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Delhi – Threshold between India and the world

वर्तमान भारत का इतिहास भी यथार्थ में विविध संस्कृतियों के संघर्षों एवं संग्रहों का इतिहास है.

-लक्ष्मणशास्त्री जोशी

“The history of present day India is also a history of the struggles and compilations of varied cultures.”

Lakshman Shastri Joshi


Learning Monday guest speaker, Jhankar Gadkari, is a history and culture lover. Founder and Managing Consultant of AEIOU Consulting, his firm specializes in transforming human capital through the framework of Emotional Intelligence. Associate of The Institute of Company Secretaries of India. he holds a degree in Law and has ranked the top in his university. He is a powerful and prolific speaker on productivity enhancement, leadership, soft skills and cross cultural competencies, international relations, conflict resolutions, and several other topics. TEDx speaker and trainer in various forums and organizations, one of his favorite topics is history. Jhankar proudly calls himself a ‘history buff’ and he seeks to identify turning points that made a huge change by impacting humanity throughout the world. 

History and its Importance

तारीख़े और सन् संवत् की सूची बनाने से इतिहास पूर्ण नहीं होता. उसका गौरव कृति में है. देशकाल और पात्रों के समन्वय में कृति करना ही इतिहास है.

-रत्नाकर शास्त्री

“History is not only about making a list of dates and years. Its pride lies in creation. History is about making a coordination between the characters and the country period.”

Ratnakar Shastri
Source: hubspot.com

History is often perceived as synonymous with dates. It is certainly about changes that occur over time. It is about finding how things were and how things have changed. It helps us understand how the present evolved. We often forget that life was not always as we see it  now. For instance, can you imagine a life without fire or without agriculture. Can you imagine how people used to travel before the roads were made and when railways didn’t exist. It is the subject of history that takes us into the past. To be more apt, History is just not a subject, it is a journey. It is a journey across time and space. It takes us to another world and age, in the era where people lived differently. History opens the doors to different beliefs and faith, arts and crafts, clothes and food. History helps us understand how the evolution of the modern world has emerged over long centuries of development.

History as it may sound could be a drudgery of an avoidable study of dates and names .But it is an established fact that these events leave us with some unequivocal learning . Seeking and researching these historic events and  facts and presenting them in the most dispassionate  manners is the need of the hour. Most importantly identifying the turning points in history and analysing  the influence and impact it generated in the geo-political shifts , the behavioural patterns , the lifestyle changes and many more leaves us with the required learning .This not only creates an acute sense of belonging but allows one to consider taking right decisions in life for self and as a leader for larger arenas.The lucid portrayal of these events truthfully, in an interesting ‘story’ is the only effective way to reach the masses.

Jhankar Gadkari

Meri Dilli

“I asked my soul: What is Delhi? She replied: The world is the body and Delhi is its life.” 

-Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib

“Meri Dilli” is a part of the series of talks on 12 cities of India being put together by Jhankar Gadkari, targeted to young Indians who may not be aware of their past. It is designed to create a generation of proud and empowered youth. The talk revolved around Delhi, and the small incidents that made a difference to Delhi and Delhites, and to the entire world. 

Delhi, the Indian capital, is a city with which everyone can associate with. There is a sense of pride and belonging that comes with this city. It is not only the seat of power but also has a rich culture and heritage. What is often misunderstood is that the city belonged to the Mughals. While Mughals were an integral part of it, the history of Delhi dates centuries back. “Indraprastha”, The city of Indra, was the name of the city, in the era of Mahabharat. Quoting Pandavas, during the time of their exile “O Duryodhan, give into thy five villages- O Sanjaya, thou of great wisdom, let there be peace between us and our cousins”. The five villages were Indra prastha (Delhi), Pani prastha (Panipat), Sona prastha (Sonipat), Tila Prastha ( Tilapat) nd Vyag prastha (Baghpat) respectively.

Source: hindipanda.com

Situated between the Doab region between Yamuna and Ganga River, Delhi has passed into the hands of different rulers time and again. It has adapted to new names in its long history. That Delhi was ruled by the Mughals is a misconception. Modern day Delhi has metamorphosed, named differently by different dynasties as:

  • Qila Rai Pithora – Prithvi Raj Chauhan
  • Mehrauli – Qutub ud din Aibak
  • Siri – Allahuddin Khilji
  • Jahanpanahbad – Muhammad bin Tuglaq
  • Firozabad – Firoz Shah Tuglaq
  • Shergarh – Sher Shah Suri
  • Shahjahanabad – Shah Jahan

The city of Shahjahanabad had ten  gates which connected the city with the surrounding region. Lahore gate was the main entrance for the Red Fort besides Delhi Gate. The Kashmere Gate, Calcutta Gate, Mori Gate, Kabul Gate, Faresh Khana Gate, Ajmeri Gate and the Turkman Gate were the other major links of the city with the highways. Interestingly the gates were kept on the names of the city they actually faced. Such was the creativity. e.g., going from the Kashmere Gate as the crow flies, would take a person to Kashmir. Similarly Calcutta gate to the East.

Delhi faced the wrath of the mutiny of 1857, by the hands of Indian and the British. The lesser known monuments such as Flagstaff tower are a standing witness of the violence and blood bath. The present day peaceful Kashmere Gate was once the venue of a bloody massacre, victims of which were innocent Indians at the hands of british. It was also the city where the magnificent “Delhi Durbar” was organized for the Emperor and Empress of India when the country came under Queen’s rule. The city also was a witness to the freedom struggle and also Nehru’s famous speech “Tryst with Destiny”.  “New Delhi”, as we now know it, was a name that was kept after Indian Independence.

To Conclude.

“यह शहर नहीं, महफिल है!”

This is not a city, this is a festive gathering.

-Delhi 6

The city Delhi, whose literal meaning is Dahleez, ie; threshold, stands true to its name. It is indeed a threshold between India and the rest of the  world. It is an amazing blend of the varied culture and beliefs of the Indian Value System. Delhi has something for everyone. Delhi is our pride. Delhi is a reflection of our Identity. Delhi is a celebration.

Here is the link to Jhankar Gadkari’s “Meri Dilli’

If you enjoyed this talk, you may also enjoy “Olde Bombay”

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