Ummid Assistant

Exam time: Dial a helpline to overcome stress

IGNOU launches value education programme for teachers

Welcome Guest! You are here: Home » Special Reports

250 rare documents chronicle making of Delhi

Wednesday February 15, 2012 05:54:01 PM, Madhusree Chatterjee, IANS

An artist's view of early 19th century Delhi

New Delhi: In 1911, when King George V announced that the national capital would move to Delhi from Kolkata, this city shed its tag of a historical city to become a metropolitan behemoth.

The making of the new Delhi required mammoth build-up -- of plans, buildings, infrastructure and a new city. Major portions of it were documented by various agencies, artists and photographers who moved around the city with their box cameras and sketch books.

Several of the photographs and the pioneering blueprints of the capital were stowed away in the Central Public Works Department archives. The National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) and the Alkazi Foundation have brought out hundreds of buried documents for exhibition.

A month-long showcase, "Dawn Upon Delhi: Rise of a Capital", which opened at the NGMA late Monday evening, has now recreated the making of the city of Delhi from the Mutiny of 1857 to the present day with more than 250 rare documents.

These are engravings, maps, plans and vintage and modern photographs of the capital as well as the British strongholds of Bombay and Calcutta (now Mumbai and Kolkata respectively).

"The archive is a hidden treasure of maps and photographs by state photographs, which is untapped. We have enlarged and digitised the documents we have dug up for the exhibition. Most of them are in a deplorable condition...They need to be saved now or they will be lost forever," curator of the showcase Rahaab Allana of the Alkazi Foundation told IANS.

Some of the visuals have also been acquired from the Alkazi Collection, the Archaeological Survey of India, and the personal archives of photographers D.N. Chaudhuri and Habib Rahman.

"The Delhi Coronation Durbars of 1877, 1903 and 1911 were at once self-appraising representations of imperial power. In contrast to the close knit architecture of Old Delhi, the durbar city easily lent itself to the panoramic photography," Allana said.

Glimpses of the Durbar and the people who attended it have been represented in the exhibition through iconic 19th and 20th century photographers like Vernon & Co, Johnston and Hoffman, Bourne & Shepherd, Raja Deen Dayal & Sons and artists like Mortimer Menpes.

Two of the other sources were the Illustrated London News and the Illustrated Times published from London.

"We have tried to show the historicity of the capital to put its evolution in context. There is a representation of Tughlaqabad, Siri, the Qutab complex - and references to the seven ancient cities which made Delhi. In a sense, we wanted to show the transition from Kolkata to New Delhi," Allana said.

The visuals are mounted in a loose chronological order, beginning with engraved 1858 images of the siege of the capital from the "History of Indian Mutiny" by Charles Ball, which were published by The London Printing & Publishing Company.

Rare black and white photographs of the last Mughals, their clans and homes, an old Delhi nautch girl, trading communities of old Delhi, the early days of Connaught Circus, the erstwhile maharajas of India, a photographic portrait of Lord Curzon and the construction of the secretariat, north block and Lutyen's Delhi offer fascinating peeks into another era - transporting viewers to the past.

A priceless hand-drawn and signed map of the imperial bungalows of old Delhi by British architect Edwin Lutyens, the master-planner of the capital city between 1912 to 1930, shines in the crowd of nostalgia.

In contrast, photographs by Habib Rahman and D.N. Chaudhuri present the contemporary past of the capital.

"I started my work on New Delhi 60 years ago in 1952. I bought a box camera with seven pounds that I received from the Illustrated London News for publishing a photograph of my father - Niradh C. Chaudhuri - and went around the city photographing the landscape. Later, I was joined by my wife Malavila Chaudhuri. Now I carry digital camera... Even today I photographed two nilgais foraging for food in the garbage piles near the Tughlaqabad relics," photographer D.N. Chaudhuri, son of Nirad C. Chaudhuri, told IANS.

Chaudhuri is author of a 2005 pictorial volume, "Delhi: Light, Shades & Shadows".

(Madhusree Chatterjee can be contacted at






Bookmark and Share

Home | Top of the Page


Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of

Comments powered by DISQUS



More Headlines

Maharashtra readies for civic corporation polls

Living ever after, virtually

Amethi follows tradition: Washerman casts first vote

Record 250 mn tonnes food grain production in 2012-13: PM

Polling steady, peaceful in round three of UP polls

Chhattisgarh asks schools to reserve seats for SC/ST, backwards

PIA flight full, so two get seats in loo instead

Apple tests smaller tablet with eight-inch screen

Century on, end of a bullock cart saga in Mumbai

Nerve cell memory holds key erasing pain

Panel of astronomers, Islamic scholars to assess uniform lunar calendar

The Car Bomb that Exposed India's Sham Sovereignty

YouTube channel launched for Dubai ruler





Top Stories

Polling steady, peaceful in round three of UP polls

The third round of the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections Wednesday saw long queues at polling booths from early morning, with 34.7 percent of 1.77 crore voters exercising their franchise till   »

31 percent of UP third-phase candidates have criminal cases

Second phase UP polls: 36 percent higher voting than 2007


  Most Read

The Car Bomb that Exposed India's Sham Sovereignty

The important thing about the attack on Israeli diplomat’s car [Number: 109 CD 35; blue number plate with CD meaning Diplomat  »

Premature to blame any country: India

Apex court shield against arrest for Mumbai blasts' suspect

The Supreme Court Tuesday restrained the Mumbai Police Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) from arresting Taquee Ahmed, a south Delhi resident and brother of arrested 13/7 Mumbai triple blasts  »

Union Home Ministry officials baffled by Mumbai ATS claim


  News Pick

Panel of astronomers, Islamic scholars formed to assess uniform lunar calendar

A conference of experts in Makkah has called for the formation of a committee of astronomers  »

Possibility of uniform lunar calendar - Scholars discuss in Makkah

Foul content on websites hurts religious Indians, court told

Showing of objectionable content by social networking sites and websites like Facebook and Google affects religious sentiments of crores of Indians, Delhi Police Tuesday told the Delhi High Court. Justice Suresh Kait  »

International Interfaith Harmony award for Yusuf Ali

NRI business magnate M.A. Yusuf Ali has been selected for the prestigious Interfaith Harmony Award specially endowed with United Nations' Interfaith Harmony Week initiatives and observations. Ali is one of Kerala's most  »


Picture of the Day

New Delhi,27 Jan 2012-IGNOU Vice-Chancellor M Aslam receiving the "Best teaching practices Award" from noted film director Prakash Jha at the India Today Aspire education summit 2012,in New Delhi on Friday. Also in picture India Today Group's Rekha Puri.

(Photo: IANS/Amlan Paliwal)



RSS  |  Contact us


| Quick links



Subscribe to

Ummid Assistant



Science & Technology



About us




Government Schemes










Contact us




    Disclaimer | Terms of Use | Advertise with us | Link Exchange is part of the Awaz Multimedia & Publications providing World News, News Analysis and Feature Articles on Education, Health. Politics, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Industry etc. The articles or the views displayed on this website are for public information and in no way describe the editorial views. The users are entitled to use this site subject to the terms and conditions mentioned.

© 2010 Awaz Multimedia & Publications. All rights reserved.