The South Asian Life & Times - SALT   
  January - March 2012           




Editor's Note


  Cover Story
Dr Karan Singh

  Tech Stories 2011
  Steve Jobs

  Harish Hande

  Umar Saif

  Azim Premjee

  Adventure & Sports
  Mingma Sherpa -
  the 1st South Asian
  to climb all 8000ers

  Photo Feature
  Bhutan Royal

  Bhutan Royals'
  State Visit to India &
  Rajasthan visit


  Floods in South Asia

   Famine in Somalia

  Performing Arts
  Kumud Diwan

  Space Exploration
  Juno to Jupiter

  Earth-like planet

  Women of the Year

  2011 Recap

  Book Picks 2011
  Steve Jobs by
  Walter Isaacson

   Wonder of the Age

   No Way Down

  Vishnu - Hinduism's
  Blue-skinned Savior

  Sentinels of Raisina

   Northeast Trilogy




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SALT Book Picks 2011

 Sentinels of Raisina Hill

By Dhirendra Singh & Mohan Joseph
Sketches by Vikram Kalra

This is the story of North and South Blocks that stand as sentinels guarding the Rashtrapati Bhavan, earlier called the Viceroy House. The story begins in 1911 when in August of that year a decision was taken to transfer the Imperial capital from Calcutta to India. This did not happen overnight. In fact it would take 20 years – a city had to be created that would symbolise the British empire’s jewel in the crown. The announcement was made by the King on a winter morning at the time of the Delhi Durbar, in December 1911 and he laid the foundation stone for the new capital at the site of his Durbar – on December 15, 2011. Viceroy Hardinge, involved in planning and building the new city right from its inception, wanted to establish a first-rate and a well-planned city. Raisina Hill was the site chosen for Viceroy’s House, now known as the Rashtrapati Bhavan., and the Secretariat Blocks. The former would be designed by Lutyens and the latter by his senior assistant Herbert Baker. Sentinels of Raisina Hill is a riveting account of how the North and South Blocks came to be - it reveals untold stories and shatters myths about the two imposing structures. The inscriptions on the entrance archways of both the Blocks – one in English, and the other in Persian – do not carry the same message – as it was commonly believed. The authors have exposed that the Persian inscription is not a translation of the English. In fact the two are entirely dissimilar in their sensitivity. 

Chapter Six of the book – is the story as told by the two sentinels – in first person. The soul of the stately and grand structures speaks out.

Within the walls of these buildings are the foundation stones laid by the then King and Queen of England at the Durbar of 1911. The foundation stones of a new ‘Delhi’ were not always here. They were brought here from another site where they were originally laid. Now they are in special chambers – the King’s stone in the South Block and the Queen’s in the North Block.


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