Delhi: Compare and contrast of Calcutta and Delhi and their critiques

Image. Accessed December 21, 2019.

The British were impelled by the population to transfer the capital from Calcutta to Delhi in 1911. There were many positives to Calcutta; it is located centrally and is large and dense. Its infrastructure allowed for a better management for India. It was a completely pre-planned city and has lots of areas for offices. Its transport system was well developed because of its connection to every division of the empire. For example, the Grand Trunk Road was a historical road and a major route that connected most of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and more. The Mughals had also ruled India from Delhi for over 200 years. 

Calcutta would not be a good capital for India because since India’s British empire was vast at the time, it was hard to rule over the entire empire from Calcutta, which was located in the east area. Calcutta was also not pre-planned like Delhi was. The overcrowding there was evident because there was no space for airports and parliament buildings. Because of the lack of planning, there were also bad drainage systems and road systems. There were small roads in Calcutta that clashed with the main railways in areas like Sealdah and Howrah.

Image. Accessed December 21, 2019.

The decision, on the other hand, lead to many nationalist disagreements, which resulted in a prohibition of British goods as well as bombings and political homicides in Calcutta. The British government chose Delhi to relieve the opinions of the nationalists. However, one big critic was the viceroy at the time during the division of Bengal. The reasons for his critiques were explained by Lord Curzon, the viceroy, and made a speech on the reason of change. Even though the architects specifically tailored their choosing to the British liking, it angered many. Why the people were so hostile about the situation was not a surprise; many critics have mentioned that Delhi would not be ready to house the British. Around twenty years would be the timeframe for Lutyens and Baker to finish designing New Delhi. The critiques of the parliament were unhappy about the isolation of the commercial beliefs in Calcutta as well as the funding of the relocation project and its reforms. If the commerce was detached from New Delhi, the purpose of the British rule would be disadvantageous.




Transfer of Capital Calcutta to Delhi: Documents And Reports, n.d.


Johnson, D., and Richard Watson. New Delhi: The Last Imperial City, n.d.


Pal, Sanchari. “87 Years Ago, Delhi Took Over From Calcutta As the Capital of Undivided India. Here’s Why.” The Better India, February 13, 2018.


1 Comment on “Delhi: Compare and contrast of Calcutta and Delhi and their critiques

  1. It is intriguing how political concerns take part in one country’s urban-scale decision. This article shows how important the pre-planning process for a region to be considered as the capital city and administrative center. I also enjoy the different perspectives from multiple experts, for example, the nationalists, urban planners, the parliaments, and even the public themselves.

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