In this insightful book, Jagmohan recounts the moments of triumphs and tragedies which he came across during his long and eventful date with Delhi's development, from Jawaharlal Nehru's time till date. His narration and analysis of these moments, in the context of larger forces that have remained embedded in the post-1947 India, bring under sharp focus a number of fundamental questions that need in-depth consideration of national leadership of all hue and colour:
• Why did Nehru, despite his grand vision of a beautiful and balanced growth of Delhi, extend only a weak implementational hand, when it came to actualizing that vision on the ground?
• How was it that, while most of her senior party leaders of Delhi lambasted the author and his colleagues for launching a drive to implement some of the clearance-redevelopment projects, Ms. Indira Gandhi experienced a sense of 'thrill and pride', when the results of that drive surfaced on the ground and enhanced the image of the Republic and its Capital, especially in early 1980s, the years of hosting ASIAD, NAM, CHOGAM?
• Why were the few remnants of Gandhian Truth, which were seen in Prime Minister Morarji Desai's stand regarding Master Plan schemes, butchered by his Home Ministry bureaucratic caucus and the Shah Commission?
• How was it that when, in accordance with pre-Emergency decision of the Central Government and unanimous resolution of the Delhi Municipal Corporation, the government owned slums of Turkman Gate were cleared, it was given a communal colour and subjected to the most diabolical campaign of calumny known to contemporary Indian history?
• What led Prime-Minister A.B. Vajpayee, a nobility-oriented statesman, to act against his own beliefs and change author's portfolio of Urban Development?
• Why did Mrs. Sonia Gandhi-Shiela Dikshit regime think that its principal plank for winning Delhi State Assembly Elections and Lok Sabha Elections should be a large reward to those who had ravaged, with impunity, the landscape of Delhi in form of thousands of unauthorized colonies? And why could not rival political parties think of any plan other than competitive negativity?
• How is it that "We — the People" hardly ask ourselves: In what type of Delhi do we want to live, and what type of legacy do we wish to bequeath to posterity and to our children and grand children? Do we want our city to become junk-yard of unauthorized constructions, mirroring civic and moral chaos?
• Was inaction on the part of the Election Commission to check the existence of an unhealthy clientistic relationship between the land-grabber/ illegal builder/voters and those seeking their votes justifiable? The author has many other posers which extend to the infected ethos of Indian State, Society and Civilization. Nor does the author limit himself to questions and posers. He points to the way out, outlining a broad strategy of action.
Shri Jagmohan is certainly one of the topmost Civil Servants cum Statesmen that the country has produced in the post-independence period. He is the only person who has held the office of Lt. Governor of Delhi twice, of Governor of Jammu and Kashmir twice and was nationally honoured twice by the award of Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan. He has also been a distinguished Member of Parliament for fourteen years and Union Cabinet Minister for five and a half years, holding charge of such significant portfolios as Communication, Urban Development, Poverty Alleviation, Culture and Tourism. Throughout his long career, he has been a model of clean public life and efficient and effective governance.
A profound scholar and thinker, Shri Jagmohan has published 700 articles in leading newspapers and journals and eight books; Rebuilding Shahjahanabad: The Walled City of Delhi; Island of Truth; The Challenge of Our Cities; My Frozen Turbulence in Kashmir; Soul and Structure of Governance in India; Shaping India's New Destiny; Crisis of Environment and Climate Change; and Reforming Vaishno Devi and a Case for Reformed, Reawakened and. Enlightened Hinduism. My Frozen Turbulence in Kashmir has remained on the bestselling list for a long time. It has already seen eleven editions in English. It has also been translated into many regional languages of India. Shri Jagmohan was conferred the degree of Doctorate of Philosophy by Guru Nanak University, Amritsar, as well as by Kurukshetra University. A household name in India, he formulated and carried out the historic reforms of the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine.
It is the deeper layers of the Indian Reality that I have endeavoured to explore, analyse and comment upon in the books that I have so far published: Rebuilding Shahjahanabad: The Walled City of Delhi; Island of Truth; The Challenge of our Cities; My Frozen Turbulence in Kashmir; Soul and Structure of Governance in India; Shaping India's New Destiny; Crisis of Environment and Climate Change; and Reforming Vaishno Devi and a Case for Reformed Reawakened and Enlightened Hinduism.
