This Article First Appeared In The Newyorker On Sept 7, 2023.
Earlier this year, I joined Jawhar Sircar, a member of the Indian Parliament, on his short commute to work. He and his fellow-M.P.s lodge in a state-owned apartment complex on a prime lot of what the locals call Lutyens’s Delhi, in honor of the British architect Edwin Lutyens, who designed the heart of the Indian capital a century ago. When I arrived, a security officer was washing dishes in a hose-fed basin beside a green military tent that had been pitched in the courtyard. Just across the street, the core government and cultural institutions of the world’s largest democracy stretched out along the Central Vista, a nearly two-mile-long green space that Lutyens developed in emulation of Washington, D.C.,’s National Mall.