This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Let Us Save The Magnificent White Walls From Turning Into Dust: The Connaught Place Restoration Project [Part 1]

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Sumedha Bharpilania:

I firmly am of the opinion that it was a conspiracy on the part of the three Goddesses of fate that landed me in the big, bright city of Delhi. I was always fascinated by the place, by the multiple charms it possesses, the hustle-bustle and the liveliness. I distinctly remember visiting the city several times during my growing years: walking by the streets of Chandni Chowk, doing all that I possibly could to hug the iron pillar at Qutub Minar, visiting distant relatives in the most obscure parts of old Delhi and gorging on a big bowl of hot chocolate fudge at Nirula’s and feeling like the luckiest kid in the world. However, there was, or rather is, one memory, that is so crystal clear in my head, that no amount of time can act like the mist and take the picture away from me. Connaught Place with its massive pillars enrobed in white – a white so brilliant, that I had to blink several times to adjust my eyes to the same, with its million corners lined with books- old and fresh alike, with pages that you could smell from a distance.

That same Connaught Place emanating the aroma of butter chicken that mingled with the fragrance of yellowing pages to create a most exquisite perfume, with its smiling people and nonchalant shopkeepers and with that surreal atmosphere- one that I find difficult to put into words till date. I remember holding onto my father’s hand and walking round and round, till I felt dizzy because of all that walking in circles and still managing to muster enough stamina to walk some more.

Time flew, like the birds perched on the square, whom I absolutely loved to chase, years passed, I began to live alone in what is now referred to as the rape-capital, but none of that deterred me from continuing to walk in circles and soaking up the sun shining upon those same massive white walls. Except that I have to mind my step every now and then in order to avoid falling into a pit dug in accordance with the orders of those who run the nation. Those people in authority, whose functions are making sure that the people fall into the grave the country is gradually turning into.

The Delhi government, by virtue of its several agencies such as the Delhi Development Authority, the Municipal Corporation Of Delhi and the Public Works Department has been seeking to restore Connaught Place to its glory which it exuded once upon a time. Full fledged work began a little before the Commonwealth Games in 2010 but sadly, was reduced to a crisis akin to the sort Mr Suresh Kalmadi had to manage. The result for both was, as very evident, failure and a miserable one. The lack of accountability on part of the labourers and contractors, constant shifting of deadlines, the continued abandonment of the project resulting in added chaos and the perpetually increasing costs (last heard, it was somewhere around 671 crores) have made life all the more difficult for the various shopkeepers and the commoners who cannot help but continue to show their unconditional faith and affection towards the place.

Also, the humongous number of permissions that were and still need to be sought, in order to go about the restoration project clearly highlight the red-tape and bureaucratic delay our country is plagued by. This reminds me of a story I had once read as a part of my Hindi literature syllabus in school: Krishan Chander’s ‘Jamun Ka Ped‘ where the author very appropriately described how a lot of useless governmental paperwork resulted in the loss of someone’s life, all revolving around a mere fallen tree. The present conditions surrounding Connaught Place are nothing but similar. The grandeur, the magnificence is lost somewhere in the dust it is encompassed by. The life of this place has been sucked out by virtue of the lack of action on part of the government employees, thus reducing it to an eyesore of sorts.

The heart-wrenching picture that Connaught Place paints with those hundred cars untidily scattered around the many circles, the dirty blue barricades and of course, the dug-up alleys calls for immediate action by those in authority to bring back the charm that it once held. Connaught Place is to Delhi what the Statue Of Liberty is to New York and the Eiffel Tower is to Paris: if the very symbol of the national capital is as sad as this, there can be no bigger shame for India. The last time a friend held my hand in order to prevent me from slipping and falling into one of the many gigantic pits, as I was blissfully walking towards Wenger’s to grab a chocolate éclair, I could not stop myself from recalling to memory a phrase I had once read on the walls of a tiny mosque situated near a flyover construction site in my hometown, Kolkata: ”Idhar bhi khuda hai, udhar bhi khuda hai, jaha dekho, bas khuda hi khuda hai’

Hindustan Times has taken a lead on this, to ask the Chief Minister to commit to a deadline and finish up work by that deadline. A petition has been compiled here, for this urgent need of restoration. We urge all citizens to sign it and save CP from turning into a forgotten fragment of the glorious history of Delhi.


You must be to comment.

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Aditee Das

By Ijaj khan


    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        Wondering what to write about?

        Here are some topics to get you started

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

        Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below