Although Delhi was still the capital of India in 1947, it was a very different city. The city of Shahjahanabad, also known as Dilli, was enclosed within a high wall. To the north was Civil Lines and Mall Road, which were built by British prior to 1857. To the south (detached from Shahjahanabad) was New Delhi; to the west was Paharganj, Karol Bagh and Sadar Bazar; and to the east was the Jamuna River, across from which was the old settlement of Shahdara. The rest was forests, agricultural land and the ruins of older cities such as Tughlaqabad, Purana Qila and Siri.
At the time of Partition, Delhi had seen riots on an unexpected level and, according to some reliable accounts, around 20,000–25,000 people were killed. More than 300,000 Muslims had left Delhi for Pakistan, and the population of the city had declined by almost 350,000 by the time the riots ended. The total population of the city then began to grow rapidly. In fact, it grew so rapidly that by 1951, within four years of Partition, it had risen to 1,744,072—a little more than a million in four years, or a quarter of a million every year.
In this walk, we will talk about the idea of Delhi as we know it today and connect this with past events. We will also remember the foundation of the Indian freedom movement that started in Delhi in 1857, and the INA trials that took place in the Red Fort.
This guided tour is free.