DELHI DIARY-1 : Ajmal Khan Park in shambles

A section of the Ajmal Khan Park. Photo- SAT/NN.

NEW DELHI March, 2023 : The Ajmal Khan Park is an urban park  in the central part of the Karol Bagh, New Delhi. Spread over five acres, it was opened in 1921, named after Hakim Ajmal Khan (1868–1927), noted freedom fighter and Unani medicine physician. the park is adjacent to the Tibbia College founded  by Hakim Ajmal Khan. The park has a statue of Hakim Ajmal Khan. This park has been for years been popular for morning walkers among others.  The park can be entered from East Park Road across to the road that takes one to the main Karol Bagh market, a popular shopping area. 

A plaque on Hakim Ajmal Khan’s statue says the statue was refurnished under the tenure of Ravindra Gupta, Deputy Mayor, North Delhi in February, 2015.  Good on him. But today the park is a different story.

Hakim Ajmal Khan’s statue. Photo- SAT/NN

This once green area is tragically today  a relic of the past. The nostalgic name and Hakim Ajmal Khan’s statue are there and a few morning walkers around. After many years I decided to have a look and be in the park, where at times our school PT was held in the early 60s. The place now looks like an open air garbage bin laced with a big paid parking and a reception centre, blaring loud music during the marriage season. In the morning the leftovers and what not keep moving around the park. Hundreds of stray dogs feasting on food leftovers and garbage are a common sight. If a dog bites you, will not be a surprise. One wonders how safe are morning walkers.

Photo- SAT/NN.

An enclosure where people used to play Chess lies in ruins. Hakim Ajmal Khan’s statue is intact (surprised) and in front of it the space is used to feed birds. Must say, they are lucky. I wonder what Hakim Sahib would think if comes back and looks at the memorial park. A board reveals the park is under the management of the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Garden department), Karol Bagh area.

Interestingly, there has been a recent political change in the MCD. Years of BJP rule in MCD has been replaced by the AAP, which also rules Delhi. AAP now for the first time has its Mayor. The local MLA is from the AAP.

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Delhi is a polluted city with the AQI normally bad. So, is it in Karol Bagh, a big retail and other business hub. Ajmal Khan Park was an oasis of sanity in an otherwise wild  world of business and trade. This green park (once) is surrounded by commercial entities and real estate development projects.

Will anyone (including political) have a look at the Ajmal Khan Park ‘s dismal and tragic state?

Photo- SAT/NN

 

 

 

 

By Neeraj Nanda

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