Class 8 Social (History) - Our Pasts
Colonialism and The City - The Story
of An Imperial Capital
NCERT Answers for Chapter 14, Chapter Exercise (Important questions only)
Question.3: Identify three differences in the city design of New Delhi and Shahjahanabad.
Answer: Some major differences in the city design of New Delhi and Shahjahanabad are as follows:
1. New Delhi has no walls around the city while Shahjahanabad was a walled city.
2. New Delhi was planned and spacious whereas Shahjahanabad was unplanned and much congested city.
3. New Delhi has broad and wide streets, sprawling bungalows whereas Shahjahanabad had crowded mohallas, winding lanes and Havellis.
Question.4: Who lived in the “white” areas in cities such as Madras?
Answer: In Madras, Bombay or Calcutta, the living spaces of Indian and the British were sharply separated. Indians lived in the “Black” areas while the British lived in the well laid out “White” areas.
Question.5: What is meant by de-urbanization?
Answer: For the convenience of trade the British developed new centers of trade like Calcutta, Madras and Bombay on Eastern and Western coastal areas respectively. In late 18th century these places became as Presidency cities under the British rule. Cities which used to be very important since the ancient and Mughal period gradually lost their importance. Simultaneously many towns manufacturing specialized goods started to decline due to a drop in the demand for what they produced. Old trading centers and ports could not survive when the flow of trade moved to the new centers. Trades and exports via the earlier important ports like Surat, Masulipatnam etc failed dramatically. At the same time, the earlier centers of regional power collapsed when local rulers were defeated by the British and new centers of administration emerged. Hence, more and more people began to shift from the places which used to be important cities in the past. This process is described as de-urbanization.
Some of the cities which were de-urbanized during the 19th century are Surat, Masulipatnam and Seringapatnam.
Question.6: Why did the British choose to hold a grand Durbar in Delhi although it was not the capital?
Answer: There was a symbolic importance. Once the revolt broke out in 1857, many spectacular events took place in Delhi. In 1877, the then viceroy of India Lytton organized a Durbar to acknowledge Queen Victoria as the Empress of India in Delhi although Delhi was not the capital. The British had realized that the Mughal was still important to the people and they saw him as their leader. It was therefore very important to celebrate British power with pomp and show in the city where the Mughal Emperors had ruled and the place which had turned into a rebel stronghold in 1857.
By holding Delhi Durbar the British wanted to show their superiority and ultimate power or supremacy to every Indian. By holding this Durbar they also tried to send a signal to all Indians that the Mughal emperor was no more their ruler, the British Queen was the Queen of India too. In 1911, when King George was crowned in England a Durbar was held in Delhi to celebrate the occasion. The Delhi Durbar was a show-off of the British.
Question.7: How did the old city of Delhi change under British rule?
Answer: The 1857 revolt, in which Delhi remained under rebel control for four months, compelled the British to review and renew their policies towards India. After the British regained the city, they embarked on a campaign of revenge and plunder. The British took a policy to wipe out the memories of Mughal past from Delhi and endorse themselves in the minds of the people of Delhi and the whole country. The area around red fort was completely cleared of gardens, pavilions and mosques. Particularly the mosques were either destroyed or put to other uses. For example, the Zinat-al-Masjid was converted into a bakery, worshipping in Jama Masjid was forbidden for 5 years. One third of the city was demolished. The systems of wells or Baolis were broken and the canals were filled up. In the 1870s, the Western walls of Shahjahanabad were broken to establish the railway and to allow the city to expand beyond the walls.
At this time they constructed a new city known as New Delhi as a 10 square mile city on Raisina Hill, South of the old city. New Delhi was designed much better in all respect than the old city of Delhi.
The people in the old walled city were neglected as they were Indians. The British Government did little for the development and improvement of the old city of Delhi, and its people.
Question.8: How did the partition affect life in Delhi?
Answer: The partition of India in 1947 led to a massive transfer of people on both sides of the new border. As a result the population of Delhi swelled. Immediately after the partition severe communal riots broke out in many places. Thousands of people in Delhi were killed; their houses were looted and burnt. Over two-thirds of the Delhi Muslims migrated and almost 44000 homes were abandoned. Their places were taken by equally large number of Sikh and Hindu refugees who came from Pakistan. Nearly 500,000 people were added to Delhi population. Delhi became a city of refugees. They stayed in camps, schools, military barracks and gardens, hoping to build new homes. Those who were fortunate got the opportunity to occupy the residences that were vacated. The Government also tried to rehabilitate these refugees in and around Delhi.
The skills and occupations of the refugees were quite different from those of the people whom they replaced. Many of the Muslims who went to Pakistan were artisans, traders and labourers while the new migrants who came to Delhi were lawyers, teachers, shopkeepers, rural landlords. Partition changed their occupations and life-style as they had to take up new jobs and business here. The large migration of people from Pakistan and other parts to Delhi resulted into a total change of culture, tastes and sensibilities in food, dress and style of living.