Delhi musings: Poor ‘deers’ at the Delhi Golf Club and the Khan Market 'gang'

As far as gangs are concerned, why leave out the Delhi Golf Club? Perhaps the smart, Macbook-wielding strategists felt they needed to focus on one gang at a time lest their attacks got defused?

Golfer Arjun Atwal feeds a sambar deer at Delhi Golf Club
Golfer Arjun Atwal feeds a sambar deer at Delhi Golf Club

Giraj Sharma

Some of the most sylish, old and historic shopping plazas in Delhi have been stigamtised by poorly informed politicians who described people flocking to it as the ‘Khan Market Gang’. True, the prices are on the higher side and diplomats and foreigners do throng Khan Market. The target of the barb was ‘Urban Naxals’ and the ‘Jhola wallahs’, sniggered Delhiwallahs. But what would ill-informed politicians know of Delhi?

As far as gangs are concerned, they asked indignantly, why leave out the Delhi Golf Club, just a crow’s flight from Khan Market? Perhaps the smart, Macbook-wielding strategists felt they needed to focus on one gang at a time lest their attacks got defused? However, if people who claim to know these things (and in Delhi every second person does) are to be believed, then these clubs are the next target. Gymkhana Club, one hears, has almost capitulated. The venerable India International Centre (IIC) has been substantially taken over. Is Delhi Golf Club the next?

Relocation of scores of deer from the Delhi Golf Club to Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary, some Dilliwallahs believe, is an ominous sign. The explanation that’s been given is that the poor ‘deer’ were getting hit by erring golfers and golf balls; and since their numbers have grown (not the erring golfers but the deer is the guess!) this harmless herd was in danger of being seriously injured.

The poor ‘deers’, say these knowledgable Dilliwallahs, will not be the only ones to be evicted from the Golf Club. They are just the first lot and will not be the last. We keep our fingers crossed. Till then, golfers can live in peace with their handicaps.

While Dilliwallahs are appreciative of the concern shown for the poor ‘deers’, one wonders what’s happened to the bulbuls, barbets, parakeets, mynahs, squirrels, bees and the trees that used to define the ecological system at the India Gate hexagon and the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts.

Some 1,800 trees were to be transplanted elsewhere in light of their uselessness to the PM’s Central Vista project. In addition, some saplings, in some crazy ratio, were to be planted for the remaining trees even though it is fairly well-known that fully grown trees cannot be just replaced by saplings.

Ecosystems cannot be transplanted as they take several decades to evolve and mature. Not much is known about the fate of such plans except for some media reports which hinted in the summer of 2021 that only 22 heritage trees had been replanted in Badarpur Eco-Park.

The birds of the Central Vista area were clearly not supposed to be beneficiaries of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’. In fact, some Dilliwallahs are on the lookout for the actual beneficiaries other than those who improved their ranking on the Forbes List.

It is not that the people in power are anti British-era architecture. It is just that their advisors have read too much of Dan Brown paperbacks. There could be another plausible analysis. It is likely that the ones occupying power today want to leave more of a physical imprint of their contributions to neutralise the narrative that they suspect the Khan Market gang are spreading. No wonder it is a-plaque-a-day governance these days in Delhi.

For Dilliwallahs –Indian Railways is not the only good thing that the British left behind. Till recently the India Gate Hexagon and all that is now shoved under the Central Vista project were a part of the city’s heritage that Dilliwallahs were proud of.

What required restoration in one part of Delhi is being subjected to demolition and restructuring. So, it made interesting news when one heard of the restoration of a Britishera runway at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport.

The rehabilitation work of Runway 09/27 and its taxiways was recently completed by GMR Group that manages the Delhi airport. The 09/27 runway was this airport’s first ever runway built by the British and was used during the World War II.

The 2,816 metre-long and 60-metrewide runway has been upgraded to comply with CAT-I Instrument Landing System that assists pilots to land during low visibility conditions caused by the winter fog as well as the pollution smog.

Dilliwallahs wish there were some similar landing system available with the electorate to know where they are going to land with poor or no visibility.

(The writer blogs at

(This article was first published in National Herald on Sunday)

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