compounded because of their interdependency. Slums cannot be cleared until new development is ready and then the empty slums must be kept empty and not be occupied, so that redevelopment will not be hampered. Employment opportunities and locations must be synchronized with housing locations and power availability. This kind of planning and development needs adequate supervisory and technical staff. The organization whose sole business and duty is to carry forward these activities from start to finish must be et up to coordinate and negotiate and complete. The Delhi Imperative is a recognition of these necessities.



Here we Stand in Delhi city, symbol of old India and the new. It is that the narrow lanes and houses or Old Delhi or the wide spaces and rather pretentious buildings of New Delhi that count , but the spirit of this ancient city. For Delhi has been an epitome of India’s history with its succession of glory and disaster , and with its great capacity to absorb many cultures and yet remain itself . It is a gem with many facets, some bright and some darkened by age, Presenting the course of India life and thought during the ages . Even the stones here whisper to our ears of the ages of Ling ago and the air we breathe is full of the dust and fragrance of the past, as also of the fresh and piercing winds of the present . we face the good and of India in Delhi city which has been the grave of many empires and the nursery of a republic . what a tremendous story is here; the tradition of millennia of our history surrounds us at every step, and the procession of innumerable generations passes by before our eyes…’ –Jawaharlal Nehru

The origin of Delhi is lost in antiquity . The earliest settlement is traceable to the 10th century B.C., to the epic period of the Mahabharate. It is believed that the pandavas founded the city of Indraprastha somewhere between the historic Purana Qila and Humayun,s Tomb. However, no archeological evidence has, as yet, been unearthed to support this 3,000 year old origin of this ancient capital . The past of this city remains shrouded in darkness until about the 1st century B.C. before the Mecedonian invasions when Raja Dillu of the Mauryan Dynasty founded a new city near about the site where the Qutab Minar stands today . It is believed that christened the city after his own name and all the corrupted names ,Delhi ,Delhi, Dilli, seem to follow after the original name given by Raja Dillu.

There is again a Lapse of another 10 centuries or so until any concrete evidence is found about the existence of a city in this general vicinity. It is said that in the middle of the 11th century a Rajput King named Anangpal founded another city on the old ruins of the city founded by Raja Dillu . Under his reign ,and under the other Rajput Kings that followed and ruled for over a century , numerous works were executed for the development of the city and to provide various amenities for the citizen . It is believed that several dams and tanks were constructed for providing adequate water supply to the city . The well-Known Qilla Rai Pithora was built according to the Rajupt style of architecture.

As the centre of Hindu Empire , it flourished till the end of the 12th century when the defeat of Prithvi Raj Chouhan , the last of the RAJPUT kings , Delhi passed into the hands of the Muslim invaders ,. The Muslims established it as their capital until their empire crumbled in the 18th century and the Marathas raided the city.

The choosing of Delhi , therefore , as the capital of successive generation of ruler and empires was not altogether accidental but with several definite advantages . it is in this light and ovserving these consideration that the growth of Delhi has to be viewed and analysed through its days of glory and defeat, sometimes patronized by the rulers and at other neglected by them but still rising as if from its ashes for it could not be ignored for the long .

The Rajput Kings developed a system of dams and tanks for regular water supply to the city and built forte (Qila Rai pithora) to suit their needs and for their deference. No sketches or plans are available for this period.

For the next three centuries (from early 13th century to early 16th century ) various Sultans ruled Delhi and developed their capitals at several places in the vicinity of the Qutav Minar , Numerous habitations , some of which were large enough to be termed as cities, took shape during this period and became seats of the ruling Kings.

Qutab ud- Din Alvak , the founder the Slave Dynasty , established his capital towards the end of the 12th century on the same site from where the Rajput Kings ruled. He gave India the famous Qutab Minar, a 238’ high tower from the top of which can be viewed the entire landscape of Delhi . This tower stands on one side of the mosque which was later enlarged to twice its original size by ALLA- ud –Din Khilji in the 13th century , Qutab–ud-Din extended his city towards the north –east in the plains.

