Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Happy Independence Day, Yokels.

Indira Gate, off-bounds. Rajiv Path, off-bounds.
Happy Independence Day, yokels.

A bunch of cyclists from different parts of the NCR decide to meet at India Gate, to observe Independence Day. As we approach Rajpath on the C hexagon, around 0615, a phalanx of policemen wave us back. I slow down, rather than turn. They get agitated.
"I'm not going to crash your barrier. Just want to know why India Gate is off-bounds. And till when." 
"The Prime Minister is making a speech"
"But that's at Red Fort!"
"Yes, but he's passing this way"
"So it will be open shortly...?"
"No, it will be shut till he returns, about 0830".

Cheers, we pedal off. We had set up a fall-back rendezvous, Khan Market, at 0700. Gives us enough time to sprint to Nehru Park and back. Except, we cant get back. At the Ashok Hotel roundabout, the cops tell us, "No slow-moving traffic beyond this point."

Aargh... We turn back, Shanti Path, Teen Murti Marg. More cops - more waving off. I slow to ask them for the best route - they get agitated. "I'm not going to crash your barrier, guys! Just tell me how to get to Khan market."

"Go on to Shanti path. Then to the Ashok Hotel roundabout, down to Tughlaq Road"

"But we was just turned back from there..."

"Then we can't help."

"OK, guess we'll head home then."

We turn around. Then I stop and ask one of them, a grey-haired inspector my age, "Tell me, don't you think its rather sad that, on Independence Day, Indians can't go to India Gate to mark the occasion? What point Independence?"

He sees the point, shrugs. Then, But, Sir, you know during British times, Indians weren't allowed in Lutyen's Delhi?"

Is that official indoctrination, or just plain ignorance?

Happy Independence Day.


  1. But that's the irony. The people we elect knock us off! And I don't think the right to freedom to assemble anywhere without arms (and here you are just talking of public places such as roads!)has any sub-text that allows exceptions or special privileges to elected few over the ones who elect them!

  2. Section 144...A colonial provision still actively used.