Is Dada Jungi House in Shahpur Jat Delhi’s most racist lane? Not at all, says owner
Designer Jenjum Gadi’s recent allegations that Dada Jungi House, a lane in Shahpur Jat, is barred for Northeasterners, sparked a furore on social media. We talk to the residents and bring you both sides of the debatedelhi Updated: Apr 24, 2017 18:10 IST
Once merely a shadow of the popular Hauz Khas Village, Shahpur Jat has made quite a name for itself due to the burgeoning number of fashion boutiques, eateries and murals in the area. However, the popular urban village recently found itself in the news, when designer Jenjum Gadi in his Facebook post termed one of its lanes, Dada Jungi House, as the “most racist place in Delhi”. His friend Jimmy Golmei, a 32-year-old Manipuri man, was allegedly harassed by residents in the area.
“My friend Jimmy had come to meet me and as I was not at the studio, he decided to wait at an outlet in the Dada Jungi lane. When he came out of the cafe, a guard rushed towards him and humiliated him. The guard told him he wasn’t welcome there and that he should leave immediately. These people are very rude and very racist and it is not only Jimmy, I have myself experienced such behaviour quite a few times,” said Gadi, whose studio is near the lane. The incident impelled us to do a reality check at the allegedly ‘racist’ Dada Jungi lane. Here’s what we found:
NORTH EAST = CHINA?:
They’ve come from China, and when we have banned all Chinese goods, so a lane banning a few Chinese people shouldn’t be such an issue.
We met a young resident who lives near Dada Jungi lane. When we asked him whether the residents disliked people from the Northeast, he seemed bemused and hesitated to answer at first. On probing further, he said, “Yeh log China se aa gaye hai, aur jab China ka maal India mein ban hai toh in logon ko ek lane mein jaane ko naa mile to ismein kya badi baat hai?” Despite our efforts to enlighten him that people from the Northeast are very much Indians, he stuck to his claim and asked us to not trouble him.
WE’RE DOING OUR JOB:
We have been instructed by the landlord to keep bad elements out and we are just doing our job.
Once at the lane, we questioned one of the security guards there, who denied any such incident outright and claimed that it was his job to keep the “wrong people” out. “Yeh aam raasta nahi hai, private property hai. Yahaan ya toh customer aate hain yaa dukaan waale, baaki hum kisi ko bhi allow nahi karte. Humein yahaan ke landlord ne saaf bol rakha hai ki jo galat lage, usey andar matt aane dena, toh hum wahi karte hain,” he said. He then asked us to go talk to “Pradhaanji”, the landlord, if we needed any further clarification about the lane policy.
This street is famous and often people visit to take a look at the designs here and replicate them outside for cheap. That is something we cannot allow.
When we were looking for the landlord, a guard of the lane stopped us. We told him that we were journalists and he was quick to guide us to the Pradhaan. The landlord also said he had no knowledge of such an incident. He added that the lane was private property, meant only for a select few: “Jo humein sahi nahi lagta woh iss lane mein nahi aa sakta. Thoroughfare allowed nahi hai iss lane mein aur humne do guard isiliye rakhein hain. Baaki agar dukaan se kuchh khareedna hai toh hum kuchh nahi kehte. Yahaan Northeast ke staff bhi kaam karta hai, unse poocho kabhi problem hui hai!”A few of his friends standing beside him also joined the discussion and supported his claims. “Dada Jungi House ka kaafi naam hai Dilli mein, toh agar koi bhi iska naam Facebook par uchhaal raha hai, ismein unka khud ka bhi toh koi fayda ho sakta hai na,” added his friend who wished to remain anonymous.
FAULT OF THE LOCALS:
A rule that was initially made with a good intention has eventually become a bit of a problem for a select few. I would not comment much about the issue or choose to be named because the locals here stand united and I do not wish to get into trouble.
Vriddhi Jain, a shopper in the lane, said, “This is the oddest incident, but then the locals here are known to be rowdy at times. Any educated person would not do such a thing. I guess what happened with Golmei was clearly due to ignorant locals. My friends have stores here and they do not share the same ideology.” A designer from the lane who wished not to be named added, “Since we own stores here, we’re no strangers to such behaviour by people. A rule that was initially made with a good intention has eventually become a bit of a problem for a select few. I would not comment much about the issue or choose to be named because the locals here stand united and I do not wish to get into trouble.”
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First Published: Apr 24, 2017 18:01 IST