Another important capital stood further north-east of the Qutab Minar on the sits of the present ruined ramparts of Siri. This capital city was built at the end of the 13th century. The village of Shahpur Jat is inside the fortification of these ruins.

Between the late 13th century and early 14th century , when ALLa-ud-Din Khilji was the ruler Delhi is said to have become very important ,begin both a political capital and a commercial and cultural centre.

When the Tughlak Dynasty seiized power ,the founder King , Mohd, Tughlak built his new capital in 1320 A.D. 5miles east of the old city and gave it a new name, Tughlakabad. This new city , however, had to be abandoned because of scarcity of water. The seat of the Government was, therefore , moved back to the old city near Qutab Minar by the succeeding Tughlak who extended the city further northeast , built new fortifications around it and gave at a new name, Jahanpanah, in 1330 A.D. These new settlements were between the old cities near Qutab Minar and Siri Fort.

The last Tughlak ruler , Firoz Shah Tughlak , however abandoned this site altogether and in 1354 A .D. moved his capital further north near the ancient site of Indraprastha and founded a new city named Firozabad. He also founded a university for the study of Arabic literature and opened up the Yamuna Canal with a branch to Firozabad . The new city developed rapidly and the population started increasing .

The Sultan were great builders , and the spirit of their rule has been preserved in their architectural achievements. It is believed that Delhi had several colleges for the study and spread of Arabic literature , a number of hospital , extensive bazaar and marketing areas, Public baths and recreation gardens etc. and luxurious palaces , Delhi was the noblest and the largest city in the Islamic world. It is said that under the reign of Mohd. Tughlak poets sang of Delhi as a ‘Twin sister of Heaven , a very paradise on earth ‘ . It combined strength with beauty and elegance with comport .

In the latter half of the 14th century , Amir Taimur the Lame invaded Delhi . He pillaged the city to this heart’s content and took away enormous wealth from this ancient city. Than the last of the Sultan dynasty shifted the capital to Agra and Delhi faced a temporary set-back in important , until Babar , the first Moghal ruler, re-established Delhi as the seat of his empire. The city again revived in the importance and became a most important commercial and cultural centre besides being the seat of the Moghal empire.

Delhi later faced another set-back when Akbar and Jahangir moved their headquarters to Fatehpur Sikri and Agra. Akbar planned and built the fascinating capital at Fatehpur Sikri but eventually had to abandon it became of scarcity of water. It is of a significant importance to town planners because this citadel is a magnificent contribution of Moghal Architecture and still stands today as one of the principal landmarks of Moghal rule in India.

Delhi again got nit due importance when Shahjahan the fifth Moghal ruler, returned to this ancient city in 1648 A.D . and undertook the construction of an altogether new capital north of Firozabad . He built an entirely new city on the banks of the Yamuna and named it ‘Shahjahanabad’. He also built a massive fortification around it and the city was approached by seven gateways from north . west and south . The east side touched the waters of the Yamuna . He also built his royal palace called the Red Fort to the north-east , inside this walled city . In Chandni Chowk , the great bazaar of the orient , where motor cars and tangas ply today, used to flow the beautiful canal ending against the eastern entrance of Fatehpuri Mosque , true west of the main entrance to the palace. Shahjahan also built the great Jama Masjid. These building have given Delhi a majestic dignity which it has since retained.

This Moghal Emperor who gave the world the ‘Taj Mahal’ was a great architect and planner. His design of the city as he laid it then , had wide roads, gracious parks and houses of nobles with large courtyards. The city was planned to meet the community requirement of the times. Public residential streets were Kept narrow to protect the people on the streets from the scorching summer sun and biting wind of the winter . The layout of the city itself has much to commend it. Quist streets meander past the houses has much to commend it. Quiet streets meander past the houses which were closely built and not more than two storeys high . The city hummed with activity. Business flourished and travelers from far and wide came not only to see the Moghal splendor but also to partake in the rich cultural life of this city. It is said that the population of Shahjahanabad arose to a lakh and half during his reign.

