Sant Kabir Chowk: The Changing Face of Gurgaon
Two roads run from the railway station to what is called the national highway or NH-8. The old railway road hits Rajiv Chowk on the highway while the new railway road hits the Gurgaon bus stand and then joins the Mehrauli — Gurgaon road (MG road).
In 1995 when I came to live in gurgaon the old railway road was a single road running thru a maze of shops on both sides. The road from the station would hit a point where the broad road converged into a narrow road with shops on both opening right on the road, this road would then go towards Sohna Chowk and the famous Jama Masjid of Gurgaon. The convergent point had an intersection where a road from inner city hit the railway road.
On one corner of the convergent point was a medical clinic around the time i shifted to gurgaon. The clinic finally closed down and moved on to become Kalyani Hospital on MG road.
Once the clinic closed down the intersection point become a garbage dump. I suppose shopkeepers and people living around the areas were earlier scattering garbage but now it got all collected in the middle of the intersection. (i also think the clinic doctor was well networked to prevent this accumulation of garbage in front of his clinic)
Gurgaon had a municipality that time and was still beyond the Indian corporate imagination. In fact as i was working in Delhi, my colleagues were curious on my move to Gurgaon.
The big dump would be cleared or attempted to be cleared every few days but it stayed and there were pigs, dogs n cows all around the dump. (Side story , gurgaon has a temple where pig sacrifice happens. A Temple behind the famous #SheetlaMata temple)
Some years later somebody or a group of people decided the best way to remove the garbage dump was to install divinity. Hence a statue of Shiva came up on the dump site. Some sort of dark humor considering Shiva is the god of destruction.
With the dump going the landscape changed. In another corner, opposite the clinic , there always existed these street food stalls selling tikkis , gol gappas etc. It was frequented by people on foot and now with garbage dump gone the car guys also started visiting the place. The pigs disappeared but the dogs remained.
Meanwhile a road divider came up n now there were two carriage ways leading to the statue which then converged into a narrow road ahead having two carriageways. The garbage dump miraculously shifted to a corner ahead, on the side of the erstwhile clinic as its earlier resting place was taken over by lord shiva. (there were many attempts to retake the new garbage corner but that’s a different story)
There is now a swanky restaurant where once there was a clinic with many Swiggy riders parked outside hence the garbage dump has vanished from this corner too.
Come 2014 and the rise of Hindoo right wing government at the center and in 2015, in the state, the statue got an aluminium enclosure , a LED light shining on top of the statue followed by a regular pandit. It was followed by a donation box placed near the statue with devotees now visible.
This was followed by potted plants.
Then the chowk was renamed as Sant Kabir Chowk after a Kabir Bhawan which predates the garbage dump and is situated in the side street. (Interestingly there is a Kabir Properties, a property dealer who wanted to exploit the brand)
Then I notice the devotees are leaving husk n grain around the statue. So the cows are back. The dogs were always there coz of the eateries . Will the pigs also come back?
Come Diwali there is full flower Bazar now spawned around the statue. (The traffic can go to hell)
The Bazar has it’s own Dynamics in terms of attracting customers. N look the largest number of workers in the flower Bazar #ChildLabor
with 2019 elections now looming the place becomes a point for dishing out political messages with posters of political personalities jostling along with other activities.
And the garbage dump has moved to the back corner of shiva statue. I guess if the lord can’t see it , it doesn’t exist.
and this is called the circle of life.