Showing posts with label Delhi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Delhi. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Delhi To Get Rid Of Its Traffic Blues – The Blueline Bus

It is really heartening for every Delhite to know that his or her city is at last going to get rid of the nasty monster of the road – Delhi Blueline bus. The city government has decided to take these buses off the Delhi roads from December 14, 2010.

Infamous for the poor quality of transportation service that it offers, Delhi Blueline is also notorious for the high number of fatal accidents that it gets involved with every year. And people are really happy that with its withdrawal, now the Delhi roads will be much more safe, apart from witnessing much less traffic jam and road congestion.

Some people are worried that the withdrawal of Delhi Blueline buses will have a negative impact on the city’s public transport, as the public transport capacity now will be mush less. However, most Delhites feel that there is nothing to worry. The government will certainly increase the number of DTC buses to compensate the withdrawal of the Blueline buses. Moreover, the Delhi Metro service has had some significant expansions recently. So, at the end of the day, the withdrawal of the Delhi Blueline buses are not likely to create any serious impact.

In any case Delhites never loved to travel in Blueline buses. The service quality of Delhi Blueline buses was extremely poor, while the drivers and conductors were usually of rustic, rough and rude types. Instead of being of much help to Delhites, these buses were actually a headache for all, especially the ones who drive cars or two wheelers.

So it is actually a great relief for us that these buses are now going to be extinct. Nobody will miss them.

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Visit To Delhi’s Purana Qila – Some Suggestions For The Delhi Tourism Authority

Day before yesterday (23rd October 2010) me and my wife Debyani made a visit to Purana Qila, one of the oldest forts in Delhi and one of the top tourist attractions of the city as far as heritage and/or historical tourist spots are concerned. Though both me and Debyani had been to this place before, that too for a couple of times, it was nevertheless as enjoyable and thrilling for us as it is for a first time visitor. After all, this time we visited the spot after a long time. And, moreover, it is always thrilling to visit such a spot no matter for how many times you may have visited it already. We were there for almost a couple of hours, explored the site like anything, and took a number of snaps.

Though well maintained, I think there are some rooms for development that the Delhi Tourism authority might pay some attention to.

No. 1 – The Archeological Survey of India Museum –

The museum of Archeological Survey of India located inside Purana Qila is very informative and resourceful. But it has a serious draw back. It does not have any generator, and so visitors are not allowed inside when there is a power cut, simply because they will not be able to see anything in the dark. I think it is something that the concerned authority should immediately try to address.

And also we found that though photography is prohibited inside the museum, the guards (who are very polite and decent) are not very careful or alert about it. In fact, when me and Debyani were there, we found that a group of youths were taking snaps of the artefacts that were on display. The guards did not notice it as they were at the entrance gate. It is only when Debyani (who never tolerates any such nonsense) went and informed them that they came inside and prevented the youths.

No. 2 – Presence of information boards –

Inside the Qila there are some structures about which tourists have no idea or information. I suppose in front of every structure there should be a board, giving at least some brief information about the structure.

No. 3 – Eunuchs or Hijra at the main entrance gate

There are eunuchs (Hijra) at the main entrance gate, who bother a lot the visiting tourists at the time of entering the site. I suppose they should be driven away at the earliest.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The “Uncle” Obsession Of Delhi People

A key characteristic of Delhites (I mean people of Delhi and its satellite towns like Noida) is their penchant for calling people “uncle”, even when they are calling people who are at most 10-15 years older than them.

Now I am in my mid-30s. I came to Delhi around 8 years back, and soon found myself to be an “uncle” for people in the age group of 18-30. I understand that I already looked much older thanks to my (then) bulky physique and baldness. Nevertheless, it was shocking to find how smartly people of even 30 years of age were calling me “uncle”.

As my age increased, it also resulted in the “expansion” of the age group of my “nephews”. Now I find even people apparently in their 40s (including the ones in late 40s) calling me “uncle”. And now I have stopped getting shocked, as now I am used to it.

But the other day I simply could not help getting shocked again. In fact I was dumbstruck.

I was traveling by Delhi Metro Rail, and was about to get down at the Rajib Chowk station. The train was crowded, and I had somehow managed some space to stand just in front of the gate. There were many other passengers standing there, with a gentleman leaning against the door. When the Rajib Chowk station was about to come, a passenger requested that gentleman to move a little, as he was about to get down at Rajib Chowk. The jolly looking gentleman readily agreed, when he noticed that I was also trying to approach the door. He immediately asked me, very politely, “Aapko bhi utarna hai, uncle”? (You will also get down, uncle?)

And how old was he? Well, a man with a number of grey hairs, he appeared to be at least in his early 50s.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mr. Azad Gupta – The “Betrayer” Of Common Perception

We came to know Mr. Azad Gupta, or Guptaji (as we call him) just a couple of years back. He is a nice gentleman in his early 50s.

Since then he has been our companion every time we (me and my parents, and now my wife) need to go to Railway Station to catch a train. And sometimes it is again he who has kept us company on our way to home from Railway Station after we have come back to Delhi from outside. And he sometimes also keeps us company even when we go somewhere inside the Delhi itself, generally when we visit somewhere for a long time.

