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Delhiwale: A walk in Batukeshwar Dutt’s Colony

Named after a renowned freedom fighter, the colony in central Delhi has a harmonious relationship with its tree cover.

delhi Updated: Aug 01, 2018 14:28 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Mayank Austen Soofi
Hindustan Times
delhiwale,BK Dutt Colony,Batukeshwar Dutt
BK Dutt Colony is named after Batukeshwar Dutt, a freedom fighter who, along with the celebrated revolutionary Bhagat Singh, bombed the Central Legislative Assembly during British rule.(HT Photo )

In summer, the blooming flowers of the park’s Amaltas trees paint BK Dutt Colony an ethereal shade of gold. During the rest of the year, however, the park looks as charming and ordinary as the central Delhi neighbourhood in which it is situated.

BK Dutt Colony is named after Batukeshwar Dutt, a freedom fighter who, along with the celebrated revolutionary Bhagat Singh, bombed the Central Legislative Assembly during British rule.

Strolling along its lanes transports you to the world of colonies — those autonomous eco-systems with their own residents’ welfare associations and Mother Dairy milk booths. Unlike the neighbouring Lodhi Colony, BK Dutt Colony is not a government housing scheme. With some exceptions, the families living here migrated to Delhi as refugees from what is now Pakistan. The colony has a very harmonious relationship with its tree cover. Cars are parked amid rows of peepals. Clothes hung on walls to dry jostle for space with money plant vines. While pink bougainvilleas crawl around the metal grills of entrance gates.

An elderly man who has been ironing clothes in the colony for more than 30 years has claimed his rights as its resident by setting up a tent-like home on the roadside. It is lined with flower pots. You may also spot his ancient-looking coal-heated press.

Close by, a barber has set up his hair-cutting salon beside a tree.

The colony is also home to the Karbala ground where every year in Muharram, Shiite Muslims from across Delhi gather to bury the taziya, the ritual coffins of Imam Husain Ibn Ali, the Prophet’s grandson.

Peacock sightings are normal.

In 1929, inspired by French anarchist Auguste Vaillant, Batukeshwar Dutt and Bhagat Singh threw two bombs inside the visitors’ gallery of the legislative assembly – now better known as Sansad Bhawan. There were no deaths. In 1931, Bhagat Singh was hanged to death after being charged with the assassination of a British police officer. Batukeshwar Dutt lived to see India after its independence. He died in a Delhi hospital in 1965 following a prolonged illness.

Of course, a good way to respect his memory is to take a walk in the colony named after him.

First Published: Aug 01, 2018 14:28 IST