Delhi Gate

Delhi Gate faces back towards Delhi — in Delhi, there’s Lahore Gate, which faces towards Lahore. Standing by the gate, with my friends, was a little heartbreaking. There should be free commerce between the two gates, a flow of people and goods and stories. Instead, when I post these photos, I keep seeing comments from Indian people who can’t get a visa to Pakistan, and Pakistani people who can’t get a visa to India.

That feeling is ever-present for me here — the divisions created by Partition, the grief of kith and kin, severed and separated. I’m not an expert in Partition history, or in contemporary political science for the area, but it seems clear that colonial British government has a lot to answer for.

The current national governments of these two countries could do a lot better too.


From Wikipedia:

“Delhi Gate (Urdu: دہلی دروازه‬, romanized: Delhī Darwāzā) is one of six remaining historic gates of the Walled City of Lahore, Pakistan. Delhi Gate and the adjacent Shahi Hammam were restored in 2015 by the Aga Khan Cultural Service Pakistan.

The Delhi Gate was originally built during the Mughal period, and is now known as the Chitta Gate, about 100 metres west of the new Delhi Gate. The gate was named after Delhi since the gate opened east, in the general direction of that city. During the Mughal era, the gate served as the main gateway to Lahore, and its doors were shut every evening. The surrounding area includes several buildings of historical significance including the 17th century Wazir Khan Mosque, Shahi Hammam, and havelis. “The original 13 gates around the city of Lahore were built by the third Mughal emperor Akbar in the mid 1600s. These thirteen gates provided access to the city of Lahore which was once enclosed within a thirty feet high fortified wall, built by the same Mughal emperor”.

The gate was once part of Lahore’s city walls, which were torn down by the British after the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. The gate itself was also destroyed by the British, but was reconstructed in the 19th century under the British Raj. Following the Partition of British India, the gate housed a girls’ school. The gate is mentioned by Rudyard Kipling in his 1891 short story “The City of Dreadful Night.” Lahore’s famous Zamzama Gun was originally placed at Delhi Gate, but was relocated by the British to a site in front of the Lahore Museum.

Delhi Gate has been restored and is now illuminated at night; it features a small market inside the walls.”,_Lahore

The Lahore Gate is the main entrance to the Red Fort in Delhi:,_Delhi


Here’s the Kipling story referenced — it’s short; I’ve just skimmed it, and it seems a thoroughly colonialist story of that era. Mostly to be summarized as “It’s so hot here, I don’t know how human beings can stand it.”

Are we supposed to feel sorry for poor Kipling, colonial administrator? Hm. Not his best work.


“The dense wet heat that hung over the face of land, like a blanket, prevented all hope of sleep in the first instance. The cicalas helped the heat; and the yelling jackals the cicalas. It was impossible to sit still in the dark, empty, echoing house and watch the punkah beat the dead air. So, at ten o’clock of the night, I set my walking-stick on end in the middle of the garden, and waited to see how it would fall. It pointed directly down the moonlit road that leads to the City of Dreadful Night. The sound of its fall disturbed a hare. She limped from her form and ran across to a disused Mahomedan burial-ground, where the jawless skulls and rough-butted shank-bones, heartlessly exposed by the July rains, glimmered like mother o’ pearl on the rain-channelled soil. The heated air and the heavy earth had driven the very dead upward for coolness’ sake. The hare limped on; snuffed curiously at a fragment of a smoke-stained lamp-shard, and died out, in the shadow of a clump of tamarisk trees.

The mat-weaver’s hut under the lee of the Hindu temple was full of sleeping men who lay like sheeted corpses. Overhead blazed the unwinking eye of the Moon. Darkness gives at least a false impression of coolness. It was hard not to believe that the flood of light from above was warm. Not so hot as the Sun, but still sickly warm, and heating the heavy air beyond what was our due. Straight as a bar of polished steel ran the road to the City of Dreadful Night; and on either side of the road lay corpses disposed on beds in fantastic attitudes–one hundred and seventy bodies of men. Some shrouded all in white with bound-up mouths; some naked and black as ebony in the strong light; and one–that lay face upwards with dropped jaw, far away from the others–silvery white and ashen gray…”…/the-city-of-dreadful…

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