Delhi in a Way Reflects the National Mood
Published: 13th Apr 2014 06:00:00 AM
I came to Delhi in 1986 and at that time there was nothing beyond AIIMS; no Vasant Kunj, Mayur Vihar or even Noida and Gurgaon as people were not living in those areas. Nearly three decades later today, I can say I saw Delhi growing in front of me and I could see how the landscape of the city completely changed. It has become more cosmopolitan, more dynamic, more vibrant and more consumerist.
Delhi is a city of immigrants. People here are more professional as they have left their homeland and come with aspirations and dreams to achieve, which Delhi helps them do. I was one among them when I joined Jawaharlal Nehru University. I feel that Delhi, in a way, reflects the national mood as here you find people from all over India; so, after a fashion, it represents a mini India. It also reflects the new India, an aspirational India.
The best thing about the city is its diversity as people from all religions and states live together. You can find Bengalis in Chittaranjan Park; South Indians, especially Tamils in R K Puram and likewise, people from many other states who harmoniously live in Delhi. So many students from the Northeast come here to study and Delhi University and JNU are examples of diversity.
If you go to Old Delhi, it is a different world altogether as people here are more emotional. The moment you move out of the congested bylanes of the walled city, people are more argumentative and rational. Chandni Chowk is also probably the best example of secularism, as here, on one street you will find a Jain temple, a Hindu temple, a gurdwara, a church and a mosque.
Old Delhi’s cuisine is also something that attracts anyone who comes to the capital and I, too, was unable to resist its charm. I remember spending long hours with friends in Chandni Chowk during my student days.
Another thing that I love about the city is its heritage. We have such a rich cultural heritage and so many monuments. Delhi is easily a tourist’s paradise with so many lovely gardens and monuments among other things.
But the tourism potential has not been fully exploited and many aspects including security and transport facilities need to be improved to achieve that.
One thing I dislike about Delhi is that everyone here is a power player and tries to show off authority in any argument. Like, I know this politician or that IPS or IAS officer and that leader is my friend or relative. It seems nothing works in Delhi unless you know any a senior government official or a powerful person. “Tu janta nahin main kaun hun? (Don’t you know who I am?)” is now synonymous with Delhiites.
Two other important things that need to be attended to are cleanliness and JJ clusters, which are virtually living hells. If we will not do anything to handle them, a day will come when clusters will become unmanageable.
In order to make Delhi a city of international standards, cleanliness should be tackled urgently. Traffic congestion and pollution are other big problems that need to be seriously looked at. Growing numbers of cars on roads is one of the main reasons for traffic congestion.
With hundreds of cars being added to the existing fleet every day, I can’t even imagine what will happen to the city traffic in the coming years. All of us together should sincerely think about it and try to find a solution.
(A former journalist, Ashutosh is contesting Lok Sabha poll from Chandni Chown as AAP candidate)
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