1st Edition

Colonialism, Uprising and the Urban Transformation of Nineteenth-Century Delhi

By Jyoti Pandey Sharma Copyright 2023
    226 Pages 35 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    No other city in the Indian subcontinent can lay claim to having so many lives as Delhi. This book examines Delhi in the politically and culturally dynamic nineteenth century which was marked midway by the 1857 uprising against British colonial rule as a watershed event. Following British occupation, Delhi became a receptacle for encounters between the centuries-old Mughal traditions and the incoming colonial ideal, producing a traditionalism-modernity binary. Employing the built environment lens, the book traces the architectural trajectory of Delhi as it transitioned from the seventeenth-century Mughal Badshahi Shahar (imperial city) first into a culturally hybrid Dilli-Delhi combine of the pre-uprising era and thereafter into a modern British city following the uprising. This transition is presented via four constructs that draw on the traditionalism-modernity binary of Mughal and British Delhi and include Marhoom Dilli (Dead Delhi); Picturesque Delhi; Baaghi Dilli (Insurgent Delhi) and Tamed Delhi. The book goes beyond the nineteenth century to examine the vestiges of Delhi’s four nineteenth-century lives in the present while making a case for their acknowledgement as a cultural asset that can propel the city’s urban development agenda. By bringing together the city’s past and its present as well as addressing its future, the book can count among its readers not just scholars but also those interested in cities and their evolving landscapes.

    List of Illustrations


    List of Abbreviations


    1 Introduction: Delhi in the ‘Long Nineteenth Century’

    2 Mughal Badshahi Shahar: Shahjahanabad

    3 Marhoom Dilli (Dead Delhi): Fashioning a new identity

    4 Picturesque Delhi: Ruins and leisurely pursuits

    5 Baaghi Dilli (Insurgent Delhi): Constructing heroes and villains

    6 Tamed Delhi: Spatial tyranny and the weaponry of exclusion

    7 Twentieth-Century Delhis: New Delhi versus Old Delhi

    8 Epilogue: The future of Delhi’s past



    Jyoti Pandey Sharma is a professor of architecture at Department of Architecture, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, India. She engages with issues pertaining to architectural and urban history, built heritage and cultural landscapes, particularly those concerning the Indian Subcontinent’s legacy of Islamic and Colonial urbanism. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed journals and in edited volumes and she has been an invited speaker at international symposia and conferences. Her research has received awards and fellowships including a Summer Fellowship in Garden and Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, USA and a UGC Associateship at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, India.