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5 Unique Things That Make Lucknow The Amazing City That It Is!

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By Aanchal Khulbe:

मुस्कुराइए, कि आप लखनऊ में हैं (Smile, for you are in Lucknow)”

Thus reads a small hoarding in front of one of the city’s most famous paan shops in the busy market of Hazratganj. Indeed, there is reason enough to smile! When one Lucknowite’s mind was dissected and cut opened in two, these were the five things that were found stuffed inside, the tentacles ever galloping for more. This article talks about the psychology that drives the city of Lucknow.

Lucknow

Pride and no prejudice:

What is pumped into the blood of this city of astonishment is the rich, unyielding sense of pride. That of crediting one’s birth to a place of epitomized cultural distinguishment, and the cognizance of a place so celebrated that one feels the terrible urge to brag about. This is just one of the many myriad powers of the city.

We cannot call Lucknow a cross-cultural junction. This is because Lucknow has emerged powerful enough to defy the extremist laws of the prevailing communities, so as to give it the name of a “junction”. It is the thick layer between contrasting identities with a peculiar culture of its own, which has evolved as the quintessence. Now, Lucknow is seen by the world by this mixed culture, which incorporates both the Hindu and the Muslim lifestyles.

Ethnically modern:

Lucknow boasts of a victory among revolting genres in more than one form. Here, opulence lies in traditionalism. Wealth lies in richness in culture. This is the land of culture and variety, and perfect splendor is when after the World Cup, with faces painted in the tricolors, you travel to and block the Hazratganj road at midnight, and dance amidst the confusion of a hundred criss-crossing enthusiasts exactly like you. When after stuffing yourself full in plush hotels, you turn your car to Azhar paanwala and come home happy. It is in the little details that complete the process of perfection, the details that cannot be sought anywhere else.

Nawabs with kebabs:

One cannot go to Lucknow and miss the exotic kebabs which melt at once when placed on the tongue, like butter, yet sustains the subtle savor for quite long. Established in 1862, the Tunday Kababi has a respectable past of 152 years of glory. Defeating the efficacy of all the large 5-star hotels, it wins the ‘clean sweep’ among food hubs, much like the Modi-sweep in the recent General Elections. The Tunday business, in all its years, has never seen a downfall.

There is a fine thread which subtly binds the two cultures into tight knots, and this is food. The Hindus enjoy beef kebabs as much as the Muslims. Ravdis are popular among all groups, and nobody can talk about Lucknow and not mention its famous Dashheri Aam, especially from the thriving village of Maliyabad.

Therefore, food shows no discrimination. It is not subject to converging mindsets or communalism either. Food is just the essential tadka on the already prepared dish.

Mind your Tehzeeb:

With opposite communities residing in one area, a bilingual culture is the most common guess. However, Lucknow never fails to surprise us. The cultural Capital of North India has come up with an intricate euphemism of the opposite prevailing cultures – a blend, which in its attempt to encompass elements from both Hindi and Urdu, ended up mixing up both with a high form of accent, called Ganga-Jamuna tehzeeb. It is a characteristic way of speech, generally symptomatic of a great deal of respect to the listener.

Diplomacy in the name of politics:

Lucknow is a picture of a beaming culture within a strong political framework. The two layers have strong identities of their own, but how these meet is interesting. The juncture is marked by a melting effect – both melt when in contact with each other. This is due to the heat of diplomacy. The leaders have huge sugar-coated promises to give, but what is presented in the name of ‘development’ is self- adulation and competitive narcissism. We see a Lohia park coming up, in the quest of this kind of competition. Then, we have a renovated Ambedkar Park. Later, the Hazratganj area is renovated to match the eliteness of Cannaught Plae, Delhi, and others like it. Such developments are still in progress, because there is no one to check, no one to question. The citizens seem contended with the pretence of lavishness around them. The check on buck-flow or addressing important, evident issues like poverty or illiteracy are out of the question anyway.

This city has the might to astonish us beyond comprehension, and then pull us back into the darkness of politics. Being one of the major centres of political powers in India, it never fails to make its presence marked. This city can enchant, shock and perplex at the same time. The psychology of a Lucknowite, thus, is that of the proud and the blind.

You must be to comment.
  1. Sagar Sehgal

    Very well summarised!

  2. Neeharika Tiwari

    It’s really true. Very nice report Miss Aanchal. Actually I’m from Lucknow also. It’s my home. I’d shared it with my fb friends.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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