By Aanchal Khulbe:
“à¤®à¥à¤¸à¥à¤•à¥à¤°à¤¾à¤‡à¤,Â à¤•à¤¿Â à¤†à¤ª à¤²à¤–à¤¨à¤Š à¤®à¥‡à¤‚ à¤¹à¥ˆà¤‚ (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.
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.
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.