Knowledge Corner

Delhi, officially the National Capital Territory of Delhi, is a city and the capital territory of the Republic of India. It is bordered byHaryana on three sides and by Uttar Pradesh to the east. It is the most populous city in India—about 1,484 square kilometres (573 sq mi). It has a population of about 25 million, making it thesecond most populous city after Mumbai and most populous urban agglomeration in India and 3rd largest urban area in the world. Such is the nature of urban expansion in Delhi that its growth has expanded beyond the NCT to incorporate towns in neighbouring states and at its largest extent can count a population of about 25 million residents as of 2014. After Mumbai, Delhi has the second-highest number of billionaires and millionaires among all cities in India.

Delhi has been continuously inhabited since the 6th century BCE. Through most of its history, Delhi has served as a capital of various kingdoms and empires. It has been captured, ransacked and rebuilt several times, particularly during the medieval period, and modern Delhi is a cluster of a number of cities spread across the metropolitan region.

Delhi and its urban region have been given the special status of National Capital Region (NCR) under the Constitution of India’s 69th Amendment Act of 1991. The NCR includes the neighbouring cities of Faridabad, Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad, Neharpar (Greater Faridabad), Greater Noida, Bahadurgarh, Sonepat, Panipat, Karnal, Rohtak, Bhiwani, Rewari, Baghpat, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar,Alwar, Bharatpur and other nearby towns. A union territory, the political administration of the NCT of Delhi today more closely resembles that of a state of India, with its own legislature, high court and an executive council of ministers headed by a Chief Minister. New Delhi is jointly administered by the federal government of India and the local government of Delhi, and is the capital of the NCT of Delhi.

History

The area around Delhi was probably inhabited before the second millennium BC and there is evidence of continuous inhabitation since at least the 6th century BC. The city is believed to be the site of Indraprastha, the legendary capital of the Pandavas in the Indian epic Mahabharata. According to Mahabharata, this land was initially a huge mass of forests called ‘Khandavaprastha’ which was burnt down to build the city of Indraprastha. The earliest architectural relics date back to the Maurya period (c. 300 BC); in 1966, an inscription of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka (273–235 BC) was discovered near Srinivaspuri. Remains of eight major cities have been discovered in Delhi. The first five cities were in the southern part of present-day Delhi. Gurjara-Pratihara KingAnang Pal of the Tomara dynasty founded the city of Lal Kot in AD 736. The Chauhans conquered Lal Kot in 1180 and renamed it Qila Rai Pithora.
The king Prithviraj Chauhan was defeated in 1192 by Muhammad Ghori, a Tajik invader from Afghanistan, who made a concerted effort to conquer northern India. By 1200, native Hindu resistance had begun to crumble, the dominance of foreign Turkic Muslim dynasties in north India was to last for the next five centuries. The slave general of Ghori, Qutb-ud-din Aibak was given the responsibility of governing the conquered territories of India. He began construction of the Qutb Minar and Quwwat-al-Islam (Might of Islam) mosque, the earliest extant mosque in India. Qutb-ud-din faced widespread Hindu rebellions and it was his successor, Iltutmish (1211–36), who consolidated the Turkic conquest of northern India.
For the next three hundred years, Delhi was ruled by a succession of Turkic and an Afghan, Lodhi dynasty. They built several forts and townships that are part of the seven cities of Delhi. Delhi was a major centre of Sufism during this period. The Mamluk Sultanate (Delhi) was overthrown in 1290 by the Khilji dynasty (1290–1320). Under the second Khilji ruler, Ala-ud-din Khilji, the Delhi sultanate extended its control south of the Narmada River in the Deccan. The Delhi sultanate reached its greatest extent during the reign of Muhammad bin Tughluq (1325–1351). In an attempt to bring the whole of the Deccan under control, he moved his capital to Daulatabad, Maharashtra in central India. However, by moving away from Delhi he lost control of the north and was forced to return to Delhi to restore order. The southern provinces then broke away. In the years following the reign of Firoz Shah Tughlaq (1351–1388), the Delhi sultanate rapidly began to lose its hold over its northern provinces. Delhi was captured and sacked by Timur Lenk in 1398, who massacred 100,000 captives. Delhi’s decline continued under the Sayyid dynasty (1414–1451), until the sultanate was reduced to Delhi and its hinterland. Under the Afghan Lodhi dynasty (1451–1526), the Delhi sultanate recovered control of the Punjab and the Gangetic plain to once again achieve domination over Northern India. However, the recovery was short-lived and the sultanate was destroyed in 1526 by Babur, founder of the Mughal dynasty.

Babur, was a descendant of Genghis Khan and Timur, from the Fergana Valley in modern-day Uzbekistan. In 1526, he invaded India, defeated the last Lodhi sultan in theFirst Battle of Panipat and founded the Mughal Empire that ruled from Delhi and Agra. The Mughal dynasty ruled Delhi for more than three centuries, with a sixteen-year hiatus during the reigns of Sher Shah Suri and Hemu from 1540 to 1556. In 1553, the Hindu king, Hemu acceded to the throne of Delhi by defeating forces of Mughal Emperor Humayun at Agra and Delhi. However, the Mughals re-established their rule after Akbar’s army defeated Hemu during the Second Battle of Panipat in 1556. Shah Jahan built the seventh city of Delhi that bears his name Shahjahanabad, which served as the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1638 and is today known as the Old City or Old Delhi.

