Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


By Ishan Kukreti

Every city has some lesser known hangouts which not everyone knows about. Be it Petr Cat in Kolkata or Kala Ghora in Mumbai, such places are rare gems which remain unsullied by crass commercialism or mainstream banality.

One such break from the usually fast and forgetful national capital is Daryaganj Sunday book bazaar. Stretching from where once a boldly grim iron foot-over bridge stood to Delight cinema, a rare single screen theater in the capital, the book market is a reader’s sanctuary.

From Sartre to Sheldon, from Macbeth to Mills and Boon, the couple of kilometers of footpath between the two end points is one of the very few market places where books outnumber readers.

However, if one is of a lesser literary mind and likes to keep the reading habit under control, the market offers other attractions too.

Old Delhi street food, famous for its mouth watering dishes finds ample space in Daryaganj to feed the hungry body of a literary seeker.

The place is no less than an open air super market. There is stationery on the footpath, quirky characters worth being in the books they so nonchalantly buy and sell.

The market which started in 1964 has book sellers who have been doing brisk business for more than two or three decades.

Mani, who now operates from the patch of footpath next to Moti Mehal restaurant says,” I have been selling books here for more than 15 years now. My father had been doing the same for around 30 years. He is not well now, so I am taking care of business alone.”

He has some of the best collections.

The sellers of Daryaganj get their stock from embassies, hotels and raddiwalas. Sometimes when an old bookworm pops off leaving behind a progeny not smitten by bibliophilia and a lots of books, the unclaimed paper legacy invariably makes its way on the footpath of Daryaganj; a place where even the litter is more significant than the lives of many a man.


wikimedia commons

Tenali Raman, courtier to Krishnadevaraya (A portrait)

Tenali Ramakrishna, or Tenali Raman as he is more popularly known is Birbal's equivalent in South India. A court jester and a scholar exuding great wisdom, Tenali Raman was known as one of the greatest courtiers in King Krishnadevaraya's court.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Pixabay

Battle at Lanka as mentioned in the Ramayana

It must be noted that different religions and societies in Southeast Asia have alternative narratives of Ramayana, one of the greatest epic.

Here are some of the versions of Ramayana!

Keep Reading Show less
Virendra Singh Gosain, Hindustan Times

Hijras are a community of people who include eunuchs, intersex, and transgender people

When a baby is born in an Indian household-they invite hijra to shower the newborn with their blessings for their blessings confer fertility, prosperity, and long life on the child. But when that child grows up we teach them to avert their eyes when a group of hijras passes by, we pass on the behaviour of treating hijras as lesser humans to our children. Whenever a child raises a question related to gender identity or sexuality they are shushed down. We're taught to believe that anything "deviant" and outside of traditional cis-heteronormativity is something to be ashamed of. This mentality raises anxious, scared queer adults who're ashamed of their own identity, and adults who bully people for "queer behaviour".

Hijras are a community of people who include eunuchs, intersex, and transgender people. They worship the Hindu goddess of chastity and fertility, Bahuchara Mata. Most hijras, but not all, choose to undergo a castration ceremony known as "nirvana" in which they remove their male genitalia as an offering to their goddess. The whole community is vibrant with hundreds of people with hundreds of ways of expression, the true identity of a hijra is complex and unique to each individual. In India, hijras prefer to refer to themselves as Kinner/Kinnar as it means the mythological beings who excel at singing and dancing.

Keep reading... Show less