Delhiwale: Happy Birthday, Mandi House’s forgotten Russian
His coat buttons are open, his hands are crossed behind his back and his face is turned towards the Nepal embassy. But his clothes are splattered with bird droppings.
Today is Alexander Pushkin’s birthday. His bronze statue stands high on one side of central Delhi’s Mandi House square. Unless you are looking for it, you will not be able to spot it.
Pushkin died in 1837. Almost 150 years later, he became responsible for the success of a Delhi writer — Vikram Seth’s first novel The Golden Gate was written in verse, after Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin.
The back of the statue’s pedestal has a few crudely etched Russian words along with the number ‘1988’. Was this the year Pushkin was installed here?
A quick Google search reveals that the statue was unveiled during Russian president Mikhail Gorbachev’s three-day visit in November, 1988. A statue of Lenin, too, was unveiled during the same trip in Nehru Park. The erstwhile USSR is history, and Lenin’s theories seem to find few takers today. But Pushkin lives on in the hearts of all those who love good storytelling. If you are one of those, drop by today with some flowers.
Karnataka Animal Husbandry Minister Prabhu B Chavan appealed to people not to sacrifice cattle for the Bakrid festival while warning of stern action against the offenders. The Minister emphasised the Cow Slaughter Prohibition Act has already been in force in Karnataka. Generally, during the Bakrid festival, there is a tradition of sacrifice, for which livestock such as cow, ox, calf and camels are also used, said Chavan.
Chandigarh Chandigarh administrator Banwarilal Purohit on Wednesday gave in-principle approval for a synthetic running track at Sukhna Lake. UT adviser Dharam Pal, said, “The Chandigarh Heritage Conservation Committee had earlier given its go-ahead for the proposal. Next, the detailed plan and cost estimates will be prepared; and then, tenders will be floated for the project.” A UT official said the proposed track is part of the administration's efforts to give Sukhna Lake a major facelift.
The National Highway Authority of India has approved two over-bridges, which are likely to reduce travel time between Kalka and Zirakpur and alleviate traffic jams on the stretch by next year. NHAI has already floated tenders for the 60-m wide over-bridges, which will be constructed at a cost of ₹50 crore. It has invited bids for the “construction and site improvement of the four-lane national highway (NH-22) on the Zirakpur-Parwanoo junction.”
Fifteen students had a narrow escape after their school bus skidded into a waterlogged open drain in Daulat Singhwala village in Phabat area of Zirakpur. The bus, which was ferrying students of Blue Bird High School, Sector 16, Panchkula, was making way for another school bus when it skidded into the overflowing drain. The bus tilted in the drain, but passersby and parents were able to rescue the children through the driver's window.
Tricity residents woke up to heavy rainfall for the second time this month on Wednesday. Three people went missing after a taxi, shuttling two commuters, was swept away in a flashflood in the Patiala-Ki-Rao rivulet as the driver attempted to cross the causeway in Tanda Village near Nayagaon. The owner of the vehicle, Rakesh Kumar told the police that Gaurav had called him saying two people, travelling to Baddi, had booked his cab.