Thu, 26 May 2011 08:45:21 GMT

City of Djinns to city of gin?

It’s 20 years since William Dalrymple’s immensely readable "City of Djinns: A year in Delhi" was published, but the author feels Delhi, in its centenary year as the national capital, has transformed from a predominantly Punjabi city to a multi-cultural one with the hip nightclubs and a new demography.


City of Djinns to city of gin?

The cover of William Dalrymple's (right) "City of Djinss: A year in Delhi".

The national capital is unrecognisably different from what it was three decades ago when writer William Dalrymple came to the metropolis as a freshman in 1989 to sample the sights and sounds of India.His "City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi", which was inspired by the colours of Delhi, will complete 20 years in 2012.

Ruminating on the changes that the metropolis, celebrating its centenary year as the national capital in 2011, has undergone, Dalrymple said: "It is unrecognisably different. It was an extensively Punjabi city in the 80s."

"People were still coming for jobs; the demography was changing. But by the 90s, it was a proper capital city. Not Washington or Canberra; but New York," Dalyrymple told IANS on the sidelines of a session on "Transformation of Delhi: India's Capital at 100".

The city was declared the national capital by King George V on Dec 12, 1911, and the "seat of government was transferred from erstwhile Calcutta to the ancient capital of Delhi".

"This is the city where the media is; the buzz is. Kolkata used to be a great intellectual centre (earlier), but all the publishers and writers are here in Delhi," Dalrymple said.

Image credit: www.penguinbooksindia.com

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