In these eight publications, while the outward forms have been extensively sketched, greater significance has been accorded to the undercurrents that determine the course, colour and content of the events that occur on the surface. For example, My Frozen Turbulence in Kashmir, which has seen eleven updated editions, underscores the point that what has been happening on the ground is really an outcome of the forces that lie embedded in the soft and permissive nature of the Indian State, and in the general disposition of the nation to remain oblivious of even burning realities, such as terrorism and subversion, till they knock at its door. Likewise, Soul and Structure of Governance in India shows how in the absence of a healthy civilizational base and inspired ideology of work, the entire organizational framework created by the Constitution has been rendered frigid and fragile.
In this ninth book, which I have titled, Triumphs and Tragedies of Ninth Delhi, I would take the readers with me on my long journey to both the outer and inner reality that pervades the Capital of the Republic. I would show to them quite a few scintillating products of a new urge to make Delhi an inspiring symbol of a new civilization, a civilization that synthesizes the regenerated purity of the 'long suppressed soul of India' and the ever increasing scientific, technological and organizational power of the modern times. I would also point out to them the dangers of being sucked into the 'death-traps' which are being simultaneously dug out by the regressive forces. At the end of the journey, beginning from Jawaharlal Nehru's time till date, most readers, I am sure, would be impelled to ask themselves a number of crucial questions about the fate and future of Delhi, such as those that follow.
• Why did Jawaharlal Nehru, despite his elevating and enlightened vision of the orderly and balanced growth of Delhi, extend only a weak implementational hand when it came to actualize that vision on the ground? As an eminent statesman, at the helm of affairs, should he have not fully realized that the constructive work by him and his followers was needed to inject new meaning into the veins of history and civilization of Delhi?
• Why was no leaf taken from Sardar Patel book of dealing with Ahmedabad's civic affairs, which showed that what mattered most, in the municipal arena, was the inner impulse to develop a street level touch with the reality, do selfless service to the needy and keep the greedy and indisciplined elements at bay?
• How was it that, while most of her senior party leaders of Delhi lambasted me and my colleagues for launching a drive to implement some of the clearance-redevelopment projects, Ms. Indira Gandhi experienced a sense of 'thrill and pride', when the results of that drive surfaced on the ground and enhanced the image of the Republic and its Capital, especially in early 1980s, the years of hosting ASIAD, NAM, CHOGAM?
• Was there not a preponderous of evidence to show that whenever any firm and sustained action was taken to translate the accepted national/civic policies and programmes on the ground, the chronic infections in the diseased spots of Indian democracy flared up, rendering an already weak system still more weak and ineffective?
• Why were the few remnants of the Gandhian Truth that could be seen in Prime Minister Morarji Desai's stand, with regard to the Delhi's clearance works, butchered by his Home Ministry bureaucratic caucus and the Shah Commission who went to an unimaginable extent to suppress the contemporaneous records which showed that, in so far as the clearance-cum-resettlement cum redevelopment schemes were concerned, nothing was done in terms of procedure and provisions, during the emergency, what had not been done in the pre-emergency period?
• How did Turkman Gate Slum Clearance Scheme, sanctioned decades earlier by the Delhi Improvement Trust and Delhi Municipal Corporation, suddenly become communal and linked to the concocted lines such as: We would not allow second Pakistan? Is it not that, exasperated by the gross mismanagement of its funds, the Central Government, in February 1974, transferred the entire slum clearance scheme from the Delhi Municipal Corporation to the DDA for effective implementation; that is, about 16 months before the emergency?
• What led Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee, a noble statesman, with an attachment to the principle of rajdharma, to act against his own beliefs and change my portfolio of Urban Development when, by all objective accounts and comments, Delhi was witnessing an unprecedented pace of clean, orderly, environment-friendly and culturally-uplifting development?