Shahjahan’s successor . Aurangzab , further developed the city.Beacuse of increasing activities in commerce and trade , It was extended southwards to Firozabad and the population grew to over two lakhs . The lower started of the society come to inhabit the older cities near Qutab Minar , Siri . etc. These now stand in ruins reminding the present generation of their glorious past and the relentless march of history .

Shahjahanabad of the 17th century combined in itself the alien Moghal architecture with its one spirit of concentration . The whole city is reminiscent of the Moghal architectural conceptions and varied necessities of the 17th century life. Occasional invasions from outside made it essential for the inhabitants to live together with walls and gates to protect them. The city was inhabited mainly by rich landlords having large estates and therefore needing extra protection . People were not very different from one another. They had almost the same callings and necessities. Such a compactness of the social classes gave rise to the development and construction of compact structures for living.

Today the same area , Having grown in population over the past three centuries within the precincts of its fortification s. presents a very dismal picture of sub human existence in its narrow and rather dark lanes flanked by two and three storeyed building s, its exposed sullage and storm water drains running on both sides of dead and streets.

With the fall of the Moghal empire during the middle of the 18th century , Delhi faced another series of calamities . Chaotic condition and lawlessness prevailed all over the ancient city . First came the Maharatta raids and then the founds among the nobles themselves. This culminated in Nadir Shahs mass massacre in chandi Chowk , in which almost two thirds of the population was slaughtered . The city was left in desolation and lost much of its glory.

At this stage the Maharattas marched in and secured control over the city. Their power, however, did not last very long. The British defeated them in 1803 A.D. and the city future passed into the hands of the new and altogether foreign masters. At this time the city population was less than a lakh; except for parts of shahjahananbad, Delhi was nothing but a large grave.

It is interesting to prove the reason that led succeeding dynasties of rulers to make this historic city the seat of their power.

