Come 2010 Commonwealth Games,and the Delhi Urban Arts Commission will transform some of the most frequented and accessible public places in the Capital into cartographic museums. The urban body plans to organise an exhibition that will recount the history of the city and its people through maps and drawings spanning over a thousand years.
In the pipeline are plans to track relevant maps and documents which the commission will exhibit to showcase how the city structure has grown and the factors behind the growth. According to DUAC chairperson Professor K T Ravindran,the exhibition will be categorised into different themes,each broadly covering a different period in the citys history. Beginning from the late Harappan settlements,these documents will trace the citys historical development up to the present date and on to Masterplan 2021.
While the emphasis of the exhibition will be on the collection of great cartographic images and panoramas of Delhi through the ages as well as the ways in which the concerns of its people have been reflected in the maps,DUAC will also dig out original manuscripts and evidence to substantiate various historic events.
The purpose of the exhibition,says Professor Ravindran,is not just to show when and how the city has grown,but rather to offer the many stories and events that has shaped the city. The maps will throw light on the shifting of capitals,setting up of the Old City,changes initiated by the British,Lutyens Delhi. Also to be included are more recent events like the Emergency,the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and many more that shaped the cultural and political landscape of the city.
Delhi is uniquely suited to a cartographical biography due to its dynamic growth. This city has a lot of history that people are unaware of. What is noteworthy is how the current entry and exit points of the city are linked to that of the past, says Professor Ravindran.
For instance,not many would know that the current NH-8 was an erstwhile Harappan Age road.
A think tank and advisory group comprising artists,historians and architects is being set up to monitor and plan the details of the project. DUAC has also invited artists and historians with requisite experience to work as consultants. Besides,the urban body is also in the process of roping in individuals,public libraries and civic agencies like the Central Public Works Department,the Delhi Development Authority and the New Delhi Municipal Council to help them trace archived documents and maps.
The exhibition is scheduled for September 2010 and will be spread over a few weeks across multiple venues in the city. DUAC also plans to bring out a document on the same exhibition,the details of which are currently being worked out.