The history of Chandigarh

March 30th, 2009

 

After the partition of British India into the two nations of India and Pakistan in 1947, the region of Punjab was also split between India and Pakistan. The Indian state of Punjab required a new capital city to replace Lahore, which became part of Pakistan during the partition. After several plans to make additions to existing cities were found to be infeasible for various reasons, the decision to construct a new and planned city was undertaken.

 

Of all the new town schemes in independent India, the Chandigarh project quickly assumed prime significance.  Several buildings and layouts in Chandigarh were designed by the French (born Swiss) architect and urban planner, Le Corbusier, in the 1950s. Le Corbusier was in fact the second architect of the city, after the initial master plan was prepared by the American architect-planner Albert Mayer who was working with the Poland-born architect Matthew Nowicki. It was only after Nowicki’s untimely death in 1950 that Le Corbusier was pulled into the project.

 

On 1 November,1966, the newly-formed Indian state of Haryana was carved out of the eastern portion of the Punjab, the city of Chandigarh was on the border, and was thus created into a union territory to serve as capital of both these states. Chandigarh was due to be transferred to Punjab in 1986, in accordance with an agreement signed in August 1985 by Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, with Sant Harchand Singh Longowal of the Akali Dal. This was to be accompanied by the creation of a new capital for Haryana, but the transfer had been delayed.

 

The actual transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab and areas in lieu thereof to Haryana was to take place simultaneously on 26th January, 1986.  This issue should be resolved at the earliest and the central government should honour the agreements made with a state, which has always been in the forefront of making India shine on the world map.

 

Are you in favor of transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab as agreed upon in the Rajiv Gandhi - Sant Longowal Accord?