Ancient legend has it that He who rules Delhi rules India and it is in recognition of its strategic position that Delhi has been the ancient and historic capital of this sub-continent for centuries. Delhi occupied a very strategic position in the way of onward march of the wave upon wave of invaders from the North and North-west. Once the invading army crossed the Punjab, the fertile land of the five rivers, the ruling king last chance of keeping it from sweeping across the rich plains of the Gangetic valley was to fight outside Delhi, protected by the river Yamuna in the east and the Aravali Ranges in the west and south which protrude up to the northern end of the present city.
Besides its strategic importance from defence considerations, there are several other factors governing the location of this city. All over the world, history has given evidence that key settlements spring up at that point where a river leaves the hills and enters the plains and become navigable, or where two major thoroughfares or trade routes cross, or where there is change in the mode of transportation of goods and passengers.
Taking an example in India, the city of Hardwar grew on the banks of the holy Ganga as it emerged out of the mountains and entered the plains.
Delhi, located on the right bank of the yamuna, is not exactly on the above breakline, but a little lower down stream. It is, however at the convergence of several trade routes both national and international. Its primary importance as a market centre derived from the fact that roads converge here from north-west, east, south and west. It early became the major distribution centre for the entire north and north-west India. The river crossing was an additional important factor for the growth of a settlement.
The river Yamuna gave the city a perennial supply of water for drinking purpose and for the other needs of the community. The raised plateau on the right bank of the river Yamuna gave an ideal location for the capital, free from floods and at the same time, having due protection on the west from the possible invaders. The Himalayan ranges in the north and west and desert land of Rajasthan in the south and –west Delhi a temperate in the south and –west give Delhi a temperate climate.
Moreover, Delhi has a vast hinterland on the north-western portion, rich an agriculture , irrigated by the Yamuna and the Hindon. It is, therefore, natural it is slowly to emerge as a major marketing centre.
When railways were built , Delhi again became the hub of the network. Railway lines coverage here from the Punjab, Calcutta, Madras and Bombay. This added further importance to this city and also enlarged its trading hinterland.
Once the British got control, peace prevailed in Delhi save for the 1857 disturbances – famous as the first war of Indian Independence – and the communal riots on the eve of Independence 1947. In 1829 the British constituted the District of Delhi including two paraganas in the south and the north with shahjahanbad as the centre. At this time the settlement near Indraprastha was no more than a small suburb and the city near Qutab Minar had declined to nothing more than country town.
In the initial stage the new masters settled within the walled city in the Kashmere Gate area, but later on, as conditions improved, they crossed the fortifications to the north and established an entirely new settlement now known as the Civil Lines. This new settlement had informal planning with large and spacious residential plots. An extensive park area between the walled city of shahjahanbad and the new settlement of Civil Lines was created to act as a buffer between the rulers and the ruled. The present Nicholreson park, Qudsia Garden etc. from part of this buffer area. In the initial stages the new settlement was confined to the area east of the northern range of the Aravalis but as time passed and the British consolidated their power, the city continued to flourish, new abadies being developed towards the west of the ridge well. A small shopping center (Exchange stores and service station) was built for their daily needs in the Civil Lines area, whereas the major and fashionable shopping centre, having facilities like restaurants, theaters, cinemas, dance – halls etc., was built in the cashmere Gate, area. A church and a collage were also built in this area.
After the 1857 disturbances Delhi started growing faster. In the latter half of the 19th century, Delhi saw the coming of the railways and postal services. Metalled roads were built to link various parts of the city. Some industries came to be located. Commerce also developed, goods and commodities started coming in from distant places and Delhi, ones again, became one for the largest commercial and cultural centers of north and north-western India.
At the historic Delhi Darbar in 1911,the visiting king George v announced the shifting of the capital of British India from Calcutta to Delhi. Calcutta had been the capital in the very early stages because the headquarters of the British tradesmen – the East India Company –were located there. This was a very important announcement for Delhi and its impact can be seen through the years and is still being felt. Following this announcement, what is known as the old secretariat of the Imperial Government was built in Civil Lines on the right bank of the Yamuna. The victory palace or viceregal Lodge was built on the western colony was also developed for the vicergal staff. Barracks for the police guard were also developed in the area. Except for the temporary secretariat, all these were later transferred to the University of Delhi which was established in 1924. The vice-Chancellor occupies the same room that viceroy used to occupy. The present residential colony of Maurice Nagar was developed by the University on the same site where the original staff quarters, called Rajpur quarters, of the viceregal lodge existed, some of the barracks still existing around Miranda House, Arts Faculty and the New library buildings are reminiscent of the police and military guards residences. The coronation pillar to the far north of the new settlement is the historical landmark reminding the Delhi citizens and the country of December 12th ,1911 when king George v was crowned in Delhi as the Emperor of India.
Along with this proclamation, King George v also announced that an entirely new city would be built as the capital of British India. It may be of interest to note here that while the site selection committee recommended Saugor in the Central provinces as the site for the new capital location, the British Government still chose New Delhi against their recommendations to follow the ageold tradition that he who rules Delhi rules India.

The British Government appointed a committee of architects headed by Sir Edwin Lutyenes to plan the new capital. Messrs . Luteyens and Baker were the principal architects in a committee which planned the layout of the new Capital city and saw it executed according to their plans. The original site to the north of shahjahanbad was abounded as the land was divided by the ridge and parts of it were also subject to inundation during the monsoons.

