Twin cities can be fascinating as the same geography encompassing two distinct places can be a very interesting subject. The best example of twin cities is Secunderabad and Hyderabad. There is a bit of distinctiveness about two cities that are same yet different. The same is true for Kochi and Ernakulam though in this case the difference is less pronounced. Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar are not twin cities in that sense. People also speak about Durg Raipur or Kota Boondi in the same vein though these are separated by considerable distance and may not even have common border.
Readers must be wondering the context of the above and its relation to the caption of this blog. Actually, I am on a visit to Guwahati and amongst the important things on my agenda was a trip to Dispur, capital of Assam. In our student days, I was quite good at remembering state capitals but twice lost out on marks by naming Guwahati to be the capital of Assam instead of Dispur. But I always wondered if indeed Dispur was capital why was it not gaining popularity and attracting tourists and investors the way the then newly created another capital Gandhinagar was doing! Another case in the point is now being newly set up capital of Andhra- Amaravati, upon division of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh into Telangana and Seemandhra! It’s attracting lots of attention and interest. Why then Dispur has remained so nondescript and relatively unknown, adorning only GK books? I have answers to the above questions now as discerned from my conversations with locals. Upon division of the erstwhile unified state of Assam into NE states, the erstwhile capital of the unified Assam, Shillong became part of the newly created state of Meghalaya and Assam needed a new capital. The decision makers identified a patch of vacant land within Guwahati to create Dispur. In fact, it’s very much embodied in Guwahati and while traveling across the length and breadth of Guwahati you come across this patch called Dispur!
While government may have its logic or compulsions in naming an area within Guwahati to be the capital of Assam and name it Dispur, for me Dispur is nothing but part of Guwahati like Khanapara, Fancy Bazar or Paltan Bazar – the same way like Bandra, Andheri and Borivali are parts of Mumbai and Karol Bagh and Connaught Place are parts of Delhi!
I am having a lovely visit to this lovely state and lovely city, the land of Maa Kamakhya and have no problem with Dispur but I would request my teachers to please return that 1 mark deducted twice in 1975 and 1976 for even if Dispur was the right answer, writing Guwahati shouldn’t have been treated as a wrong answer! 😀