With the parliamentary proceedings now relocated to the new building, attention turns towards the historic old parliament building, sparking curiosity about its future.
Designed by British architects Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker in 1912-1913 and completed in 1927, the foundation stone for this iconic structure was laid by HRH Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, in February 1921. It took five years to construct this architectural marvel.
On January 18, 1927, Sir Bhupendra Nath Mitra, Member of the Governor-General’s Executive Council overseeing the Department of Industries and Labour, invited Lord Irwin, then Viceroy of India, to inaugurate the building. It was in this 96-year-old edifice that Jawaharlal Nehru delivered his historic “midnight hour” speech, and the Indian Constitution was adopted.
However, the old building had become inadequate for contemporary needs, particularly in terms of modern information technology facilities and offices for Members of Parliament (MPs). In 2001, the building faced a security breach when five terrorists from Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), both Pakistan-based terrorist organizations, attempted to invade the premises.
More about the old parliament building:
Government officials have assured that the old parliament building will not face demolition. Instead, it will undergo retrofitting to create more functional spaces for parliamentary events. The national archives will relocate to the new parliament building. This move will facilitate heritage-sensitive restoration efforts and offer additional space to the building.
In 2021, the then Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, made a statement in the Rajya Sabha. He declared that they would repair and repurpose the existing structure for alternative use. There is even consideration of transforming it into a national museum.
The new parliament building has seating capacity for 888 members in the Lok Sabha chamber. Similarly, it has 300 seats in the Rajya Sabha chamber. It can accommodate 1,280 MPs during joint sittings of both houses. As the old parliament building transitions into a new phase, its historical significance remains intact. And its future promises to be equally significant in preserving India’s rich heritage and culture.