After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, the Mughal Empire’s influence declined rapidly as the Hindu Maratha Empire from Deccan Plateau rose to prominence. In 1737, Maratha forces sacked Delhi following their victory against the Mughals in the First Battle of Delhi. In 1739, the Mughal Empire lost the huge Battle of Karnal in less than three hours against the numerically outnumbered but militarily superior Persian army led by Nader Shah of Persia. After his invasion, he completely sacked and looted Delhi, carrying away immense wealth including the Peacock Throne, the Daria-i-Noor, and Koh-i-Noor. The Mughals, severely further weakened, could never overcome this crushing defeat and humiliation which also left the way open for more invaders to come, including eventually the British. Nader eventually agreed to leave the city and India after forcing the Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah I to beg him for mercy and granting him the keys of the city and the royal treasury. A treaty signed in 1752 made Marathas the protectors of the Mughal throne in Delhi.

In 1757, the Afghan ruler, Ahmad Shah Durrani, sacked Delhi. He returned to Afghanistan leaving a Mughal puppet ruler in nominal control. The Marathas again occupied Delhi in 1758, and were in control until their defeat in 1761 at the third battle of Panipat when the city was captured again by Ahmad Shah. However, in 1771, the Marathas established a protectorate over Delhi when the Maratha ruler, Mahadji Shinde, recaptured Delhi and the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II was installed as a puppet ruler in 1772. In 1783, Sikhs under Baghel Singh captured Delhi and Red Fort but due to the treaty signed, Sikhs withdrew from Red Fort and agreed to restore Shah Alam as the emperor.In 1803, during the Second Anglo-Maratha War, the forces of British East India Company defeated the Maratha forces in the Battle of Delhi. During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, Delhi fell to the forces of East India Company after a bloody fight known as the Siege of Delhi. The city came under the direct control of the British Government in 1858. It was made a district province of the Punjab. In 1911, it was announced that the capital of British held territories in India was to be transferred from Calcutta to Delhi. The name “New Delhi” was given in 1927, and the new capital was inaugurated on 13 February 1931. New Delhi, also known asLutyens’ Delhi, was officially declared as the capital of the Union of India after the country gained independence on 15 August 1947. During the partition of India, thousands of Hindu and Sikh refugees, mainly from West Punjab fled to Delhi, while many Muslim residents of the city migrated to Pakistan. Migration to Delhi from the rest of India continues (as of 2013), contributing more to the rise of Delhi’s population than the birth rate, which is declining.

The Constitution (Sixty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1991 declared the Union Territory of Delhi to be formally known as the National Capital Territory of Delhi. The Act gave Delhi its own legislative assembly along Civil lines, though with limited powers. In December 2001, the Parliament of India building in New Delhi was attacked by armed militants, killing six security personnel. India suspected Pakistan-based militant groups were behind the attack, which caused a major diplomatic crisis between the two countries. There were further terrorist attacks in Delhi in October 2005 and September 2008, resulting in a total of 103 deaths.

Demographics

According to the 2011 census of India, the population of Delhi is 16,753,235. The corresponding population density was 11,297 persons per km2 with a sex ratio of 866 women per 1000 men, and a literacy rate of 86.34%. In 2004, the birth rate, death rate and infant mortality rate per 1000 population were 20.03, 5.59 and 13.08 respectively. In 2001, the population of Delhi increased by 285,000 as a result of migration and by 215,000 as a result of natural population growth, which made Delhi one of the fastest growing cities in the world. By 2015, Delhi is expected to be the third-largest conurbation in the world after Tokyo and Mumbai. Dwarka Sub City, Asia’s largest planned residential area, is located within the National Capital Territory of Delhi.

Skill Test

1. The JantarMantar consists of how many architectural astronomy instruments

2. How many stairs are there in Qutub Minar?

3. The name of the city is based upon which language?

4. In which year the Red Fort or the Lal Quila was built?

5. Where was the 1stJantarmantar constructed?

6. Delhi is situated on the banks of which river?

7. IGI airport of New Delhi is situated in which end of the city?

8. When did the New Delhi Railway started operating with only one platform in Ajmeri Gate?

9. Name the century in which the first city of Delhi was founded by Prithviraj Chauhan

10. Which is the state bird of Delhi?

11. State the year in which Delhi was converted into Union Territory?

12. On which hills the President house is situated?

13. India gate construction was completed in which year?

14. When did the International Mango Festival started to be celebrated in Delhi?

15. The famous Jantar Mantar was built by whom?

16. Who was the ex chief minister of Delhi?

17. What number Mughal emperor was Aurangzeb who ruled over most of the country?

18. When did the Delhi Metro start operating?

19. Who built the Purana Quila according to the Bhavishya Purana?

20. When the Delhi metro celebrated its 10th anniversary?

21. The Red Fort was constructed by whom?