• And why did Mrs. Sonia Gandhi-Shiela Dikshit regime think that its principal plank for winning Delhi State Assembly Elections (December 2013) and Lok Sabha Elections (May 2014) should be a handsome reward to those who had ravaged, with impunity, the landscape of Delhi in form of thousands of unauthorized colonies and illegal constructions? And why could not rival political parties think of any plan other than competitive negativity and announcing a still larger packet of rewards to the offenders?
• Was it not clearly a practice of bribing the voters of unauthorized colonies in kind and that, too, on massive scale? Did it not tilt the electoral contest in favour of the candidate who was out to undermine not only the rule of law but also the future of the city? Why would the Election Commission not move the government to amend the election law to empower the Commission to deregister political parties which declared, through their manifestoes or otherwise, that the violation of statutory provisions of central, state or local laws would be condoned, if such a condonation gave pecuniary advantage, in cash or kind, to a group or category of violators? Was inaction on the part of the Election Commission to check the existence of an unhealthy clientistic relationship between the land-grabber/illegal builder/voters and those seeking their votes justifiable? Was not the paradox apparent: if there was an individual act of illegality or corrupt practice, the Election Commission would take action; but it would look the other way if there were mass violations and mass corrupt practices?
The city is among the most imposing creations of man. It is the cradle of civilization. It has many facets. As an economic entity, it is a seat of business and industry; as a social organization, it is a creator of community and collective action; as a political unit, it is a centre of power and government; and as a cultural force, it is a repository of old traditions, a fountain-head of new ideas, an instrument of intellectual advancement, and a moulder of attitudes and thoughts. Its all-pervasive character was aptly brought out by Spengler when he observed in The Decline of the West: "World history is the history of the civic man. Peoples, states, politics, all arts and all sciences rest upon one prime phenomenon of human being, the town."
The face of a city is really the face of a civilization in which it exists. Delhi has often appeared to me less as a developing and disciplined metropolis than as a civic entity which manifests all major facets of the present-day Indian civilization — a confusing mix of contradictory values and a queer combination of antiquity and modernity, oscillating between the two worlds, "one dead and the other powerless to be born."
Viewing, on a larger canvas, the history of prominent civilizations, it would be noticed that each one of them is marked by a special attribute. The special attribute of German civilization is its organization, of the US its enterprise, of Japan its adaptability and of Great Britain its balance. The hallmark of Indian civilization, in its heyday, was the power and profundity of its mind. It was this power which led the celebrated Indologist, Max Mueller, to observe: "If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed the choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, I should point to India." It was this power that produced one of the earliest city-based civilization of the world. In archaeological parlance, it is known as Harappan civilization.
Excavations done since the early twenties of the last century have shown that as early as 3000 BC, a number of cities existed along the banks of rivers or vast water-bodies, such as Mohenjodaro on the river Indus, Harappa on the river Ravi, Dholavira and Lothal on river Saraswati.lAbout 1500 cities have so far been identified from Adi-Badri in Haryana to Dholavira in Gujarat.
Apart from the individual houses built with burnt-up bricks, the larger cities, such as Mohenjodaro and Dhola-vira, had quite a few community facilities. The Great Public Bath of Mohenjodaro is an outstanding example of these facilities. The worth of having an organized civic life was well-appreciated. The layouts took care not only of the street-patterns but also of public amenities. An ingenious system of underground drainage had been evolved and the human and other wastes were disposed of in a planned way, taking care of health and hygiene of the people. In contrast to the position prevailing in corresponding arenas of social and political life in Mesopotamian and Egyptian pre-historic cities, there was no palace, no tomb, no temple, no organized army, no weaponry, no powerful monarch and no despotic rule in the area covered by the Harappan civilization. Obviously, the people inhabitating the Harappan cities were peaceful and disciplined. Noting the features of public facilities and public architecture of a large Harappan city, the famous French historian and indologist, Amaury de Reincourt, has observed: "The colossal size of the capital cities reminds one of the Imperial Rome. The sheer size of the Citadel, the impressive Great Bath, the Collegiate building, the Pillared Hall, all these great monuments indicate that Mohenjodaro was a centre of religious and administrative life on a grand scale".
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Art & Culture (739)
Emperor & Queen (491)
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