When we started surveying the archeological sites of Delhi could not find a single site that has any plaque or any notification saying that this is the site linked to Ancient India. We found some inscriptions in some books, we hunted and found them lying in some godown in Lal Qila. Now they are at Purana Qila.
There are two inscriptions in Sanskrit, Nagari script, both are related to dedication of a Bavli dedicated by a businessman to the people of Indraprastha. One is found in Narayana and one is Raisina Hill, Raisina Road area. So obviously if in 1300 these inscriptions are talking about Indraprastha, Indraprastha existed. In Mughal history books, Razam Nama is talking about Indraprastha, Indraprastha existed.
This whole idea about recreating Indraprastha at Purana Qila started. We approached ASI and we were told that we can not have MOU with you. I ask one simple question, if ASI can have MOU with the organisation of an Imam ( Agha Khan), which is a religious organisation, why it can not have association with a Non- religious organisation to re create and tell the history of Delhi. Even when we are saying that we are seeing these monuments, we all know how things in 60s and 70s have changed history. This work started in 70s. That’s the time ASI established an office inside Purana Qila in a building which is called an old school building. In 2019 just a few months ago, these people have demolished that building.
In 2017 and 2018 we made presentations to the ministry and the secretary agreed that we will be doing a museum in that school building to tell the journey of Delhi from Indraprastha to today’s time. And the letter is with me from the ministry that the ministry will give grant but we have to tie up with ASI to get the building association. And, the moment that letter went, the activity started and the building was broken.
So, we had been pushing for that since we see only this part of Delhi ( Humayun’s Tomb slide), we should also see the ancient part of Delhi. What does archeology mean? Archeology means the oldest known remains. So, what these people had done, ASI and Agha Khan foundation, they had created a plan in master plan of Delhi to name different areas of Delhi as archeological parks. There is a Mehrauli Archeological Park. And this whole area which is the Purana Qila area, they called it Deen Panaah Archeological Park. What does Deen Panaah have to do with archeology? Have you dug anything out and seen Deen Panaah written there?
Yes, we know that Humayun, when he came, very clearly mentioned in Ain-e-Akbari that Humayun settled in Purana Qila and built a wall with a plan to create a city called Deen Panaah for his religious people. But before he could complete Sher Shah Suri came and defeated him. And then when he comes back after five years, he rules only for a few months because he has a very sad fall from the library built by Sher Shah Suri. So the idea of making a city by the name of Deen Panaah did not happen. Then how do you identify that city as Deen Panaah? We fought for that and thankfully we got the name changed to Indraprastha Archeological Park. Now, if we have this Indraprastha Archeological Park why should we not have a museum to tell the history of Delhi from Indraprastha to till 1950 when India became a republic.
There is 1911 notification (slide) where they are protecting the Purana Qila. Before that in 1903 we have pictures to say that there used to be, till 1877 records of Indraprastha as a eve he district with revenue of 13 rupees. And with in that there was a proper basti of concrete housing. When the Britishers came to plan for their Imperial city, they identified the focal area of Indraprastha that is the Pandav area. Purana Qila was the central point of the Pandavas where they used to stay. The whole Indraprastha is a city state. It included Tilpat, Bagpat, Panipat and Sonipat and Indraprastha, just today as we gave Delhi and New Delhi city state. So this notification is in 1911 when the city was shifting capital, but before that in 1903 they had demolished lot of buildings there. Inside Purana Qila we find this old school building and a Kunti Temple. ASI officials tell me that they are not Medieval, they are not colonial, so they don’t have right to exist in Purana Qila.
There is a kilai Kona which is the Kushan where there is a temple, and a library and cells. No where do you find Sher Shah Suri mentioned, only Humayun. So Archeological Survey of India’s main objective is to preserve, conserve and protect the history of India, what are they doing to protect the 5000 years of history of India? Isn’t that deplorable? This is some of the findings of excavation of Purana Qila (slides). They found Ring wells, this is the site that was excavated. This is the plan we had given them that in the school building there will be a museum but the site that you have excavated, specially areas where you found ring wells and murti of Shiva etc. let us cover that with pre-fab structure with glass which is facing the liabrary. So people coming from outside can actually see the depth of Delhi’s antiquity. ASI somehow is not willing to do this, and we want to know why? Why are they scared to showcase Ancient India to the Indians?