The New city therefore was located at Raisins, south of Shahjahanabad and east of the ancient city of Indraprastha. Today New Delhi stands before the country as a unique example of the garden city planning movement in the world.Like the Civil Lines settlement to the north , New Delhi is also separated and Kept away from Shahjahanabad by a rather narrow but long park strip now called Ram Lila Ground, running along the southern fortifications of the Old City.
The New Delhi plan followed the garden city pattern , with wide avenues having double rows of these on either side , creating vistas, and connecting various points of interest. Almost every, and connecting various points of interest. Almost every major road has a specific focal point closing the vista so that no avenue is lost in the horizon. Beside the diagonal road pattern, the most prominent feature of the entire plan is the central Vista Park starting from Irwin Stadium (now called National stadium) in the east through the Memorial Arch, the imperial Secretariat (now named Central Secretariat) culminating in the west oat the Viceroy’s palace (now Rashtra- pati Bhawan ) against the slopes of thye Aravalis . This was the main east-west axis of the new city, and new has become the focal point where government employees by the tens of thousands come every day from far flung areas of the Metropolis . The two secretariat block and the president. House are some of the very finest contributions combining Roman classic architecture with Indian architectural details. The council Chamber ( which now houses the parliament of Free India) was built to the north-east of the North block of the Secretariat, while similar space was Kept to the south- east of the South block to house a proposed – but never built on the site- Federal Court (now called Supreme Court) this central park divided the new city in to two parts . Towards the northern end was located the fashionable shopping centre , called Connaught place ,designed around a circular park. To the west of this shopping centre were located the residences of the lower and middle income employees whereas to the east and the south , but still north of the central vists, larger houses were built to accommodate senior Indian officials. The southern portion of the city was reserved for vary senior official of the government ,who were almost all British . The area was laid out in hexagonal pattern and was rather of a plantation type than urban in pattern . plots were 4to 5 of the estate. Immediately to the south of this garden was located the Willingdon ( now called Safdarjang) Airport . It was not expected that new Delhi would grow beyond this point.

Adequate parks and playground s were provided in the plan for meeting the needs of the new town . Clerks quarters were laid out around large open squares, so as to provide plenty of play areas in the immediate vicinity of the houses where the children could play and be still under the eyes of their mother. Gole Market , a local shopping centre was provided to meet their daily needs. No shopping centre was provided in the south side of the vista since only very senior government officials lived there who could easily drive to the main commercial and retail business center, Connaught place , located in the north. just north of this commercial centre was built the new Delhi railway Station . Adequate land was provided for schools to meet the then projected foreign population of the new capital ; no school for servants were provided. Three large hospitals were built to provide medical facilities to the residents . Whereas the railway line and the river were the limits of the new town in the east; the northern range of the Aravalis provided a natural barrio in the west where horse riding , hunting and other sports were developed. A race course and golf course were developed in the southern portion to provided additional sport facilities for the senior Government officials. The total plan area covered about 3,200 acres and was planned for a projected population of about 65,000.

Pahar ganj, which was included by the Committee in the proposed plan areas , was later on excluded because of the alleged high Cost of acquisition and the difficulty of paying compensation to those who would have been displaced by this programme . It was than felt that the cost of buying paharganj , which then had nothing more than a few hundred houses, would be prohibitive and thus was left out. But with the growth of the new city, The pressure of development was bound to grow and in a few years time paharganj became one of the most thickly population areas. Its ideal location between the old and the new city was the key factor, because of this lack of foresight and planning the entire Paharganj is now a large slum. The cost of clearing it and rebuilding it today is many times more than it would have been there docades ago. This is a good illustration to show how piece-meal planning and lack of foresight can hamper the over-all development of a city.

Leaving Paharganj to its own fate was a big mistake , but Messrs. Lutyens and Baker, While preparing their layout plan for New Delhi, appear have to entirely ignored the old city of shahjahanbad and its extensions to the west. It is quite conceivable that the British Government had directed these architects not to prepare an integrated plan for the entire population of Delhi, but to plan the new capital city in such a manner that in stood as a separate entity quite independent capital with the minimum number of physical links with the old city. The areas of shahjahanbad were as densely populated then as in the beginning of 1947 when additional population was thrust upon it. No thought was given to the preparation of over-all plan for the entire metropolitan area nor was any scheme prepared for re-distribution of the population from the older areas to the new settlements. If the two cities had been planned to exist and function together, better physical links would have been provided to connect the two, but this obviously was not the architects, and resulted in the disastrous consequences that area all too obvious today.

