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!