The Indian Parliament, often referred to as the “Temple of Democracy,” is the apex legislative body of the world’s largest democracy, and its relocation marks a momentous event in the nation’s journey. Shifting from the old Indian Parliament to the new Parliament is a historic and significant transition in the political landscape of India’s old Parliament.
The old Indian Parliament House, with its rich history and symbolic significance, will always be remembered as the heart of India’s democratic process during the formative years of the nation. It continues to stand as a symbol of India’s commitment to democracy, pluralism, and the rule of law
The idea of a central legislative building for India was conceived during the British colonial period. The foundation stone for the original Parliament House was laid on February 12, 1921, by the Duke of Connaught. It was designed by British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens in a blend of neoclassical and Mughal architectural styles.
Inauguration: The construction of Parliament House was completed in 1927, and it was inaugurated on January 18, 1927, by Lord Irwin, the then Viceroy of India. The building was initially intended to house the Council of State, the Legislative Assembly, and the Chamber of Princes, representing different aspects of the government.
After India gained independence in 1947, the old Parliament House became the seat of the newly formed Parliament of India. It played a pivotal role in the drafting and adoption of the Indian Constitution, which was adopted on January 26, 1950. The first President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, addressed the nation from the old Parliament House on this historic occasion.
The old Parliament House, with its circular design, central dome, and colonnades, is not only an architectural marvel but also a symbol of India’s democratic principles. The building’s design was intended to facilitate the free exchange of ideas and debates among the country’s elected representatives.
Important Debates and Legislation
Over the decades, the old Parliament House witnessed numerous important debates, discussions, and the passing of significant legislation that shaped the destiny of India. It was where leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, and others debated and worked towards building a new India.
The old Parliament House also witnessed challenging times during the Emergency Period from 1975 to 1977, when certain democratic freedoms were suspended. It was during this time that the building’s central hall saw heated debates and discussions.
The old Parliament House was the site of many historic events, including the swearing-in ceremonies of India’s Presidents and Prime Ministers, as well as the hosting of visiting foreign dignitaries and heads of state.
Why do we need the shifting of a new parliament?
The construction of a new parliament building in India was deemed necessary for several compelling reasons:
The old Indian Parliament building, known as Sansad Bhavan, had limited space to accommodate the growing number of lawmakers, staff, and visitors. India’s parliamentarians had outgrown the old building, making it increasingly challenging to conduct legislative proceedings efficiently.
The old Parliament House was not equipped with the modern technological infrastructure and amenities needed for efficient legislative functioning in the digital age. A new parliament building was designed to incorporate state-of-the-art technology, including advanced audio-visual systems, internet connectivity, and digital voting systems.
Accessibility and Inclusivity: The old building faced challenges in terms of accessibility for differently-abled individuals. The new Parliament building was designed to be more inclusive, with provisions for ramps, elevators, and other facilities to ensure that all citizens can participate in the democratic process.
India is prone to earthquakes, and the old Parliament House was not adequately designed to withstand seismic activity. The new building was constructed with advanced engineering techniques to enhance seismic resilience and ensure the safety of occupants.
Preservation of Heritage
While the old Parliament House has immense historical significance, it was important to preserve and protect this heritage structure from overuse and potential damage. Constructing a new building allowed for the conservation and restoration of the old one.
Efficiency and Functionality
The new Parliament building was designed to optimize the functionality of legislative proceedings. It features larger chambers for both the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and the Rajya Sabha (Council of States), as well as additional committee rooms and office spaces, enabling lawmakers to work more efficiently
Symbol of Modern India
The new Parliament building serves as a symbol of India’s progress and commitment to modernization while preserving its democratic values. It showcases India’s ability to adapt and evolve its infrastructure to meet the needs of a rapidly changing world.
In an era of heightened security concerns, the new Parliament building was designed with advanced security features to ensure the safety of lawmakers, staff, and visitors.
The new building incorporates sustainable and eco-friendly features, such as energy-efficient lighting and ventilation systems, to reduce its environmental impact.
Capacity for Future Growth
The new Parliament building has been designed with the capacity to accommodate the evolving needs of India’s democracy for decades to come, ensuring that it remains a functional and symbolically important structure well into the future.
Features of Shifting into New Parliament
- Can seat 888 MPs in Loksabha and 384 MPs in Rajyasabha, or 1272 MPs in a joint session.
- The grand constitutional Hall and the interiors have three national symbols: the lotus, peacock, and the banyan tree.
- The 3 main gates in the new parliament are Gyan Dwar, Shakti Dwar, and Karm Dwar.
- Legacy of Chola; sengol to be placed in new sansad. What will happen with the old parliament?
The old Parliament building, known as Sansad Bhavan, will not be demolished or abandoned. Instead, it will undergo a process of restoration, conservation, and adaptive reuse. Here are some of the likely plans for the old Parliament building:
Museum and Visitor Center
One of the proposed plans for the old Parliament building is to convert it into a museum and visitor center. This would allow the historic structure to be opened to the public, providing visitors with insights into the history of India’s parliamentary democracy and its evolution over the years.
Cultural and Educational Activities
The old Parliament building may also be used for cultural and educational purposes. It could host exhibitions, lectures, seminars, and other events that promote civic education and awareness of India’s democratic traditions.
The old building may continue to be used for symbolic functions, such as the swearing-in ceremonies of India’s Presidents and other significant events in the country’s political calendar.
Public Access: Making the old building accessible to the public, both from India and abroad, could serve as a means of promoting transparency, understanding, and engagement in the democratic process.
The exact plans for the old Parliament Building may evolve and will likely involve collaboration between government authorities, architectural experts, historians, and cultural institutions to ensure that it continues to serve as a significant and well-preserved symbol of India’s democracy and heritage.
Now it’s time to say goodbye to the old parliament and welcome the new parliament with open arms and lots of expectations.