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Red Fort Dccumentary- New Delhi

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Red Fort Dccumentary- New Delhi

Description

“Lal Qila” redirects here. For other uses, see Lal Qila (disambiguation).
This article is about the Red Fort in Delhi. It is not to be confused with Red Fort, Muzaffarabad.

The Red Fort or Lal Qila (Hindustani: [laːl qiːlaː]) is a historic fort in the Old Delhi neighbourhood of Delhi, India, that historically served as the main residence of the Mughal emperors. Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned construction of the Red Fort on 12th May 1638, when he decided to shift his capital from Agra to Delhi. Originally red and white, its design is credited to architect Ustad Ahmad Lahori, who also constructed the Taj Mahal. The fort represents the peak in Mughal architecture under Shah Jahan and combines Persianate palace architecture with Indian traditions.

The fort was plundered of its artwork and jewels during Nader Shah’s invasion of the Mughal Empire in 1739. Most of the fort’s marble structures were subsequently demolished by the British following the Indian Rebellion of 1857. The fort’s defensive walls were largely undamaged, and the fortress was subsequently used as a garrison.

On 15 August 1947, the first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, raised the Indian flag above the Lahori Gate. Every year on India’s Independence Day (15 August), the prime minister hoists the Indian tricolour flag at the fort’s main gate and delivers a nationally broadcast speech from its ramparts through the Public Address System of Indian Army Signals.

The Red Fort was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007 as part of the Red Fort Complex.

Etymology
The name Red Fort is a translation of the Hindustani Lāl Qila (Hindi: लाल क़िला, Urdu: لال قلعہ),[3][4] deriving from its red sandstone walls. Lal was derived from Hindustani language meaning “Red” and Qalàh derived from Arabic word meaning “Fortress”. As the residence of the imperial family, the fort was originally known as the “Blessed Fort” (Qila-i-Mubārak). Agra Fort is also known as Lāl Qila.

History

Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, c. 1630
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. The fort lies along the Yamuna River, which fed the moats surrounding most of the walls. Construction began in the sacred Islamic month of Muharram, on 13 May 1638.: 01  Supervised by Shah Jahan, it was completed on 6 April 1648. Unlike other Mughal forts, the Red Fort’s boundary walls are asymmetrical to contain the older Salimgarh Fort.: 04  The fortress-palace was a focal point of the city of Shahjahanabad, which is present-day Old Delhi. Shah Jahan’s successor, Aurangzeb, added the Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque) to the emperor’s private quarters, constructing barbicans in front of the two main gates to make the entrance to the palace more circuitous.: 08

Image shows Red Fort’s long walls including the gates as seen from Jama Masjid’s tower. The walls can be seen in the background extending a couple of thousand meters.
The walls of Red Fort (in the background) as seen from the top of Jama Masjid’s tower
The administrative and fiscal structure of the Mughal dynasty declined after Aurangzeb, and the 18th century saw a degeneration of the palace. In 1712 Jahandar Shah became the Mughal Emperor. Within a year of beginning his rule, Shah was murdered and replaced by Farrukhsiyar. In 1739, Persian emperor Nadir Shah easily defeated the strong Mughal army of around 200,000 soldiers, 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.: 09  The internal weakness of the Mughal Empire made the Mughals only titular rulers of Delhi, and a 1752 treaty made the Marathas protectors of the throne at Delhi. The 1758 Maratha victory at Sirhind aided by the Sikhs and successive defeat at Panipat placed them in further conflict with Ahmad Shah Durrani.

In 1760, the Marathas removed and melted the silver ceiling of the Diwan-i-Khas to raise funds for the defence of Delhi from the armies of Ahmed Shah Durrani. In 1761, after the Marathas lost the third battle of Panipat, Delhi was raided by Ahmed Shah Durrani. Ten years later, the Marathas, acting on the behest and as mercenary of the exiled Emperor Shah Alam, recaptured Delhi from the Rohilla Afghans. Mahadji Scindia, the commander of Maratha army bowed to Mughal Emperor Shah Alam to demonstrate his submission to him.Thus, Shah Alam was restored to the throne.

In 1764, the Jat ruler of Bharatpur, Maharaja Jawahar Singh (the son of Maharaja Suraj Mal) attacked Delhi and captured the Red Fort of Delhi on 5 February 1765.Two days later, after taking tribute from the Mughals, removed their armies from the fort and the Jats took away the throne of the Mughals, called the pride of the Mughals, and the doors of the Red Fort as a memorial, and this throne is today enhancing the beauty of the palaces of Deeg. The doors are located in the Lohagarh Fort of Bharatpur.

In 1783 Sikh Misls led by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, Jassa Singh Ramgarhia, and Baghel Singh conquered Delhi and the Red Fort. All allied with a 40,000 force, looted the area from Awadh to Jodhpur. After negotiations, the Sikhs forces agreed to leave Delhi and reinstate the Mughal emperor Shah Alam II. The condition of their retreat included the construction of seven Sikh Gurdwaras in Delhi, including the Gurudwara Sis Ganj in Chandni Chowk.

In 1788, a Maratha garrison occupied the Red Fort and Delhi alongside providing protection to the Mughal Emperor. Mahadji Scindia signed a treaty with the Sikhs where they were warned not to enter Delhi or ask for the Rakhi tribute. The fort came under the control of the East India Company following the Second Anglo-Maratha War in 1803.

During the Second Anglo-Maratha War, forces of the East India Company defeated Maratha forces of Daulat Rao Scindia in the Battle of Delhi; this ended Maratha control over the city and their control of the Red Fort.[28] After the battle, the British East India Company took over the administration of Mughal territories and installed a Resident at the Red Fort.: 11  The last Mughal emperor to occupy the fort, Bahadur Shah II, became a symbol of the 1857 rebellion against the British East India Company in which the residents of Shahjahanabad participated.: 15

Despite its position as the seat of Mughal power and its defensive capabilities, the Red Fort was not a site of an engagement during the 1857 uprising against the British. After the rebellion was defeated, Bahadur Shah II left the fort on 17 September and was apprehended by British forces. Bahadur Shah Zafar II returned to Red Fort as a British prisoner, was tried in 1858 and exiled to Rangoon on 7 October of that year.After the end of the rebellion, the British sacked the Red Fort before ordering its systemic demolition. 80% of the fort’s buildings were demolished as a result of this effort, including the stone screen that connected the pavilions along the fort’s river-facing façade, which was demolished. All furniture was removed or destroyed; the harem apartments, servants’ quarters and gardens were demolished, and a line of stone barracks built in their place. Only the marble buildings on the east side at the imperial enclosure escaped complete destruction, although they were damaged by the demolition efforts. While the defensive walls and towers were relatively unharmed, more than two-thirds of the inner structures were demolished.

Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India from 1899 to 1905, ordered repairs to the fort including reconstruction of the walls and the restoration of the gardens complete with a watering system

Most of the jewels and artwork located in the Red Fort were looted during Nadir Shah’s invasion of 1747 and again after the Indian Rebellion of 1857 against the British. They were eventually sold to private collectors or the British Museum, the British Library and the Victoria and Albert Museum. For example, 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.

 

1.Map of Red Fort showing major structures
2.Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, c. 1630

 

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