Why was New Delhi chosen as India’s capital in the last century? Was it the most convenient choice? An obvious option it was not — Mumbai and Chennai are on the coastline, Bengaluru has the salubrious climate and genteel folk. Why not just stay put in Kolkata, the original capital? How would India have developed if its polyculture radiated from a different city? What would happen to the rashtrabhasha debate? Four writers pause and imagine what life in their city would be like, if it was the capital of the country.
Had the Centre been closer to the margin, could we have avoided alienating the Northeast? Ruchir Joshi traces the history of India’s twice-spurned capital, Calcutta (now Kolkata)
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A city where sewage odour is an iconic smell and vet hospitals replace libraries, Nityanand Jayaraman imagines Chennai as the national capital through news reports
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Could Bengaluru’s polycultural roots have saved us from years lost to the hot air of rashtrabhasha, wonders Arul Mani
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With new heroes and architectural marvels, Mumbai could reflect a somewhat shinier India, says Ramu Ramanathan