With the decision to would a new capital city south of shahjahanbad, it was felt that the cantonment, then located to the north-west of the viceregal lodge in the Civil Lines should also be moved somewhere in the south and not too afr from thye new city. Thus about 10,000 acres were notified and acquired towards the southwest of the new capital. The site lies between Delhi Jaipur Railway Line and the western slopes of the ridge. It is directly linked with Delhi by the Delhi- Gurgaon Road. North of this site was developed a large farm covering about 1,000 acres for facilities in agricultural research Institute. It now also houses the National physical Laboratory.
New Delhi was planned and developed as a capital city by the then Government of India who retained ownership of all the land within its limits, whether it was built by Government or by the private sector. Given such ideal conditions and with a preconceived plan he future development of Delhi should have proceeded on an integrated pattern based on sound planning principles. But unfortunately it did not happen so. A close examination of the current situation shows that necessary regulatory powers were not fully enforced and there was no coordination of activities are plans prepared by the various government agencies involved in land improvement and building construction.
In 1939 Government set up Delhi Development Committee to study the existing situation and to make suitable recommendations so as to guide the future development of the capital. The committee recommended that No single authority had a complete picture in any general or overall plan for the capital, and therefore while there was no conscious intent to work at cross purpose, this appeared inevitable because of the working of so many agencies involved in planning and development. The Committee therefore recommended that an advisory body be formed at the technical level to coordinate the activities and programmes of the various government agencies involved.
The Advisory Committee had hardly been constituted when the second world war broke out and this had its own effect on the entire pattern of the city, and the Advisory Committee could not function. Industry grew wherever it could find place to locate itself. Delhi was no more only a capital or the major commercial centre for distribution shipment of goods to the north and the north-west. Industry had started taking its requisits place in the economy of the city. This sporadic industrial growth and increase in commercial activities attracted more and more people from the neighbouring areas. During the war years substantial migration took place from the adjoining villages and the towns to meet the increasing labour requirements. Population grew very rapidly and assumed enormous proportions. The large influx of people who migrated from the neighbouring areas increased the total population of Delhi from 348,000 in 1931 to 522,000 in 1941. The city assumed altogether new dimensions.
As a result of the war, government activities increased rapidly. New areas had to be developed to house this additional population. Lodi colony with two storyed apartments on grid iron pattern was developed during this period of emergency. The Lodi estate bungalows, west of the golf course and partly wedged on the east side of the Lodi Gardens, were built for senior officials. For military personnel additional accommodation was built in the new cantonment to the south-west of this new city.
Hundreds of single and two storeyed temporary hutments were built around the secretariat blocks to provide additional office accommodation to meet the war needs. In addition to these hutments barracks were built in the vacant plots around the Hexagon, which had originally been allocated to the princely states(Gwalior House, Jodhpur House, Bundi House, Bikaner House etc). Most of these barracks still stand today even though they have outlived their leaves.
When the war over in 1945, the question of Independence for India was energetically taken up. The British Government ultimately agreed to transfer power to India in August 1947. Along with this new era also came the partition of the sub-continent into two independent dominions of India and Pakistan . Communal riots out on the eve of independence and there was mass movement of population across the borders . Refugees from west Punjab ,Baluchistan ,Sind and North west Frontier Province started coming to Delhi and within a period of two months Delhi had to accept about five Lakhs of additional refugee population . These were the uprooted families who sought shelter in the lap of free India. There were, however , some Muslim families who had left Delhi and gone to Pakistan.

Delhi was not at all prepared for this Sudden and unprecedented influx. Government , however rose to the occasion and immediately set up numerous camps to houses these families, The Immediate problem was shelter , and for this purpose nothing could be faster than pitching of tents in all available open spaces . This had to be done in sufficiently large concentrations to give these families a sense of security , besides providing immediate shelter from the monsoons . The camp at Kingsway was the largest in Delhi , having some three lakhs of people . Other camps were established at Tibbia college in Karol Bagh and at Shahdara.

