Monday, 6 October 2014

Ghaziabad-A Photo Essay

With stuff like Bakherkhani and Halva being served at the Diwali Fair, it was as if you were privileged to partake of the essence of Ethnic India!
Ghaziabad is an important town in the National capital region of Delhi, and its importance lies in the fact that all trains emanating from Delhi and destined for Moradabad or Nainital have to pass through Ghaziabad. Like Gurgaon, Ghaziabad too is having to face the rural/ urban conflict  in terms of socio-cultural dynamics. A town in the state of Uttar Pradesh, Ghaziabad has a very strong agrarian culture, and it is surrounded by villages and towns that are very strongly dependent on Agriculture. Since recent times, Ghaziabad has seen a jump in reality rates because of which numerous native farmers have begun selling off their holdings to developers for a tidy sum of money. Ghaziabad is also known for some upcoming B-Schools, and industries, one of which is Mohan Meakins Limited a well known brewery! Close to Ghaziabad is the town of Modi Nagar, well known for its sugar industry. Recently when I happened to visit Ghaziabad, I was able to take a few pictures which bring out the disconnect that exists between opulence and poverty, and  alongside this was the strong rural influence that was evident in a Diwali Mela or Diwali Fair that I happened to visit in Raj Nagar.
Being an important industrial town, Ghaziabad has its own share of Malls with their share of outlets selling all kinds of popular brands found all over the country, and even all over the world. The prosperity and affluence displayed by the large number of Malls however doesn’t translate into a reduced gap between the haves and the have not! It was very disturbing to see how a particular parking lot that does brisk business during the day by providing parking facilities for shoppers had become an open air sleeping arena for the destitute!
This is a story not limited to Ghaziabad and as such can be seen in most of the upcoming townships in the National Capital region – set against the backdrop of an upcoming Mall, a humble family settle for their meagre dinner.
The contrast between affluence and can be seen in the presence of a slum cluster right next to a building project. Sights such as these can be seen across the country. In many cases, one might even claim that major building projects provide employment to a large floating population of migrant workers who work as unskilled workers on building sites.
The Slum Cluster next to a Mall is testament to the relationship that exists between progress and employment. Where large building projects come up, there are floating townships of slums that are impromptu mobile homes of the people who work on the buildings.
In spite of hard times for many, the myriad of Melas and Fairs are thronged by people from all sections of the society. The affluent and the not so affluent throng such events to have their fill of fun. It is not about visiting a Mall for some expensive shopping, but for a taste of an Ethnic India that can’t be found in Malls but in the villages and rural areas surrounding all of these upcoming towns. The main attraction of such fairs lies in the exotic food on offer, and then you have the option of buying all sorts of stuff, clothes, toys, and the opportunity of  seeing the true daredevils driving cars and bikes around in the pit that goes up to great heights. The merry go rounds and the Ferris Wheel provide a suitable opportunity for many to brag to their friends and their acquaintances about the exploits they have seen.
This Soothsayer, a master of twenty-first Century Skills claimed to be able to give an accurate prediction of good fortune!


My Nephew, Nishant Peter, my host at the fail and my two daughters, Ekta and Aastha having fun at the fair.
The Kids having fun at the Diwali Fair

In this photograph I am standing with Ekta and Aastha
At the end of our tour of the Fair
That is a snap with Ekta on my right and Nishant on my right

The variety of ‘Paan leaves’ on offer would astound even the greatest connoisseurs! This gentleman appeared to know the secrets of the best ingredients of his paan leaves and he would simply not divulge the secret of his success story!

Seen from top of the Giant Wheel, an entire township full of people thronging the fair.

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