The Punjabi invaders, as they have been often called, not without justification –may have left behind, they brought with them something invaluable. It was vitality, a sturdy sense of self-reliance, a relentless drive to make good once again and a prodigious capacity for hard work.
It is true that compared with the courtesies and graces that went out with the older residents the surging confidence of the newcomers was both crude and aggressive. But thank God for Punjabi enterprise. But for it, Delhi would never have been the bourgeoning, brilliant, booming and beautiful city that it is today.
Nehru, who took a keen interest in all issues ranging from Nuclear tests to choked drains, discovered to his dismay that, far from there being a plan to look after Delhi’s drainage, even a contour map of the capital did not exist. It was then that a halt was called to chaotic expansion. A master plan for the development of the metropolitan area was framed and a Delhi development authority formed.
Neither the master plan is free from faults nor has the DDA a complete elimination of the conflicting jurisdictions of a multiplicity of bureaucratic agencies consisting of abominate no-men, constantly at odds with one another. But both innovations mark a major improvement on what existed before and they have Delhi’s phenomenal growth from turning, literally and metaphorically, into a fatal explosion.