chapter  9
Disciplining Delhi: The 1857 uprising and remodelling of the urban landscape
ByJyoti Pandey Sharma
Pages 16

The urban landscape of many cities of the Indian Subcontinent is a carrier of the colonial architectural legacy. Perceived as heritage today, this corpus served as an instrument of control in the colonial era. Cities were remodelled in the aftermath of the 1857 uprising against British rule, known variously as the Indian Mutiny, Sepoy Rebellion and First War of Independence.The colonial state’s firm resolve to tame insurgency propelled the reordering of the built environment in what the British East India Company had regarded as Moufassil (subordinate) towns, owing to these towns’ support for the insurrection.While the events of 1857 remain one of the most extensively recorded events in British India’s political history, with the political, economic and social dimensions of the uprising receiving scholarly attention, the impact on the built environment remains relatively unexplored. This chapter examines the urban landscape of Moufassil towns through the eyes of a victorious but embattled colonial regime that resorted to architectural destruction to inscribe its hegemony in urban space. It presents an account of Delhi, one of the major centres of the uprising, where the colonial state’s post-1857 urban reprisal policy-aimed at creating a metropolitan spatial order-transformed the seventeenth-century Mughal,Tehzeebi Badshahi Dilli (urbane imperial Delhi) into nineteenth-century sanitized, salubrious and genteel British Delhi.