India’s new Parliament building will soon be inaugurated and with that, the radial Parliament building which has been a representation of India’s democratic values, would be converted into a museum. It will be referred to as the ‘old Parliament’ in general terms. The building has witnessed the functioning of more than seven decades of independent India, and has been operational since its inauguration in 1927. Here’s a look at the times gone by and how the building has been a part since India’s birth as a nation and its growth story.
About the iconic building
An architectural marvel, the building is nestled in the heart of New Delhi, bears witness to the nation’s defining moments. From significant legislative milestones to heated debates and remarkable speeches, the hallowed halls of this iconic structure have shaped the destiny of the Indian nation. The construction of the Parliament Building in New Delhi began in 1921 and was completed in 1927. Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn laid the foundation stone, in February 1921. The British architects Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker designed the building.
It was inaugurated as the Imperial Legislative Council, the legislative body of British India. After India’s independence in 1947, the Constituent Assembly took over the building. Once India’s Constitution came into force in 1950, it became the Parliament of India
The building was designed in the Indo-Saracenic style, which is a blend of Indian and European architectural styles. The building is made of red sandstone and white marble, and it is decorated with intricate carvings and sculptures.
The Parliament Building is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in India. The total cost of the construction of the Parliament Building was INR 8.3 million (US$100,000).
The Old and the New Parliament
Some facts associated with the Old Parliament Building in New Delhi:
The building is made of red sandstone and white marble, and it is decorated with intricate carvings and sculptures. The building has a central dome, which is surrounded by four smaller domes. The building has two main chambers: the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and the Rajya Sabha (Council of States). The Lok Sabha is the lower house of Parliament, and it has 543 members. The Rajya Sabha is the upper house of Parliament, and it has 245 members. The building covers around six acres of land and is 560 feet in diameter. There are 144 total pillars in the structure, each standing at 27 feet tall.
The New Parliament
The New Parliament Building will be triangular in shape and cover a total built-up area of 65,000 sq. mtrs. Both the old and the new buildings will work as an ensemble to facilitate smooth and easy functioning of the Parliament. The Lok Sabha Hall will have a capacity of 888 seats and the Rajya Sabha Hall of 384 seats. The floor plan of Lok Sabha Hall is based on a peacock theme and that of Rajya Sabha on the national flower. Both the halls will have larger seating space for the Members of Parliament (MPs).
Iconic speeches witnessed in the old Parliament Building
The walls of the Parliament Building resonate with the echoes of iconic speeches delivered within its chambers, which include:
The Duke of Connaught’s inaugural speech
During the inauguration ceremony, the Duke of Connaught praised India’s progress in self-governance and expressed hope for the Parliament Building to symbolize unity and prosperity.
Tryst with Destiny – Jawaharlal Nehru (1947)
Jawaharlal Nehru’s stirring speech, delivered on the eve of India’s independence, proclaimed India’s commitment to democracy, secularism, and social justice.
Memorable Parliament debates
The Parliament Building has witnessed passionate debates and compelling speeches from leaders such as Indira Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and Dr. Manmohan Singh, as they shaped the nation’s policies and political landscape.
Manmohan Singh’s historic speech as Finance Minister in July 1991 is considered to be one of the most important turning points in India’s economic history.
In his speech, Singh announced a series of reforms that would open up the Indian economy to foreign investment and trade. These reforms were met with resistance from some quarters, but they ultimately proved to be successful in stimulating economic growth.
Singh’s speech was delivered at a time when India was facing a severe economic crisis. The country’s foreign exchange reserves were dangerously low, and inflation was skyrocketing. In order to address these problems, Singh announced a number of measures.
With the new Parliament Building beginning its democratic functioning after May 28, 2023, the old building will still stand tall and speak of the times gone by.
Data sourced from: https://loksabha.nic.in,