Satire in the Age of Letters and Technology- more than just a pinch of it.
On the 12th of December 2011, Delhi achieved a centenary of its existence as the capital of India.
Delhi has been a city which has forever charmed people from all generations and places. On December 12, 1911, George V, the then Emperor of British occupied India, announced that the capital would be moved from Calcutta to Delhi. The chief architect employed to plan the city was Edwin Lutyens. Lutyens’ Delhi is a mere part of the city we know now, which was designed by him. It is Lutyens’ Delhi which has turned 100.The capital can boast of thousands of attractions most of which can be traced back to the later Mughal years, when Bahadur Shah Zafar was offered a rather lucrative job in the Deccan which tempted him but finally declined with the famous wry comment ‘kaun jaaye par ab Zauq, Dilli ki galiyan chhorh kar’ (Who, after all, O Zauq, can leave the alleys of Delhi). This was the kind of feeling that Delhi provoked in the hearts of rulers. It is thus seen that whoever came to this place once never wanted to go back. In the 1940’s, during the struggle for Indian independence, the famous quote by Subhas Chandra Bose, ‘Dilli Chalo’ (On to Delhi!) – is an example of Delhi as a symbol of supremacy.
Post independence, when refugees migrated to Delhi, the focus shifted from its position as an abode of power to a land which welcomed people from all backgrounds, religions and regions. All the people who came to the city brought along with them their cultures and thus, Delhi acquired new tastes. Even now, the masses in the city are those which have migrated from various parts of India with a very few claiming to be ‘Dilliwalahs’.
Looking at the capital as we know it today- from the magnificent structures to the tumbling slums, from the winsome guy in his brand new Porsche to the cranky autorickshaw driver, from the fancy malls to the flea markets, from the five-star restaurant offering a variety of cuisines to Pappu ki famous Bombay Bhel Puri, from the iPhone lover to a person for whom having a mobile phone is all what matters, from the night clubs to intimate luncheons with one’s acquaintances, from the loud jam sessions to the soothing classical music concerts, from the uncanny nightmares to those gratifying dreams, from the eve- teasing to the daylight burglaries, from materialism to the simple joys of life; whether you agree or you don’t, life is all about pomp and show in the city for some and of struggle for the others. But it is these colours of this place which offer a reason for many to live and make Delhi interesting. They make Delhi what it is!
Delhi possesses a generosity which is overwhelming, the people exude a warmth that is nonpareil, the love that they are capable of giving is unimaginable. From the crowded bylanes to the swanky streets- Delhi has a heart that is huge, so huge that it can easily accommodate the world within itself, just like a mother whose selflessness and affection knows no bounds. We salute the spirit of the city- a hundred years down and some thousands more to go.
”Yeh Delhi hai mere yaar, bas ishq mohabbat pyaar”