After showcasing history of Mandi House at the Metro station, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has approached the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) for a similar display of post-colonial Indian History at the upcoming ITO station, part of DMRC’s Heritage Corridor.
An extension of the Violet Line, the Heritage Corridor includes Janpath, ITO, Mandi House, Delhi Gate, Jama Masjid and Kashmere Gate stations.
“We have approached ICHR to study the history of the place, and accordingly, suggest the unique points that reflect the history of the area. This line is extremely important for us as it covers several important landmarks in the city. Janpath was mainly constructed by the British. Mandi House is a hub for creative artists, replete with theatres and centres for performing arts. ITO has the Doll Museum. Delhi Gate, Jama Masjid and Kashmere Gate have important Mughal monuments. So, ICHR will have to consider all these points before charting a plan,” the spokesperson said.
The idea, the spokesperson said, is to educate people about their history. “The idea was successful in Mandi House. So, we decided to replicate it at ITO. Civil work at ITO station is almost over and we are now working on electrical connections and wiring,” he said.
The Mandi House station opened in late June, displaying an exhibition depicting the transition of the area from a palatial house of the Raja of Mandi to a colonial brick kiln zone to its present form as a modern cultural hub.
ICHR is now studying the history of the city to zero down on critical historical facts and landmarks between “the Supreme Court and the ruins of Feroz Shah Kotla”.
“We have marked the zone starting from Supreme Court and will stop once we hit Feroz Shah Kotla. We will go a few kilometres on either side of this reference line and try and tell the story of the buildings, institutions and the landmarks in the zone,” Gopinath Ravindran, member-secretary, ICHR, said.
According to Ravindran, most of the structures in the area came up in the first few decades after Independence and reflected the post-colonial Nehruvian aspirations of “building the new Republic” and the “free press”.
“All buildings and institutions have stories and anecdotes to tell. The Supreme Court building was built in the 1950s and was shaped like scales of justice. Bahadurshah Zafar Marg, the Fleet Street of Delhi which has the offices of major national dailies on it, tells the story of the national press after Independence,” Ravindran said.
“Even Tilak Bridge, previously known as Hardinge Bridge, has a story of its own.”