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Opinion

Parliament Building – Here’s What The Duke of Connaught Said Almost 100 Years Ago

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Almost a century has passed since the groundbreaking ceremony for the old House of Parliament, which then housed the Imperial Legislative Council, was carried out on February 12, 1921 by the visiting Duke of Connaught, Prince Arthur. The duke had said then: “A great Englishman has truly said: architecture has its political use; public buildings are the adornment of a country; establish a nation; and makes a people love their home country, whose passion is the source of all great actions in a Commonwealth. “

The Duke was also accompanied by the then Viceroy of India, Lord Irwin, who later, on January 18, 1927, held the opening ceremony of the House of Parliament, as its architects Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert originally called it. Baker.

According to the archived account of all the speeches delivered by the Duke and the Viceroy published by the Government Printing Superintendent, Calcutta, in 1921, the Viceroy had said: “… here under one roof and within a circle they will meet not just the representatives of British India but of India in the broadest sense. “

Nearly 100 years later, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for a new House of Parliament on Thursday, describing the event as a milestone in India’s democratic history and stating that the building will become the symbol of a nation of the 21st century and Aatmanirbhar Bharat, or self-sufficient India.

At an event in central Delhi attended by high-ranking ministers, foreign envoys and leading industrialists, Modi performed the opening ceremony of the two-story building amid Vedic chants from 12 priests and interfaith prayer, 93 years after the iconic circular Parliament House completed.

In 1921, the Viceroy and the Duke of Connaught laid the foundation stone for a building that encompasses within a circle the three separate buildings in which the House of Princes, the Council of State, and the Legislative Assembly would be located.

“The building is one that especially attracts the imagination of those foretelling the future of our newly renovated councils. It is within the walls that will emerge here that the destinies of British India will one day be shaped and the representative institutions, which have now been born and are rehearsing their first steps, will reach their full maturity and strength. “The viceroy had said.

During his inaugural address, the duke noted: “All the great rulers, all the great peoples, all the great civilizations have left their own record in stone, bronze and marble, as well as in the pages of history.” He cited the examples of the Acropolis of Athens, the capital of Rome, the granite pillars on which Emperor Asoka engraved his imperishable edicts, and the splendid palaces of the Mughal emperors. “Each era has left behind some monument according to its own achievements,” he said.

“Is it not a worthy ideal that equally noble buildings will enshrine the great achievements of India in the 20th century? her solemn entry into the path of responsible government, which Great Britain and the autonomous Dominions of the Empire have trod before her? Is there a building in Britain around which so many great memories cluster as the manor house of the Mother of Parliaments on the banks of the River Thames? Has not each of the autonomous domains of the Empire wisely sought to consecrate its new nationality in a new capital of which its own Parliament is always the proudest monument? added.

“Surely India and its representatives in the new assemblies that I have already had the privilege of inaugurating, will want these great institutions to be housed in a liberal and lasting way.” Thus ended the last public service during His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught’s visit to Delhi in 1921.

On Thursday 10 December 2020, addressing a subsequent meeting, Prime Minister Modi hoped that India would soon be recognized as the “mother democracy” and stated that Indian democratic traditions predate the Magna Carta, an English royal charter of the 13th century often considered the forerunner of modern constitutions. .

“It is a very historic day. Today is a milestone in the democratic history of India … We, the people of India, will build this new Parliament building together, ”Modi said, adding that the building will be an inspiration when India celebrates 75 years of independence. in 2022, the proposed construction completion date.

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