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Lutyens' New Delhi

In 1911, the imperial British government decided to shift the capital of British India from the port city of Calcutta to Delhi, the traditional capital of India. The British wanted to create a city that would reflect the power and prestige of European civilization in order to impress the Indians. New Delhi was to be the Rome of Hindustan. Edwin Lutyens, the town planner for the city and the architect of the Vice regal palace, fused Western and Indian forms in an innovative manner to produce a synthetic Anglo - Indian style. His colleague Baker, on the other hand, simply reproduced classical Western architecture, interspersed with Indian ornamental motifs. Though it was Lutyens' conception that was largely followed in New Delhi, strict criteria, based on race, rank, and socio - economic status governed the allotment of bungalows in the residential areas. Thanks to the low-rise bungalows set in a vast landscape and to the grand avenues lined by trees, Lutyen's Delhi is perhaps the greenest capital in the world. But this greenery is now under pressure from the forces of speculation and population explosion.

A voice over narration accompanies images showing the buildings as they are being used today intercut with photographs from the British period. Music from Indian Army bands have been used, as they still play British tunes .



Prix Archives ethniques : UNESCO Film Festival on art and education , Paris, 1999.

30 minutes


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