Of love and longing in the city
Khushwant Singh | with malice towards one and all...
Everyone loves the city they are born and brought up in. But not
everyone bothers to know about its past. Some cities have long histories
which makes the knowing an arduous task. Others have shorter histories;
so its citizens extol its quality of life.
Three of our metropolitan cities — Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai — were
creations of the British; they have no ancient monuments worth
mentioning. Delhi, on the other hand, has a hoary past that dates back
to the 6th Century BC It is creamed with ancient monuments built by its
Hindu-Rajput rulers, Muslim Sultans and the Mughals. The British came last.
Being among the oldest surviving Dilliwaalas, I smugly assumed in
knowing, as much as anyone else, about my city. I am disillusioned with
myself. First came the series of lectures at the India International
Centre organised, by my nephew Preminder Singh in memory of his
grandfather Sir Sobha Singh, the principal builder-contractor of New
Delhi. Among the speakers was Upinder Kaur (daughter of the Prime
Minister) and a professor of History at the JNU who spoke on pre-Mughal