Giraj's Blogs

Of That F#%^&@$ Central Vista Project & Dharnas

Dilliwalahs frustrations have never found appropriate expressions dropping off their tongue as fluently as in recent times. At least not since the time when our man AK sat on a dharna at LG’s home on 2018 while still being a CM (now, that was F#%^&@$ hilarious). These days, whenever you mention the arrogant Central Vista Project – it’s like that heavily spiced up Papdi Chaat. Normally Dilliwalahs get on to expletives only after two or three palatable adjectives but for the Central Vista Project their reactions begin with the choicest abuses of the Delhi-6 variety (if you can’t guess these – you don’t know your Delhi too well!).  

Logically speaking, some of these apprehensions are misplaced though. For example take the impact on city’s pollution. That such massive construction (and demolition) activity will impact the concentration of PM 10 particles in Delhi’s air is untrue because the project has the blessings of the supreme leader (no wonder these particles are called ‘PM’!) who has the vision to see what ever radars can’t. Remember Surgical Strike – so the PM would have figured it all out so relax Dilliwalahs.

Apparently the first sacrificial goat of this endeavour helmed by the Central Government – is the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, IGNCA. IGNCA will be packed into Janpath Hotel and then that Ralph Lerner designed sprawling complex will be demolished to allow fresh construction of office complexes. How would IGNCA, that is spread over 28 acres, fit in to this hotel building is a puzzle that may need an Aryabhatta or Ramanujam to solve? And what about the library at IGNCA that houses a collection of over 2.5 lakhs items with over a thousand volumes of rare publications? We know that the ruling dispensation has two geniuses from Gujarat and they do not need any books for their style of governance (all they need are a few industrialists, some religious gurus, 8 pm broadcasts and some screaming journalists) – but then a whole lot of scholars and other lesser mortals are not as accomplished. But then who care about scholars anymore – as it is the jails are full. Suddenly that last minute arbitrary withdrawal of the application by the Centre that killed Delhi’s chance of being the first city in India with a World Heritage City tag seems to be a well-crafted move by these schemers. Cry Delhi cry!  As Mir Taqi Mir said: Usko falak ne loot ke barbaad kar diya; Hum rehnewale hain usi ujde dayaar ke (the city that the heavens have looted and laid waste, I am the inhabitant of that destroyed garden).

Our man AK, the unofficial Dharna Prince, supports all kinds of Dharnas (except those that are inconvenient and probing ones such as Shaheen Bagh, Jamia or JNU). Anytime there are low-hanging fruit protests or dharnas in Delhi – you can’t keep him away. Last week Delhi has had the privilege of playing hosts to some amazing protesters – the folks who put bread on our tables. AAP was quick to extend its support and empathy to farmers, largely from Punjab, who reached Delhi to protest against the Centre’s farm laws (AAP called these “dark laws” and for once this blogger agrees). While the matter of their protest and the motivation behind ‘Delhi Chalo’ are serious business – one couldn’t but laugh at the opportunism of our man AK’s outfit. Their support in Delhi is in complete contrast to the fact that just a few days back their workers protested against the ‘theatrics’ of Capt Amrinder Singh in Punjab for backing this movement. Different strokes for different states.

StateOfDelhi Suggests: Dilliwalahs are waiting for this pandemic to get over and not for just the obvious reasons but also for the fact they feel hugely deprived of not been able to gorge over their favourite street food. So if you are preparing a list of where to go to post the pandemic – mark out Padam Chaat Corner of Kinari Bazaar in Chandni Chowk area. This joint serves you the most authentic Papdi Chaat. You can hop on to a cycle-rickshaw to get to Kinari Bazaar from Red Fort Parking or from the nearest Metro Station but as they say – ‘you can’t get a feel of Chandni Chowk if are not exploring it on foot’. Wish the Delhi Government sets up some stalls for the protesting farmers and serve them Delhi’s delicacies such as this Papdi Chaat! Come on AK – you know, first-hand, how hungry one can get at dharnas!


  1. At the outset, I must complement you for what a wonderful narrative on the events around us, and not only just drawing an analogy from the pollutant particles PM but also establishing a beautiful relationship between the events themselves. I had a hearty laugh reading this lucid and candid satire. I more than agree with you that opportunism is the order of the day for majority of our politicians. It’s so unfortunate that we are allowing such outlandish state of affairs in treating subjects like Farmers and objects such as IGNCA without the requisite sensitivity and sensibility. Let the semblance and good order awakens the conscience of those who matters. I have noted your suggestions on the chat-papri for posterity. Thanks for sharing it. Keep writing such beautiful and meaningful notes. We need many NIRBHIKs like you in Delhi and country.

  2. Seriously speaking the government needs to get its priorities right. Arrey bhai, there are more important things before the Govt to pursue and close. This construction stuff is completely unwarranted.

  3. I actually think the content of the farm laws is a step in the right direction; however, agriculture is primarily a state subject, and the government should have kept center-state relations in mind. Laws like this should emerge from consultation, not a top-down firman, which only generates friction and digs deeps trenches of division.

  4. It will be a pity if the Indira Gandhi Centre for Arts is demolished. Maybe if it named the Deen Dayal Upadhya Centre of Arts it will survive. Meanwhile, the most beautiful time of the year here in Delhi, when there is so much to do, when the outdoor are so awesome, when it is party time and event time we are constrained because of Covid and PM.

  5. Am reminded of the story in which a king when asked about what he has done for his subject’s welfare, proudly drew everyone’s attention at his extravagant palace grounds spread across a vast estate. He boasted, “My people may be struggling with their lives, but they benefit from believing that their king who owns such a magnificent edifice allows them the privilege to visit it and show respect to him by paying an entry fee. I know they go back home feeling happy that they could visit their king’s palace”.

  6. We could live a less debted life without Central Vista. Let the money be spent on tons of priorities which are more crucial and can’t wait. I have been missing the sparrows in my backyard for the past several years. Their chirping would add great quality to our lives better than to be overcrowded in the virus-infested Central Vista. Then we have midday meals to take care of. Delhi aap zinda hai aur jab tak Hum Hain aap Zinda rahengi…

  7. Girira Well explained . This arrogant govt will do whatever they feel like They don’t have the priorities straight I join the Dilliwalas in giving the adjectives

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