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Delhi kids trace history of CR Park through drawings, sketches, comic strips

15 schoolchildren interacted with elders in CR Park to know about their personal histories and relationship with the area.

delhi Updated: Aug 21, 2017 13:28 IST
Snehal Tripathi
Snehal Tripathi
Hindustan Times
Delhi news,Chittaranjan Park,Neighbourhood Diaries
'Neighbourhood Diaries' is an ongoing exhibition at Chittaranjan Bhawan by children. The exhibition which traces the history of CR Park area in New Delhi. (Saumya Khandelwal/HT PHOTO)

For the residents of Chittaranjan Park, a walk through the exhibition of ‘Neighbourhood Diaries’ on Sunday was like going down the memory lane.

On show case was how CR Park over the years has built its own unique character. They learnt that the area used to be a barren land with few houses and no facilities till 1970s.

“Children of the present generation spend most of their time outside the community. They don’t develop a bond with their neighbourhood. The idea behind this project was to familiarise the children with the neighbourhood they live in,” said Shukla Banik, project coordinator.

In 1954, the EPDP Association (East Pakistan Displaced Persons’ Association) was formed by people from Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) who were displaced during Partition. A number of government officers from there, who had migrated to the capital, had demanded a place for a residential neighbourhood. The allocation of plots was cleared by the then minister for rehabilitation Mehar Chand Khanna. Around 1968, they were allocated barren rocky area near Kalkaji which later became Chittaranjan Park. The colony was named so in 1972 in memory of Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, a noted freedom fighter.

Children narrated the post partition period and coming up of the colony through story-telling technique via visual graphics.

One of the residents interviewed was Dr Krishna Sengupta, who has been living in Chittaranjan Park since 1974. She was born in Sylhet, now in Bangladesh. She lost her mother at the age of 11, when she was studying in class 4. She was 16 when her family settled in Silchar after partition.

Shreya Banik, one of the schoolchildren, did a drawing of her house in Bangladesh as described by Sengupta.

Children also interviewed Shyam Mazumdar and his brother, Asheem Mazumdar, who came to CR Park in 1971 to sell grocery items. Shyam recollected that there were hardly 25-30 houses in the colony at that time. Most of these houses were single-storied. He managed to open a shop at market no 1 in November 1971, which became the first shop in CR Park.

Read: CR Park throbs with Bengali way of life

Shyam aptly named his shop ‘Mazumdar & Brothers.’ Currently, they run a saree shop in CR Park’s market number 1 and a grocery shop in CR Park’s market number 4.

Children described his story through their creative visual graphics and displayed it at the exhibition.

First Published: Aug 21, 2017 13:25 IST