Who Is The Dilli-wala? Where To Find A “Dilli-wala” #Photostory

Posted on February 28, 2013 in PhotoNama

By Abhishek Choudhary:

There are so many stories claiming the origin of the name of the national capital of India. I prefer “Dilli” for few reasons. It symbolizes the historical importance this city has. May be, its more apt for old Delhi but it just becomes more fascinating to me with this Desi name. Another silly reason is the famous phrase “Dilli hai dilwalon ki” (Delhi belongs to large-hearted people). But this sounds a bit filmy now, isn’t it? From rich world heritage sites to luxury of big hotels and malls, from busy and narrow lanes of chawri bazaazr to wide Z+ security zones, from infamous GB road to Cannaught Place, from a green tuk-tuk to shining SUVs, from desi Punjabi food to international delicacies and from jantar —mantar portest to India gate parade, what is the real essence of DILLI and who is this Dilli-wala?


I tried to roam around the city,talk to few people and figure out the face of this “Dilli-wala”.Here are the few of them-

1. This “dilli-wala” is somebody who loves Punjabi food, talking and sharing a lot. He has an opinion on every possible issue in the country and if he is under 25 then possibly with a gtalk status saying “Delh-ites Rock”. This category of people is also famously referred as “TDCs” in some parts of the country.

delhi 1

2. Second person on my list is a businessman, not necessarily Punjabi. He may be an immigrant or an immigrant’s son but with a well settled shop, show-room, whole-sale or may be large size business over the years, he can easily claim himself to be a “Dilli wala”. This guy is very busy and hardly entertains strangers. He just talks about politics during tea with neighbouring shopkeepers and sometimes when he is at home attending guests.


3. Third category is of smart “Dilliwala” who believes in actions. Majority of them are studying in top colleges here. They can be easily found at India Gate with a candle, jantar-mantar with a banner and sometimes shouting in street plays. They separate themselves from the first category as they are focused. This category is very concerned; they question the system and try to bring change.

delhi 2

4. A retirement service man who dislikes Delhi traffic and pollution and wants to live the rest of his life in peaceful suburbs of Noida/Gurgaon.


5. He is 30+ and has big political contacts. He promises his far away relatives for any sort of work in Delhi. He carries a couple of mobile phones and hardly listens to anybody

delhi 5

There are so many faces of a “dilli-wala” but tough to say where is the “Dil-wala”(one with a large heart). Sometimes you meet him at a metro station when he offers his seat to an elderly or a lady but sometimes you think of this term as just an old saying when somebody doubts you for standing beside his house for more than 10 minutes. Is there something like “dillwala or dilwala” in the city where people are scared to offer help and girls are not safe after 5?

delhi 4