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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

With statue and museum, Delhi to glorify legacy of Tomar king

Anangpal II, popularly known as Anangpal Tomar, belonged to the Tomar dynasty that ruled parts of present-day Delhi and Haryana between the 8th and 12th centuries.

Written by Divya A | New Delhi |
Updated: March 18, 2021 8:08:57 am
A copy of the seminar booklet on Anangpal II.

A government seminar conducted recently in Delhi highlighted the legacy of the long-forgotten Tomar king — Anangpal II. Asked about the aim of the day-long seminar, Tarun Vijay, chairman of the National Monument Authority (NMA) quoted Prime Minister Narendra Modi: “Injustice against the makers of history by the writers of history is being corrected now.”

“During one of our field visits last year, we found out that Anangapal II was the founder of Dhillikapuri, which eventually became Delhi,” he said, adding that the idea was to present “correct history” for the people through the works of historians, academics and archaeologists. For ‘King Anangpal II — Founder of Delhi’, NMA, which organised the seminar, brought on board experts from JNU, Panjab University Chandigarh, Indian Council of Historical Research, Delhi University and Banaras Hindu University.

An exhibition was also held on the sidelines, which Vijay said will be taken abroad through ICCR so that “foreigners also get to know about the founder of Delhi”.

Anangpal II, popularly known as Anangpal Tomar, belonged to the Tomar dynasty that ruled parts of present-day Delhi and Haryana between the 8th and 12th centuries; their rule is attested by multiple inscriptions and coins. B R Mani, former joint director-general of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), whose remarks opened the seminar, said, “Anangpal II was instrumental in populating Indraprastha and giving it its present name, Delhi. The region was in ruins when he ascended the throne in the 11th century; it was he who built Lal Kot fort and Anang Tal Baoli.”

He added that the objective is to put it out to the public what, until now, only archaeologists and academics know. Tomar’s ancestry can be traced to the Pandavas (of the Mahabharata), said Mani, who led excavations between 1992 and 1995 at Lal Kot and Anang Tal (in South Delhi).

After the seminar, attended by several BJP MPs and Union Culture Minister Prahlad Patel, who said “appropriate steps should be taken to highlight the legacy of Delhi’s founder”, it was decided that a committee be formed to take the mandate forward. Proposals included “building a statue of Anangpal II at the Delhi airport” and “building a museum dedicated to his legacy” in Delhi, said Neera Misra, research scholar and author, who is among the committee’s members, along with Tarun Vijay and Mani.

Meanwhile, the ASI is learnt to have directed its field officials to submit proposals with budget estimates for restoration of protected sites during the next financial year. According to officials, the department is also considering beginning excavation along the fortification of Lal Kot, also known as Qila Rai Pithora. The proposal is to make it an ASI-protected monument so that vertical excavation can be carried out to establish more links between Tomars and Delhi. A site museum could be created later at the place.

Tomars and their Delhi link find mention in some modern-day literature as well. Noted medieval historian Professor K A Nizami’s Urdu book, Ehd-e-Wusta ki Dilli, translated in English as Delhi in Historical Perspectives, looks at Delhi across six centuries (from 1300 to 1800). Tracing the antecedents of Delhi, Nizami refers to Persian annals that describe it as “Inderpat”. And yet, according to his book, Delhi formally emerged as a city only in the 11th century, when Tomar Rajputs took over the mountainous Aravalli region. Nizami said that the most reliable evidence about the early history of Delhi is inscribed on the iron pillar of Masjid Quwaatul Islam, adjacent to the Qutab Minar. He wrote: “According to this inscription, Anangpal of the Tomar Rajputs founded Delhi between 1053 and 1109 AD. It refers to Delhi as Delhi, a name that has endured… its long history.”

Anangpal Tomar II was succeeded by his grandson Prithviraj Chauhan. The Delhi Sultanate was established in 1192 after Prithviraj Chauhan’s defeat in the Battle of Tarain (present-day Haryana) by the Ghurid forces.

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