The birth of the new Indian nation on August 15th, 1947, created a capital that, while the inheritor of a rich cultural and architectural legacy, had no significant history of recent foreign representation. Positioning itself as a leader in South Asia, India sought to establish diplomatic relations with capitals on all continents, inviting friendly nations to cement ties by establishing missions in New Delhi. Independence brought with it the creation of a large civil service; partition, a massive influx of displaced people from newly created Pakistan. Accommodation was scarce for all, including the ever – increasing number of foreign governments seeking domicile in the Indian capital. The diplomatic enclave in Chanakyapuri, established in the early 1950s on yet undeveloped land just south of the Presidential Palace, Rashtrapati Bhawan, was conceived as part of the solution and generous allocations were made to countries based on personal, historical and political relationships. It was a rare and often, first – time opportunity for sending states to create unique, purpose – built diplomatic missions on territory reserved exclusively for their use.
Following the lead of the Apostolic Nunciature in 1955, more than 50 embassies from Africa, the Americas, Australasia and Europe have established themselves in Chanakyapuri since; 16 have remained either as Chanceries, Residences or Chancery – cum – Residences in the bungalow zone of the former Imperial Capital. Together, they account for close to half of the buildings for the world’s second largest bilateral diplomatic corps.
Delhi’s Diplomatic Domains offers for the first time a glimpse beyond the gates of over 40 of New Delhi’s purpose – built and heritage property foreign missions. Through archival material, anecdotal accounts, photographs and maps, the history of their establishment, historical relationships with India, as well as the architecture, interiors and landscaping of these diplomatic domains are revealed. “The book reminds all Delhiwallas and diplomats that history is being made each day. Those who don’t record it perish without a trace in this 12th city of New Delhi. Brilliant, informative and precise.” Aman Nath, Architectural Restorer and Writer “I learnt a few new things about Canada House. A ‘must read’.” Simon Cridland, Canadian High Commission “Very well written.A great accomplishment.” Embassy of Germany “Perfect. Beautiful pictures.” Ambassador of the Netherlands “A good read. You manage to say a lot with few words.” Embassy of Norway “Really very, very good!” Ambassador of Sweden “Valuable input to our diplomatic literature.” Ambassador of the Republic of the Sudan.
About the Author
Gladys Abankwa – Meier – Klodt was brought up in North America and Ghana by two career diplomats. A micro – biologist with two degrees from McGill University, Canada, she belatedly embraced her affinity for the creative arts and having nominally defected from the natural sciences, she has been writing, designing and training others to communicate across cultures for the last 15 years. Married to a German diplomat since 1988 and a veteran of several foreign postings, she moved to New Delhi in 2011. Lalit Verma, a former Tata Group executive, is the Founder and Director of Aurodhan Art Gallery in Pondicherry. A curator of numerous shows around the world, he has also hosted leading artists of local and international renown in his South Indian gallery. Lalit’s initial foray into photography was described by eminent American photographer Mary Ellen Mark as “beautiful work by a man who loves and understands India”. Having participated in several shows both nationally and internationally, these are Lalit’s first major photographs of architecture and interiors.