This TOI article says ' trams started operating in Delhi on March 6, 1908, at the behest of Lord Hardinge.'
But Lord Hardinge became Viceroy of India in 1910. And it was Lord Minto who was the incharge of India in 1908.
What am I missing?
|show 3 more comments|
From what evidence I have been able to find, the tramway opened in 1902, soon after electricity was introduced to the walled city ("old" Delhi). The Viceroy at the time was Lord Curzon.
As you have discovered, many newspaper articles have been quoting a different, but very specific date: March 6, 1908. The ultimate source for all of these articles appears in the article "History on Wheels" by Firoz Bakht Ahmed, which may have first appeared in the Deccan Times, but I have not been able to confirm that. This is the relevant quote from the article.
What I find interesting about the statement is that he has provided two very clear references for his work, which I have highlighted in bold. Not only is Hardinge mentioned, but John Marshall, who is a relatively minor player is specifically mentioned, giving the appearance that this sentence was copied directly from some source. (The word "behest" is also unusually archaic, making me more suspicious.) However, I looked in both sources, and strangely, I couldn't find anything like what he mentions in the article.
In Victor Gruen's "The Heart of Our Cities" I could find no reference to the tramway or Hardinge at all. It is hard to see where such a specific claim would be made in such a book; it is really a discussion of urban spread in the sixties. I found only one passing reference to Delhi, on page 19.
Ahmed Ali's "Twilight in Delhi" is a fictional novel written in 1939. It is searchable online at Google Books. I found a few references to the tram, but nothing that specifically called it a "vintage city". Hardinge is also mentioned in the book once, but there is nothing to support the claim in the "History on Wheels" article.
I found a very nice source for Delhi in this era: "Delhi Between Two Empires" by Narayani Gupta. It has copious references to primary source documents. Here is the relevant quote for the tramway (page 167):
The Fanshawe that Gupta talks about was the Chief Secretary to the Punjab Government and Commissioner of the Delhi Division. He wrote in the Punjab Municipal Proceedings 53A/July 1902. I haven't checked the source documentation myself, because I don't have access to them.