[Reader-list] sunday book market faces closure.

S Datta sdatta at MIT.EDU
Sat Jun 25 13:26:01 IST 2005

Yes, absolutely appalling. In Calcutta, the College Street booksellers
(admittedly, on somewhat firmer legal grounds than the guys at Daryaganj)
are now recognised as a heritage site, and in Delhi, this.

Some preliminary ideas:

>From the article in the HT, it appeared to me that the prime movers behind
this are the MCD rather than the Delhi Police. So I'm not sure a dharna at
the Daryaganj PS would achieve  much.

A petition? Signatures? Not sure how much this would help, but it may be
something to begin with. It seems important to demonstrate to the people
in charge that opposition to this is not simply motivated by the need to
protect the booksellers' interests, but comes from a wider cross-section
of citizens.

I think a combination of voicing our protest with the MCD (perhaps a group
of people could try and meet the people in charge to hand over a
petition), getting a lot of media attention to this (those on this list
who are journalists could try and write pieces), and perhaps enlisting the
aid of some delhi-based writers (i'm sure Kushwant Singh, Ruchir Joshi,
VIkram Seth etc would be willing to participate in something like this?)
might be a good way to go.

Also, if anyone knows Madhu Kishwar, sahe might be a good person to
contact because she has been a long-time advocate of hawkers' rights in
general, and this fits right in. the point should be made that this is
something of a delhi institution and a landmark (let's invoke the god of
tourism where it can help) and also that the usual arguments against
hawkers (mess, rubbish, traffic jams) don't apply here: this creates no
rubbish, uses only pavement space, and happens on a day when the market is
closed. unfortunately i'm not sure arguments, howsoever cogent, are the
way to win battles against the MCD, but someone's got to try and stop
this, right?

something needs to happen fast, though. i have a feeling that people
higher up in the delhi administration are probably the best bet: this
decision has presumably been taken by some random MCD person, but I'm
sure the Shiela Dixits of this world will at least recognise the
significance of the book market. So if enough people make enough noise
about this, I think it might be stoppable.

On Sat, 25 Jun 2005, Anand Vivek Taneja wrote:

> Dear All,
> Woke up to the horrifying news in this morning's Hindustan Times that
> the Sunday Book Bazaar in DaryaGanj is going to be shut down by the
> Municipal Corporation of Delhi.
> (See, 'Sunset for Sunday Book Bazaar', Hindustan Times, Saturday, June
> 25 front page, Delhi edition.)
> The Sunday Book Bazaar has, despite the occasional threat of closure
> (1992, 2001), and one shift of venue, been around in Delhi for the
> past forty years. It should count as a venerable institution.
> Especially since in the virtual absence of good public libraries in
> Delhi, this is one of the very few places where people can get quality
> books at affordable prices. For all students, and for all lovers of
> books, and for everybody in the city, the closure, if we let it
> happen, is going to be a terrible loss.
> The MCD and Police decision to shut the book bazaar needs to be
> challenged. This mail is just to get some ideas going. How do we go
> about this? Should those who want to save the Sunday Boook Bazaar do
> some form of demonstration or sit-in in front of the Daryaganj Police
> Station, across the road from the book bazaar?
> Ideas, suggestions, action!
> Cheers,
> Anand
> Ph - 93122-62109
> Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, because you are crunchy and
> taste good with ketchup.
> (with apologies to Dilbert)
> http://www.synchroni-cities.blogspot.com/
> Only that historian will have the gift of fanning the spark of hope in
> the past who is firmly convinced that without a sense of humour you're
> basically pretty f***ed anyway.
> (with apologies to Walter Benjamin)
> http://www.chapatimystery.com/
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