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Samvidhan Sadan Renaming: Bold Step by PM Modi Draws Praise and Controversy ; Old Parliament Building Is Now 96 years old

Samvidhan Sadan Renaming : The old parliament building, a masterpiece of architectural excellence, was completed in 1927 and has now aged gracefully for 96 years. As time progressed, it became evident that the building’s design and infrastructure were ill-suited to contemporary legislative needs.

New Delhi,19 September(City Times): Samvidhan Sadan Renaming: In a historic announcement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi revealed that the venerable old parliament building, an architectural gem designed by British architects Sir Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker, would now bear the name “Samvidhan Sadan,” which translates to “Constitution House.” This momentous declaration took place during the Prime Minister’s farewell address within the old parliament premises, signalling a significant transition to the new parliament building, which will henceforth serve as the official legislative center.

A Symbolic Departure To Old Parliament Building

“Today, as we bid adieu to this hallowed parliamentary ground and set our sights on the new parliament building, the auspicious occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi lends a profound significance to our journey,” articulated Prime Minister Modi.

Addressing the gathered Members of Parliament, flanked by the speakers of both houses, the Prime Minister made a heartfelt plea.

“I earnestly beseech you, and with full faith, I trust you will deliberate upon this matter. As we embark on this transition to our new abode, let us ensure that the legacy of this distinguished institution never diminishes. It should not merely be referred to as the ‘old parliament.’ With your consent, I propose that we christen this monumental structure as ‘Samvidhan Sadan’—a name that eternally binds it to the memories of the stalwarts of our Constituent Assembly. This is an opportunity to bequeath a precious gift to generations to come,” implored PM Modi.(Samvidhan Sadan Renaming)

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The Old Parliament Building, A Masterpiece of Architectural Excellence

The old parliament building, a masterpiece of architectural excellence, was completed in 1927 and has now aged gracefully for 96 years. As time progressed, it became evident that the building’s design and infrastructure were ill-suited to contemporary legislative needs.

Addressing the Lok Sabha on the previous day, Prime Minister Modi paid his heartfelt respects to every facet of the old building. He conveyed that the Members of Parliament would enter the new parliament building with renewed optimism and confidence.(Samvidhan Sadan Renaming)

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Preservation and Adaptation: Old Parliament Building Will Not Meet The Fate Of Demolition

Government sources have affirmed that the old parliament building will not meet the fate of demolition but will instead undergo “retrofitting” to provide more functional spaces for parliamentary events. Some reports have even suggested the possibility of converting a portion of the old building into a museum.

Sources assert that the historic structure will be preserved, recognizing its status as an invaluable archaeological asset of the nation. This decision underscores a commitment to honoring the building’s rich history and its role in India’s democratic journey.(Samvidhan Sadan Renaming)

Imperial Legislative Council from 18 January 1927 to 15 August 1947

The Old Parliament House, known as “Purani Sansad Bhavan” in Hindi, served as the seat of the Imperial Legislative Council from 18 January 1927 to 15 August 1947, the Constituent Assembly of India from 15 August 1947 to 26 January 1950, and the Parliament of India from 26 January 1950 to 18 September 2023. For 73 years, it housed the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, the lower and upper houses, respectively, of India’s bicameral parliament.(Samvidhan Sadan Renaming)

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Old Parliament Building was designed by British architects Sir Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker

This remarkable structure was designed by British architects Sir Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker in 1912-1913 and was completed in 1927. It was inaugurated in January 1927 as the seat of the Imperial Legislative Council. Subsequent to India’s independence, the building served as the seat of the Constituent Assembly from 1947 to 1950, during which the Constitution of India was meticulously crafted under the stewardship of Rajendra Prasad.(Samvidhan Sadan Renaming)

The New Parliament House A Continued Legacy

The New Parliament House, constructed near the old building on a triangular plot from 2020 to 2023, was inaugurated on 28 May 2023. It was a pivotal component of the Indian government’s Central Vista Redevelopment Project.(Samvidhan Sadan Renaming)

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Central Vista Redevelopment Project

Proposals for a new parliament building emerged in the early 2010s due to concerns about the stability of the original structure. In 2012, a committee was established to explore alternatives to the building’s usage.(Samvidhan Sadan Renaming)

In 2019, the Indian government initiated the Central Vista Redevelopment Project, a multi-billion-dollar endeavour aimed at revitalizing India’s central administrative area near Raisina Hill, New Delhi. The project includes the construction of a new parliament building, alongside redeveloping the Rajpath area to create a new office and residence for the Indian Prime Minister, consolidating all ministerial buildings in a single central secretariat.

Museum of Democracy:

After the inauguration of the New Parliament House, the old parliament building is slated to be transformed into a Museum of Democracy. This transition underscores the building’s continued significance in preserving India’s democratic heritage.(Samvidhan Sadan Renaming)

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Historical Incidents: old parliament building has borne witness to significant events

  • Throughout its storied history, the old parliament building has borne witness to significant events, both triumphs, and challenges. In 1929, the revolutionary Bhagat Singh, associated with the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA), threw low-intensity bombs from the visitors’ gallery into the hall of the Central Legislative Assembly, now the chamber of the Lok Sabha. Singh’s actions were aimed at protesting British imperialism and inspiring Indians to fight against the colonial government.
  • In 2001, the old parliament building experienced an act of terror when five terrorists from Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) attempted to invade the premises. The attack resulted in the tragic deaths of several security personnel, escalating tensions between India and Pakistan and leading to the 2001–02 India–Pakistan standoff.

Prime Minister Modi’s announcement, the renaming of the old parliament building, and the inauguration of the New Parliament House signify not only a physical relocation but also a symbolic moment in India’s legislative history. “Samvidhan Sadan” will forever serve as a reminder of the nation’s unwavering commitment to the constitutional principles that underpin its democracy, a beacon of continuity amidst change.(Samvidhan Sadan Renaming)

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