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    Creative Commons License
    Rabble Rousing Random Ramblings by S Jagadish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

    July 29, 2009


    A few days ago, I read a news report in 'The Hindu' about serious differences between India's defence forces and various other agencies, including the Urban Development Ministry, over construction of a dedicated war memorial for Indian soldiers.

    Keep in mind that India Gate was built to commemorate martyrs of the British Indian Army. So really there's no memorial to honour soldiers who died fighting for independent India. The difference of opinion essentially centres around where the monument should be located.

    The first thing that struck me after reading the report was why everyone was assuming that the monument needed to be in Delhi in the first place! It's not as though a majority of the martyrs were born in Delhi. Why couldn't the memorial be constructed in any other place in India? What's the need to be so Delhi-centric.

    It's certainly not something new. With a few exceptions (the only two that come to mind are the Calcutta Metro and the frequency with which Delhi hosts international cricket), most events are Delhi-centric. Television in India started off in Delhi. The only 2 Asian Games in India (the inaugural one in 1951 & the 1982 one) have been held in Delhi. Ceremonies & parades during Independence day & Republic day are always held only in Delhi. In the last decade, India has played 11 Davis Cup ties at home, and 6 of these have been in Delhi when there are [probably] much better venues at other places, including Chennai & Bangalore.

    The 2010 Commonwealth Games is in Delhi, and I shudder to think of infrastructure lying waste like it was after 1982. The first Formula One Grand Prix race in India will be in Delhi in 2011. India's venue proposed for the 2020 Olympics is Delhi.

    Why can't we spread the love? Why should the Supreme Court only be in Delhi? Why should the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha sessions only be held in Delhi?

    That said, sometimes it is useful. Imagine if, as an extension of this extreme Delhi-focus, the netas and the babus insisted on INS Arihant being rolled out from Delhi on the grounds that the submarine could go take a dip in the Yamuna!

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