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Most vital for Capital in 100 years: Metro

On some Sundays, Animesh Sood goes from his west Delhi home to Connaught Place. The 24-year-old, who arrived in the city three years ago as a history student, loves the walk from the Metro station to Sadar Bazaar and goes down the road often.

delhi Updated: May 09, 2011 00:35 IST
Mallica Joshi

On some Sundays, Animesh Sood goes from his west Delhi home to Connaught Place. The 24-year-old, who arrived in the city three years ago as a history student, loves the walk from the Metro station to Sadar Bazaar and goes down the road often.

"It is a longish walk but it tells you so much about this city that you don't even notice the distance. You can see the city change in front of your eyes," says Sood, who came to Delhi from Shimla.

The transition from the wide lanes of New Delhi to the by-lanes of Old Delhi is tangible to Sood on these walks. But without the Metro, it would have been impossible.

"The Metro connects you to different parts of the city seamlessly. Coming from a different city, this journey would never have been possible for me without it," he says.

But it is not just Sood who thinks the Metro bridges the gap between the Delhi that existed before 1911 and 'newer Delhi'.

At an interaction titled 'The Transformations of Delhi: India's Capital at 100' on Sunday, historian and writer, Mukul Kesavan, called the Delhi Metro the most important system to have evolved in the last 100 years.

New Delhi completes 100 years of being the capital of the country. It was in 1911 that the then British government had shifted the capital of India from Calcutta to Delhi.

"It is important as it helps lend citizens a sense of ownership of the city," he said. "Delhi's population does not look at the city as one unit and does not feel any ownership over it. Accessibility is the key here. The Metro got us that accessibility."

The interaction had historians William Dalrymple and Mushirul Hasan as speakers and Mahmood Farooqui as the moderator.

Kesavan also said that the lack of narrative around the city available to the newcomers hampers their relationship with the city.

"Those who have come to Delhi in the past decade or less don't have any sort of a comprehensive tale that tells them about the city," he said.