Continuing with its initiatives to celebrate New Delhi’s centenary, Hindustan Times organised the New Delhi 100 Conclave in the Capital on December 15, 2011.
Speaking on the past and future of New Delhi were Sheila Dixit, Chief Minister of Delhi; Pawan K Verma, author of ‘Becoming Indian: The Unfinished Revolution of Culture and Identity’; writer and Indophile, Sir Mark Tully; leading architect AGK Menon; and OP Jain.
Sanjoy Narayan, Editor-in-Chief, Hindustan Times, kicked off the discussions by referring to “the heat and dust of a dusky Delhi” during the British regime and how the old city had morphed into a cosmopolitan city. He remarked, “And a hundred years from now, it will turn into a mega-metropolis, which we cannot imagine. But we have to prepare for new challenges.” He made a relevant point as he said, “Change has been a constant companion of Delhi; the other companion is Hindustan Times.”
On the occasion, the Delhi Chief Minister formally released a coffee table book. Dixit said, “Delhi is a remarkable city and people who come here, don’t want to go back.” She pointed out, “In the last decade, Delhi has grown into an attractive, cultural centre.” In fact, “Delhi is a kind of mini-India”, she added.
Pawan Verma commented that Hindustan Times had “become the voice of the city”. Mark Tully, a long time resident of the Capital, exclaimed that he called himself “a full citizen of Delhi”. He brought out an interesting angle when he said, “What is significant about Delhi is that you don’t want to wipe out any part of its history.” What struck him right from the beginning was “the heritage of Delhi”. According to him, what needed to be done was “to change from the motor-car culture”, which was crucial to the city.
The architect in AGK Menon came forth when he remarked, “If heritage is maintained, we have a better city.” He spoke about the “aura of the city, which existed even before it became the Capital. This aura is precious. It’s a tremendous force, as most cities don’t have have it.”