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Monday, June 1, 2020

~the famed Red Fort - 'lal Qila'

For a visitor to the capital of India – there are so many historical places of interest .. ..  ‘Sengottai’  (Red Fort)  released in 1996  starring Arjun, Meena & Rambha had some good songs.  The film was later dubbed into Telugu as Errakota, and Hindi as Neerja.

The Dalmia Bharat Group is engaged in cement, sugar, thermal power and other businesses. Its subsidiaries include Avnija Properties Ltd and DCB Power Ventures Ltd. The Group traces its origin to Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited, established in 1939. After the Dalmia-Jain Group's split, it was controlled by Jaidayal, and later by his sons Jai Hari Dalmia and Yadu Hari Dalmia and now by their sons Gautam Dalmia and Puneet Dalmia.  After a few changes in the name,  Dalmia Bharat Ltd was adopted in 2012.

The Red Fort is a historic fort in the city of Delhi in India that served as the main residence of the Mughal Emperors. Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned construction of the Red Fort on 12 May 1638, when he decided to shift his capital from Agra to Delhi. Originally red and white, Shah Jahan's favourite colours, its design is credited to architect Ustad Ahmad Lahori, who also constructed the Taj Mahal. It was constructed between May 1639 and April 1648.

On 15 August 1947, the first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, raised the Indian national flag above the Lahori Gate and spoke those immortal words – ‘Long years ago... we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge’.  Every year on India's Independence Day, the prime minister hoists the Indian "tricolour flag" at the fort's main gate and delivers a nationally broadcast speech from its ramparts.

Constructed as the palace of fortified capital Shahjahanabad, the Red Fort is named for its massive enclosing walls of red sandstone. The imperial apartments consist of a row of pavilions, connected by a water channel known as the Stream of Paradise. The fort was plundered of its artwork and jewels during Nadir Shah's invasion of the Mughal Empire in 1747. Most of the fort's precious marble structures were subsequently destroyed by the British following the Revolt of 1857. The fort's defensive walls were largely spared, and the fortress was subsequently used as a garrison. The Red Fort was also the site where the British put the last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah II on trial before exiling him to Yangon (then Rangoon) in 1858.

Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned construction of the Red Fort on 12 May 1638, when he decided to shift his capital from Agra to Delhi.  Its  design is credited to architect Ustad Ahmad Lahori, who also constructed the Taj Mahal. The fort lies along the Yamuna River, which fed the moats surrounding most of the walls. The administrative and fiscal structure of the Mughal dynasty declined after Aurangzeb, and the 18th century saw a degeneration of the palace. In 1739, Persian emperor Nadir Shah easily defeated the Mughal army, plundering the Red Fort, including the Peacock Throne. Nadir Shah returned to Persia after three months, leaving a destroyed city and a weakened Mughal empire to Muhammad Shah. The weakened and defeated Mughals had a treaty in  1752 making the Marathas protectors of the throne at Delhi.  During the Second Anglo-Maratha War, forces of British East India Company defeated Maratha forces in the Battle of Delhi; this ended Maratha rule of the city and their control of the Red Fort.

Most of the jewels and artwork of the Red Fort were looted and stolen during Nadir Shah's invasion of 1747 and again after the failed Indian Rebellion of 1857 against the British. They were eventually sold to private collectors or the British Museum, British Library and the Victoria and Albert Museum. For example, the Koh-i-Noor diamond, the jade wine cup of Shah Jahan and the crown of Bahadur Shah II are all currently located in London. Various requests for restitution have so far been rejected by the British government.

1911 saw the visit of King George V and Queen Mary for the Delhi Durbar. In preparation for their visit, some buildings were restored. The INA trials, also known as the Red Fort Trials, refer to the courts-martial of a number of officers of the Indian National Army. The first was held in  1945 at the Red Fort. After Indian Independence, the Red Fort continued to be used as a military cantonment. A significant part of the fort remained under Indian Army control until 2003, when it was given to the Archaeological Survey of India for restoration.

The Red fort appears on the back of the ₹500 note of the Mahatma Gandhi New Series of the Indian rupee.  In April 2018, Dalmia Bharat Group adopted the Red Fort for maintenance, development, and operations, under the government's "Adopt A Heritage" scheme.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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