Delhi is a city that has welcomed friends and foes with open arms. A city where I have grown up witnessing the best culture, mannerisms and heritage. A city that boasts of its stories of brotherhood. Ask any second or third generation Dilliwalla about the Delhi they have seen, and pat comes the reply – the city that celebrated Id with as much fervour as Diwali, where adab was a piece of jewellery every Dilliwalla wore with pride. I remember as kids, we would walk down to India Gate late at night to savour an ice cream without any fear. Evening drives meant so much fun as the old Fiat sailed through the spacious roads of Lutyens Delhi.
Sadly, over the years, Delhi is losing its sheen that made it the jewel in the crown called India. While it has become the epicentre of forever happening political eruptions, the culture has also been cruelly eroded.
Flamboyant first generation billionaires with strong political connections, zooming SUVs with loud, thumping music, zero patience on roads, abusive language, intolerance at its best, licensed guns looking for petty excuses to prove their mantle, crowds outnumbering the capacity almost everywhere, women security at its worst…the list is endless and the hearts of Delhites like me bleed as we see our city succumbing to cultural pollution.
Who does it or who instigates doesn’t matter anymore. People who stay here are part of the family and as family members, we all ought to take onus. It hurts to see the bad impressions the city holds with people everywhere, of being polluted, rash and unsafe. Who makes it unsafe? It’s the people among us. Everyone is in a race to be ahead, and in that race, we often miss the basics – if we want peace, we gotta live in harmony, else the whole system goes crackling. For, when there is dispute amongst the family members, the neighbours enjoy the show!
Disappointed by the increasing cultural pollution in Delhi, I have often been tempted to move to greener pastures. However, to avoid is to be an escapist. I remember a scene from the movie Rang De Basanti, where a determined Madhavan tells his dejected friends that it is easy to criticise and abandon the house. But, it calls for courage and responsibility to clean up our house. Being citizens of Delhi, it is our responsibility to remove the tarnish and give it a cultural face lift.
When Delhites visiting elsewhere can follow the rules, why dirty our own house? Let the beasts be chained behind and let the responsible citizen in us take charge. Winning is not about outnumbering or outshining, it’s about bringing a smile on faces. Enough of litter in our culture, its time Dilliwallas do the cleanup act!