Mart for art’s sake
Everyone loves a good facelift. Particularly, if the cosmetic readjustment happens on a part of a city lying in shocking disrepair, it can cheer the homebodies up like nothing else. Hence, the reports of some landscape reengineering thrown in with what in popular parlance goes as ‘revamping’ of two of Delhi’s landmark markets could only be welcomed by Delhiites, who have for long stoically forborne the appalling lack of civic amenities in parts of the Capital. Khan Market and Gole Market have been two of the city’s most-visited sites, both having sizeable stakes in history, both local and epochal. Hence, New Delhi Municipal Council’s decision to trigger architectural reparation of the two places sounds like a jolly good idea. The redevelopment plans have been in the pipeline for about three years now. The intentions of building a 3-D museum in Gole Market, as a testament of its rich and layered history, come across as promising, even though the 10-storey shopping complex might completely change the face of this remarkable 94-year-old architectural marvel that was built by Edwin Lutyens in 1921. It is important to ensure that our gentrification drive doesn’t upset the historic and aesthetic value of this roundabout, which is one of the oldest surviving colonial markets in New Delhi. That the tehbaazaris (vendors based in Gole Market who are still holding on to family traditions) will be rehabilitated in the revamped market is heartening, but having the schemes on paper is a far cry from actual implementation of those feelgood intentions. Similarly, the aspiration to quickly become state-of-the-art mustn’t disfigure the leisurely cobblestone alleyways that have always been the nicest thing about Khan Market.