The business history of Delhi and leaders who shaped it

On 12 December 1911, exactly 100 years ago,  Calcutta lost its glory of being the capital of what was then a conglomerate of British ruled states. Delhi - the new seat of power required huge planning and infrastructure which was then taken care of by two leading British architects; Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker.

The efforts of these two architects gave birth to what was named New Delhi, and at the heart of the this city was created a business centre, Connaught Place.

Delhi’s industrial history goes back to the 1800s with its cloth mills. Reuters

Mumbai, has for a long time, held the prestige of being known as the 'financial capital' of India while Delhi is known as the political capital. But in this strict segregation we could be missing a point. We could be missing the “Business DNA” that is an integral part of Delhi, thanks to business families like the Dalmias, Thapars, Modis, Srirams, Katwals, Munjals, and Singhanias who began etching the history of the business ethos of the city.

Today a number of industries like real estate, tourism, power, media, IT have set their bases in and around Delhi. The city is, in fact the 7th most expensive hotspot when it comes to choosing office space, according to CNBC.

Delhi’s industrial history goes back to the 1800s with its cloth mills. But real expansion and change came about post partition due to the huge influx of refugees especially from Punjab, said Vinay Bharat Ram, chairman and managing director, DCM to CNBC.

The growth of these businesses is crucial historically as the financial history is intricately attached to the social and political history of Delhi. Even looking at modern times, Delhi with a per capita income of Rs 40,000 has seen many Firsts when it comes to business. Mc Donald’s first set up shop in India with Delhi, while Microsoft India also based itself out of Delhi. PVR Cinemas set up the first multiplex in Delhi and Ajay Bijli, chairman and managing director pf PVR says, it is the acceptance of multiplexes in Delhi both politically and by the consumers helped to spread the concept in other cities.

Delhi has many such business stories to boast of in its 100 years of history. CNBC TV 18, in a special series looks at the history of Delhi’s business life and those leaders who shaped it.

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Updated Date: Jan 24, 2012 20:52 PM

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