Holding fort(h) | Historical past


The walled metropolis of Shahjahanabad (or Outdated Delhi) has the completely satisfied distinction of being one of many few city areas in India that has a comparatively great amount of literature, each educational and fashionable, written about its historical past, structure and urbanism. Safvi’s e book provides one other layer to this literature, by delving deep into historic anecdotes and occasions related with particular buildings and areas of the previous metropolis, in a method that’s simply accessible to a preferred viewers.

The e book combines up to date explorations of town and its palace (the Crimson Fort), with historic accounts from varied texts such because the Shahjahan Nama of Inayat Khan, written within the 17th century, and Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s Asar-us Sanadid, initially revealed in 1867. These texts paint an image of town and the palace at completely different occasions of their historical past.

The primary chapter, which accounts for 1 / 4 of the e book’s size, covers the Crimson Fort and the preliminary planning and development of the palace and town on the behest of Shah Jahan within the 17th century. Subsequent chapters describe completely different neighbourhoods and buildings inside the walled metropolis, in addition to some areas exterior town that had been inhabited between the 17th and 19th centuries, corresponding to Jaisinghpura, Rakab Ganj, and the areas instantly to the north of Shahjahanabad.

SHAHJAHANABAD The Residing Metropolis of Outdated Delhi by Rana Safvi

Traditionally, the e book roughly covers the time interval between the start of development of the fort in 1639, until the sacking of the palace and metropolis by the British in 1857 after the sepoy revolt. The current situation of the buildings is contrasted with descriptions from this era.

The e book conveys the melancholic trajectory of Shahjahanabad’s historical past, from the glory of its first few many years below Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb, to its subsequent decline and a number of sackings. All through, Safvi situates anecdotes and tales of historic occasions and personalities inside the areas she is describing.


For somebody trying to acquaint themselves with Shahjahanabad, the descriptions on this e book are most likely too fragmented to present a transparent image of town, since Safvi doesn’t sufficiently present a wider city context to the buildings and neighbourhoods she is describing. Nonetheless, for somebody already conversant in Shahjahanabad, the tales and particulars can enrich their understanding and appreciation of the previous metropolis.

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