Heritage Parliament Building: Beacon of Democracy and Witness to India Story
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Heritage Parliament Building: Beacon of Democracy and Witness to India Story

The grand old Parliament building has been a constant in the country’s glorious journey for almost a century.

Nestled in the heart of the vibrant city of New Delhi, stands a magnificent circular structure that embodies the very essence of Indian democracy—the Parliament House, which is set to fade into pages of history when Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates the new complex on Sunday. This architectural marvel served as the hub of the country’s political activities and held great significance in the nation’s history for almost a century.

India’s Parliament building, known as Sansad Bhavan in Hindi, has been a symbol of unity, power, and the collective will of its people for decades.

Designed by renowned British architects Sir Herbert Becker and Sir Edwin Lutyens, the existing Parliament building was constructed in the early 20th century, with its foundation stone laid in 1921 by Britain’s Duke of Connaught, after whom Delhi’s first and biggest shopping plaza is named. The building took six years to complete and was inaugurated in 1927, marking a milestone in India’s journey toward self-governance.

The Parliament House stands as a testament to India’s democratic ideals, reflecting a fusion of Indian and Western architectural styles. Its sprawling circular structure boasts a grand colonnaded exterior, featuring 144 imposing pillars. The central dome soars majestically, adorned with the national emblem of India, comprising four Asiatic lions, each facing a cardinal direction, symbolizing strength, courage, and power.

Inside, the building houses two chambers—the Lok Sabha (House of the People or Lower House) and the Rajya Sabha (Council of States or Upper House)—where elected representatives from all corners of India converged to discuss, debate, and legislate. The Lok Sabha, representing the people’s voice, occupied the larger chamber, while the Rajya Sabha, representing the states and union territories, resided in the smaller chamber.

The Lok Sabha chamber featured vibrant green upholstery, with over 550 seats for Members of Parliament (MPs). At the front of the chamber stood the Speaker’s chair, adorned with the national emblem, from where the Speaker presided over the proceedings. The Rajya Sabha chamber, in contrast, embraced shades of red, with 250 seats for Rajya Sabha members. In the centre of the chamber, a circular table known as the “Well” acted as the focal point for discussions.

The significance of India’s Parliament building extended far beyond its architectural grandeur. It stood as a testament to the country’s democratic principles, where people elected their representatives to shape the nation’s destiny. Within its hallowed halls, history was made and laws were enacted, shaping the lives of millions.

The Parliament House witnessed several defining moments, such as the adoption of the Indian Constitution on January 26, 1950, which marked India’s transformation into a republic. It hosted passionate debates on critical issues, the framing of laws, and the exchange of ideas that propelled India’s progress.

The building reverberated with the heartfelt speeches of first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, the calm but firm resolve of Lal Bahadur Shastri, the eloquence of Indira Gandhi, and the poetic brilliance of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, whose words shaped the course of the nation.

On the eve of Independence, the Constituent Assembly met at 11:00 pm with President Rajendra Prasad in the Chair. Sucheta Kriplani, a member from Uttar Pradesh, sang the first verse of Vande Mataram to mark the opening of the special session. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru delivered his famous “Tryst with destiny” speech which was followed by a pledge by members of the Constituent Assembly dedicating themselves to the service of the nation.

Speaker G V Mavlankar announced the death of Mahatma Gandhi at a sitting of the Lok Sabha on February 2, 1948.

It was from the same House that prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri made an appeal to the country to skip one meal every week as India struggled with food shortages and fought a war against Pakistan in 1965.

In 1974, the then prime minister Indira Gandhi made a detailed statement in Parliament on July 22, apprising the House of the “peaceful nuclear experiment” at Pokhran and the reaction of other countries to it. Almost 24 years later in 1998, then prime minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee declared India as a nuclear weapons state after scientists carried out five underground nuclear tests on May 11 and May 13 that year.

The Parliament building stood as a living testament to the power of dialogue and negotiation, where the ideas and concerns of all sections of society found expression. India’s Parliament building embodied the spirit of democracy, unity, and progress. It stood tall as a symbol of the nation’s collective aspirations, where the power of governance resided.

As the sun sets over its majestic dome, casting a golden glow, the building’s significance endures, inspiring generations to uphold the democratic ideals it represented.

Source : Hindustan Times