The exquisite monuments such as the ones at Humayun’s Tomb, Qutub Minar complex, Tughlaqabad, Purana Qila—with archaeological evidence taking the site back to the antiquities of the time of Indraprastha of Mahabharata fame—Firozshah Kotla and the city of Shahjahanabad together highlight the great Indian historical achievements through the medieval and early modern eras. Though power is now concentrated in 20th-century Lutyens’ Delhi, the ramparts of the 17th-century Lal Qila still remain the site for emotional expressions of India’s power, grandeur and humility in a manner typical of Indian confidence tempered with modesty.
The aberrations of anarchic times notwithstanding, these magnificent monuments will continue to inspire awe. It should also encourage those in power to not only preserve these enormous marvels, but also build further—on a newer site the 9th or 10th city of Delhi and leave a mark of their grand vision for enduring future appreciation. Even as celebrations on the recent declaration of six-century-old medieval city of Ahmedabad as India’s first World Heritage City by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO are somewhat dampened by the devastating floods, it is time to push for Delhi’s nomination and claims for a similar status, with longer historical antecedents of its resilient power and splendid grandeur.