The Garden Guide

Book: C.M Villiers Stuart Gardens of the Great Mughals
Chapter: Chapter 12 Some garden contrasts and a dream

Government House Garden New Delhi

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The interest, therefore, of the new capital centres in the Badshahi Mahal, the Imperial Palace and its gardens-Government House, to give it the chill Anglo-Indian name. What are public institutes and pleasure-grounds, fine secretariats, alien Gothic cathedrals, Grecian post-offices, Roman forums, beside the Indian home of the Father of his people, the palace buildings of an Emperor who is Vishnus Vice-Regent upon earth ? In a vast continent where temples, churches, mosques, forts, and even palaces but serve to mark and divide men and creeds, all might yet meet in a garden. Hindu and Moslem might both recognise their own symbols there, where the fountain mists and whispering trees would murmur to us of that power, the bhakti, which for all our restless Western cleverness we miss. There Indian women when they came to greet their Queen, or her representative, would each be welcomed by her own flowers and their legends, and the garden would speak for us better than we could ourselves. Laila would be there on her rose-bush mound or happy with her Majnum in the parterres; with scarlet asoka trees, Kama Devas perfumed buds, and tulsi in the terrace vases; while the Lilies of Our Lady and the Lotus of the Good Law would share the gardens with the pink rose of the Persian poets and the red rose of England. Nor need we confine ourselves and our Indian craftsmen to imaginative reproductions of the past. New needs and our modern wealth of flowers would give fresh life and added beauty to ancient symbols and ideas, charms to rival and surpass all the older Shalimars.