Bookworms Take Note, Daryaganj Sunday Market Has Relocated to Mahila Haat
Knowledge is a powerhouse which generates awareness and spreads the light of dignity, principles and morality in people from all walks of life. Apart from this, reading and learning trigger the inner instinct in human beings to become conscientious and law-abiding citizens rather than violators. It is for this reason that many people can’t survive without books.
Interest in books diminishing?
Unfortunately, in the modern age books have been losing their true essence. People don’t have time to go through books and enhance their understanding of the past, present and probable changes, which can emerge in the future.
Mobile, internet and other electronic gadgets have bestowed enough sources of entertainment on everyone. On top of that, millennials like to read books on E-readers like the Kindle. Therefore, attention towards books has become limited in recent times. Adequate study materials are available on the internet to get immediate information on any topic. But reading a book from cover to cover has its own significance, which is rarely found nowadays.
Avid readers still survive
However, despite a sea change in the reading habits, some sections of society are still active and fond of looking for reliable destinations for new and rare books. Delhi’s Daryaganj was the hottest address for the book lovers, especially on Sundays. Ardent readers from far flung areas used to come to purchase books of their choice. Visitors and tourists also used to make a beeline for the informal book bazaar sprawled on the Daryaganj roads on Sundays. Once noted journalist and writer Khushwant Singh remarked that sometimes rare books could be seen on the road of this market.
Searching for books and spending time exploring from stall to stall was real fun and enjoyment for the passionate readers. There was not a moment of dullness in one of the oldest book markets in the city. Daryaganj book market was really a ‘diamond in the rough’.
Daryaganj Sunday book market a boon for readers
On every Sunday, jubilant crowd of all ages with casual costumes used to move towards Daryaganj in Delhi with the sole purpose of gathering books by the dozen. They would be seen pulling out books in heaps, and then a healthy feud between shopkeeper and customers would ensue over price. It was a part of the charm of that area, which is now missing. Noted Daryaganj book bazaar had been deserted since July 3, after its closure ordered by the Delhi High Court.
Traffic chaos forces closure of book market
Heavy rush on Sundays due to increasing traffic on the road forced the Delhi Traffic Police to submit its report and demand the closure of the Daryaganj book market. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) quickly responded on the traffic police request and passed an order to close all markets in the area.
Mahila Haat is the new address
Book lovers do not have to lose their heart, however. They have to just move towards a new destination, Mahila Haat ground opposite Broadway Hotel in Chandni Chowk. Although searching new address seems like a herculean task at the moment, despite maps being available, it’s just a matter of time till things settle down, and then normalcy will be restored within two or three weeks.
Many vendors not ready to move
Prior to this, five options were given to the vendors: Ramlila Maidan, Hanuman Mandir (Yamuna Bazaar), Kachha Bagh, Mata Sundri Road and Mahila Haat. But vendors were not in a mood of compromise but rather adamant on their demand to stay put.
Even now, several vendors are not satisfied with their expulsion from the old spot. The protesters are running from pillar to post and raising their voice to execute their demand. They recently formed a human chain at Asaf Ali Road and demanded a place on the road between Golcha Cinema and Delite Cinema.
Some of the vendors are not happy with the president of the association. Rajesh Kumar (31), a vendor, said, “We want Asaf Ali Road for our bazaar. The president of our association made deals for Mahila Haat without asking all of us.”
Nonetheless, business at Mahila Haat got underway last Sunday, September 15, 2019- after nearly two months of suspension. Some vendors as usual shifted their business at the permitted new location. Over 100 vendors re-opened their stalls, but a change in location and light rain over the weekend dampened the prospects of a large crowd. Book sale remained minimal due to the lukewarm response, which further disheartened the vendors.
All eyes on Delhi HC
While several vendors are still sulking, they don’t want to relocate to the new spot. Meanwhile, the market association and the municipal authorities are both sticking to their words. Both factions have kept their eyes on Delhi High Court’s next date of hearing on September 25.
Officials look confident
In spite of this tug of war, officials are upbeat and showing confidence that the new venue would provide satisfaction for both book sellers as well as buyers. Officials further claimed that there is no dearth of parking space in Mahila Haat, and two entry points for visitors and other facilities would satisfy everyone.
The shift of the Sunday book venue has definitely ruffled many feathers and created a wedge for the time being between the authorities and the vendors. All eyes are now on the Delhi High Court’s decision to settle the issue once and for all.