More Garbage Than History in Gandhi Park

Raipur’s prominent open spaces suffer from bad maintenance.

A historical public space which once hosted freedom rallies and protest marches that lead into India’s struggle for Independence is now in the danger of becoming a grubby waste land. Community Correspondent Sarwat Naqvi speaks about its history in revered tones.

“Within the city, the ground is centrally located. It is large and open and can accommodate massive crowds. For these reasons, it became the strategic site of struggle of the freedom movement within Raipur,” said Sarwat. “Many leaders of the freedom struggle notably Gandhi, Nehru and even Vivekanand have visited and addressed the crowds gathered there.”

Post-independence Gandhi Maidan continues to remain a popular spot with the locals. Come evenings, it transforms into a vibrant space where people can indulge themselves. Street vendors set up stalls. Chaat and savoury stalls fall in one line. Game and toy stores fall into another. And shops selling trinkets, small plastic goods line up yet another. Sarwat calls the atmosphere festive.

But with morning, the shambles in which the ground lies becomes clear to the eye. Lack of proper and systematic garbage disposal system have resulted in huge rotting mounds of waste. All kinds of stray animals forage through the garbage. “There is an utter lack of maintenance,” says Sarwat, “What makes the situation more dire, is that there is no respect or recollection of the great tradition, culture and historical significance of the ground.”

Says Sarwat, “Raipur is growing into a major city, one that is rich and prosperous. But if citizens disregard or ignore the city’s history and culture and the authorities fail to take into account the maintenance of public spaces, we will be much poorer for it.”

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