Guptaji is very polite and gentle in his communication. Apart from speaking Hindi, he is also fluent in English. And his favourite topic of discussion is spirituality.

Guptaji sent his children (one son and one daughter) to reputed public schools. His son is now studying Telecommunications Engineering at IIT Roorkee, while his daughter is now at class 12. Guptaji is very concerned about the education and career of his children, and discusses the same every time I travel with him.

Fine. But who is this Guptaji, after all?

Well, he is an auto driver. He is one of those infamous auto drivers (known for their rudeness and lack of culture) that we find in Delhi and Noida.

A rare species, right? A Delhite who will read this write up will understand what I mean.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Harassments Of N-E Youths In Delhi – A Long Term Effort Is What We Need

The continuous harassments of the North-East youths in Delhi, which range from verbal taunting to sexual molestation, have understandably resulted into a widespread hue and cry. And indeed the government should take a well-planned and carefully chalked out step to address the issue.

Personally I feel that the government should go for a two-pronged plan, with both a short term as well as a long term approach. First it should immediately take some steps to curb or at least lessen the problem. At the same time it should go for a long term approach aimed at complete uprooting of the problem.

As far as the short term approach focused on immediate result is concerned, the Delhi Police should set up a special cell exclusively meant for the North-East youths. There is no need to have a huge manpower or high level infrastructure for the same, as that is not required. It is only that the police force needs a dedicated arm for handling the problem. And it must be very strong in the execution of its duty, showing a stern and ruthless face while countering and handling the offenders. And every strong step that the team will take against an offender must be highly publicized in the media, with the names, pictures and family details of the offenders being highlighted. This will generate strong fear in the mind of the scoundrels who are indulging into these nasty activities.

Now let’s focus on the long term plan. This should entail an honest effort to understand the root cause of the problem, and addressing the same.

The government (not only the Delhi or Central government, but all relevant government entities) must start educating the so-called mainstream Indians that the North-East people are not aliens from the Mars, but are our own brothers and sisters from a certain part of our motherland which is geographically just a little isolated from the rest of India (Or is it really isolated? I have been to so many places in North-East, and I do not think so). There should be an all round and continuous effort to allay misconceptions about the North-East region and its inhabitants. And such efforts should not be confined merely within holding occasional exhibitions of North-East handicrafts or dishes. Rather there should be dissemination of information, through various channels of communication, about the rich culture of the region (like colourful folk dances of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh), interesting events (like elephant race in Assam during Brahmaputra Beach Festival at the time of Bhogali Bihu), fascinating folklore of Nagaland, literary legacy of Tripura, the rich Buddhist heritage of Arunachal Pradesh, the interesting practice of Jhoom cultivation in Mizoram, and so on.

And while educating people about North-East, government should have a special focus on highlighting this issue that North-East is not a primitive land dominated by age-old tribal customs, but a perfectly modern place inhabited by people with modern outlook. (In fact, it is thanks to this modern outlook that some North-East women wear so-called revealing dresses, which actually make some Delhi scoundrels to perceive them as “cheap”). While the tourism ministries of the Central as well North-East governments always highlight the jungles, mountains and rich and colourful tribal life of this region, there should also be efforts to highlight the modern urban life that is present here. The “mainstream Indians” must know that in North-East there lie both beautiful and modern towns like Shillong, Guwahati, Imphal, etc. People should be told about things like the oil refinery in Assam’s Digboi (Asia’s first oil refinery). This will make people realize about the economic significance of this region.

In fact, the idea about North-East is so poor in Delhi that a huge number of people here feel that the North-East people eat cockroach and snake in their lunch and dinner. But these people do not even know that the three North-East states of Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram are the only three Indian states where English is an official language. These people also do not know that Arunachal Pradesh is the only non-North Indian state where Hindi serves as the lingua franca among the various tribes speaking different languages.

My paternal aunt (obviously a Bengali) married a gentleman (my dear Paban Uncle) from the Karbi tribe of Assam. A well-educated, intelligent and cultured bureaucrat (IAS), Paban Uncle was one of my childhood heroes. It was he who taught me to realize, appreciate and love the rich culture of North-East, a region that India is so fortunate to have within its boundary. Today both of his daughters (my dear cousin sisters) are well-educated and well-established (one of them is a bureaucrat like her father). And they have given me a nephew and a niece who are the apples of my eyes. (Though I have not met my niece yet, but of course I love her).

I am grateful to the picturesque North-East for having such a beautiful uncle and cousins, who have had such a strong influence on my life.

Apart from the family, I have also come across a number of North-East people in my professional and social life, and I must say that I have found all of them to be genuinely intelligent, well-read and hardworking. Yes, I mean it.

Grow up, “mainstream India”. Learn to respect your own brothers and sisters. Stop nurturing wrong perceptions about them, and stop harassing them for what they are. If we keep harassing the North-East youths in Delhi simply for the “offence” of being a bit culturally different, then how are we different from the scoundrels of Australia who are unabashedly harassing the Indian youths settled there? What the North-East friends are facing in Delhi is “domestic racism”, and it is the responsibility of us, the responsible Delhites, to prove that we are not that bad.