Ed’s History Challenge: Turkman GAte


Here is a photo of one more of the Gates of The Walled City of Delhi. The Walled City, as I mentioned, was originally called Shahjahanabad, after the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, who built it.

There are four gates that still exist – Kashmere Gate (which, I put up last week), Turkman Gate, Ajmeri Gate, and Delhi Gate. Some of the Gates were named after the city to which they pointed. So, Lahori Gate (which does not exist anymore) pointed towards Lahore. The area is still called Lahori Gate.

Anyway, Turkman Gate does not point towards Turkey, nor is it pronounced like Turkey. I won’t go into the pronunciation, as it is difficult for the Western tongue.

It is named after the Sufi Saint Hazrat Shah Turkman Babayani.

There is a bit of very sad, modern Indian history associated with this Gate. Our late Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi slapped an Emergency in India in 1976. Her rather brutish son, Sanjay Gandhi launched a demolition drive to clear slums. When the largely Muslim population of the area protested against this, he ordered the police to fire upon them, killing many. This happened in April 1976. The government ordered the press not to report the brutality and the massacre, but thanks to international media like the BBC, news of the massacre spread through India.

Unlike China, or other such countries, we have always cherished the freedom of our press. This was one time, however, when the press did not live up to their cherished ideal of impartial reportage

Yet, while we protest against the Muslim or British brutality of the earlier centuries, we modern Indians are hardly paragons of peaceful virtue.


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