Along with this programme of providing immediate and temporary shelter , the Rehabilitation Ministry, which was constituted along with the formation of the new Government , also started preparing long term programmes for the permant rehabilitation of these families . consequently agricultural lands were acquired all around Delhi wherever immediately available. First preference was given to evacuees agricultural property . Construction of pucca houses was undertaken in south and west Delhi where land was cleared , developed, and roads were land out. As a result , a number of townships sprang up all around the city except in the north where land was subject to floods almost every year. Nizamuddin ,Lajpat Naghar , Kalkaji and Malviya Naghar were built in the south. The two Rajendra Nagars , the three Patel Naghar , Moti Naghar , Ramesh Naghar Tilak Naghar , were built in west Delhi . In the north , the Kingsway camp was developed as a permanent rehabilitation colony ,Gandhi Nagar was built in Shahdara .

As these various colonies were getting nearing completion , people from these camps were moved into these areas for permanent rehabilitation . Some of the land occupied by these colonies was already under the control of the Government , which helped to a great extent in speeding up the construction work. In each of these colonies provision was made for some shops, schools , clinics , post offices etc. Though on very marginal standards. These were emergency projects and no time was available for formulating or following planning standards. It was a national emergency and had to be met with immediate action . This situation was, however, must unfortunate , since it resulted in a legacy of large areas having developed at below standard levels.

With the formation of the national government now responsibilities were added and expansion of governmental activity become essential . The existing two secretariat blocks were no longer sufficient to accommodate the new offices . The temporary barracks and hutments built during the war around the secretariat blocks and around the Hexagon came handy and new offices were located in them on a temporary basis until permanent accommodation could be found or built.

Along with this addition in government activity , there was need for providing residential accommodation for these new employees. The Ministry of Works , Housing and Supply , therefore , undertook the construetion of Vinay Nagar Shan nagar , Man nagar , Kaka Nagar , and Moti Nagar in the south- west. They also development Sunder Nagar , Golf Links , Jorbagh and Krishan Nagar and sold the developed plots for private construction . The Ministry of railways undertook construction of houses for their own employees. . Private colonizers came in the market and started buying land and developed it for sale to the general public . All these activities helped a great deal to overcome the acute shortage in houses . New commercial areas were also developed and new industries started taking shape in the west and in the south.

Thus Delhi started expanding in all directions . unfortunately , there was no over-all plan to follow and the advisory committee , mentioned earlier , was just getting started . These various new colonies scattered in all directions had most inadequate road connections , little transportation facilities and a very marginal system of public utilities . These new disjointed towns provided only physical shelter to the mass population but did not solve the real rehabilitation problem on a community basis . This, however , could not be expected since the problem was tackled on piece-meal basis . They increased the overhead and social costs of the community which manifested itself in increasing number of accidents, unending delay and grater insecurity number of accidents , unending delay and grater insecurity ,

The Delhi of to-day ,having a population of about 22 lakhs, has arrived at one of its most important stages of development Through the centuries of its chequered history. The physical characteristics are no less representative of the vicissitudes the city of Delhi has gone through . Almost with every change of dynasty, a new Delhi was born and laid claims to independence from the earlier ones . This led to the present sporadic growth spread over vast areas in all direction.

Delhi has therefore seen the rise and fall of many impires and has absorbed the cultyre and tradition of many generations and of different people. The physical pattern within Shahjahanabad was geared to the 17th century environment when the tempo of life was slow, and the inter-relationship between home, work and play was more intimate and the family relationship was more close. But , with the growth of population and increase in trade and commerce, government and industrial activity, acute congestion , undesirable mixture of land uses, and insanitary conditions, the pleasant city has been reduced to an anachronism in the 20th century. Adjacent to it, but standing apart from it, is Lutyen New Delhi with its extravagant and in some cases improper use of valuable land. There are rehabilitation colonies requiring utilities and services and community facilities . There are also the new Government built colonies attempting to give shelter to its employees. These also are lacking in community facilities. Hence in Delhi the old and the new meet both being inadequate of the demand of the times and the future. The job of the planner is to harmonize the two both at the physical and the social level. Failure to do both this will result in increasing conflicts and tensions. It is with this thought in mind that this plan has seen conceived. It has high objective but is bazed on a realistic approach towards current and future problems. It attempts both to solve the consequence of past growth and to anticipate growth and change in the future.


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