Many sacred geometrics celebrate triangles and trinities. The Sri Yantra uses a triangle, the three Gods or the Trinities are a triangle and therefore the triangle is sacred, says architect Bimal Patel on the triangular shape of the new Parliament House.
NEW DELHI: ‘If the old Parliament House gave direction to post-Independence India, the new building would become a witness to the creation of Aatmanirbhar Bharat,’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said on an earlier occasion. India’s modern yet traditional new Parliament building will be inaugurated on Sunday, 28 May, unveiling a new chapter in the history of Indian politics and architectural marvel.
The construction of the new Parliament building began in 2022. It has been designed by the Ahmedabad-based HCP Designs, led by Bimal Patel. Patel, the chief architect, is the man who conceived of and designed this new temple of democracy.
Patel likes to call his new “masterpiece” the true replica of “Rising India”. The new Parliament building incorporates Indian elements and showcases India as a rising power. The new Parliament building is triangular in shape and is built right next to the existing Parliament House. The triangular shape was chosen because of the “sacred geometrics” of the shape.
In an email conversation with The Sunday Guardian, Bimal Patel said, “Many sacred geometrics celebrate ‘triangles’ and ‘trinities’. The Sri Yantra uses a triangle, the three Gods or the Trinities are a triangle and therefore the triangle is sacred.”
Inside the new Parliament building, like the existing one, there will be both the Lok Sabha (the Lower House) and the Rajya Sabha (Upper House). The Lok Sabha will be in the north-west corner of the building, while the Rajya Sabha will be in the south-west corner. A lounge for MPs will be at the eastern corner. Both Houses—the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha—will have added seating capacity and according to the new design, the Lok Sabha will be able to accommodate 700-plus members, while the Rajya Sabha will have a seating capacity of 500-plus members.
Since the new Parliament building will not have a separate Central Hall unlike the existing building where the joint session of Parliament is held and which also acts as a lounge for the Members of Parliament, the new building has a courtyard that would act as the Central Hall and a central space called the Constitution Gallery, where MPs would be able to hang out and have conversations with colleagues and peers. The courtyard would also house a large banyan tree, symbolising India’s values, strength and vision. The design and look of both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha have been kept in their traditional green and red, respectively, but the architect and designer explains that a lot of thought and detailing have going into the selection of the carpets, the design and the look of how these two most important chambers should look like. Bimal Patel told The Sunday Guardian, “We have kept the traditional green and red colour theme for Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha respectively, but have added multiple elements of India into the design of both the Houses. The theme of the Lok Sabha is kept keeping in mind the national bird, peacock, while the theme of the Rajya Sabha has been done with the lotus in mind. The Lok Sabha, if seen from a distance, would look like the colours in the feather of the peacock, where the shade of green gets darker as you move closer to the Chair of the Lok Sabha Speaker.”
The carpets and ceiling of the Lok Sabha have been designed keeping the peacock motif on mind, while the ceiling of the Rajya Sabha is designed keeping the lotus motif on mind. Also, both Houses of the new Parliament would have natural light coming in from the outside, which is missing in the old Parliament building. For this, the designers have created exceptionally beautiful jaalis (grille work) themed with peacock and lotus for both the Houses, with verses from the Indian Constitution inscribed in them. The custom-made carpets of the Parliament will have 120 knots per square inch, and has been made by 900 weaver families from 25 villages in Badhoi district of Uttar Pradesh. Unlike the old Parliament building which has a bench style seating arrangement, the new building has a two-seater seating arrangement, which has been designed after carefully studying several Parliament houses from across the globe. MPs will have places to keep their files, and tablets. A new and advanced acoustic system has also been put in place in the new Parliament building. The new building will also have the National Emblem mounted on top of the building. The central mounting structure will represent the secular democracy of India, with multiple windows just below it to showcase the diversity of India. However, the central space of the building, with arms leading to the entrances, will be called the Constitution Hall. The three entrances that lead to this central hall will be public galleries, where some important materials related to the Parliament and the republic will be located. The Constitution Hall will have sculptures and portraits of parliamentarians, and other images representing various aspects of India. To the east of the Constitution Hall, a space will be created called the Constitution Gallery. The original Constitution of India will be displayed here. The new Parliament building was necessitated after due deliberations and keeping in mind the crumbling infrastructure of the old and existing building, that not only lacks infrastructure, but also lacks seating space within the House, where MPs have to jostle around to get in and out of their seats. The increased number of seating in both the Houses of the new Parliament building gives an opportunity to increase the number of public representatives in Parliament, keeping in mind the growing population of India. Currently, the Lok Sabha has 545 members representing more than 1.4 billion people, while the Rajya Sabha has 250 members. The appropriation of the Lok Sabha seats was last done in 1977 on the basis of the 1971 census and at the time, on an average, every Lok Sabha member represented 10 lakh voters. However, this has changed massively and now, on an average, an MP represents 20-25 lakh people. A Lok Sabha member from Bihar represents 25 lakh voters, while an MP from Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh represents 30 lakh voters. As of today, the smallest five Lok Sabha seats have 8 lakh voters between them, while the largest five have almost 1.3 crore voters. The Constitutional fathers had inserted Article 82 into the Constitution which stipulates for reallocation of a revised number of Lok Sabha seats after every census, based on updated population figures. Until 1976, after every census, a Delimitation Commission was set up to carve out constituencies based on the latest census, as Article 82 had called for. However, the Forty-Second Constitutional amendment enacted in 1976—which was brought during the Emergency period by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi—suspended the revision of seats until after the 2001 Census. Twenty-six years later, in February 2002, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government delayed the reallocation further by passing the Eighty-Fourth Amendment and extending the freeze on delimitation until 2026. In this manner, inter-state justice and harmony was maintained. As things stand, the next delimitation of constituencies is likely to take place after the freeze ends in 2026 and will be based on the first census post the freeze that will take place in 2031. It is only after this that the number of seats in Parliament can be increased.