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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Kanpur- Pigs, Vikrams & Gutkha.

Once upon a time Kanpur was called land of swine and auto-rickshaw, speaking in English: pigs and Vikram auto only. It was popular idiom among citizens that beware while driving of vikrams and pigs. They can stop, run and take unpredictable turn on the road. And in fighting, you cann't win from their masters.
Kanpur is without doubt one of the most polluted and chaotic cities.Today the world is hit by swine flu, I recall the old days when private pig farms were proliferated in the city without any monitoring. Kanpur was the centre of bristle trade for the whole of India under colonialism mainly done by Khatiks. After the decline of the bristle trade the Khatik switched over to public pig rearing which became a menace to the whole of Kanpur.
The brief rides on the “Vikrams” for roaming in the city can invariably left an outsider tired, irritable and generally sick. Still People prefer vikrams than crammed buses for its mobility and fast service inside jammed road of Kanpur. But I loved them for their talkative drivers and mithun da type sidekicks hanging outside autorickshaw. The image down there is of an old autorickshaw which were the masters of road in starting 90's. Pretty fun to ride in them, now they are replaced by better ones. Still crazy drive in vikram having seat beside driver is must part of mine all Kanpur trip.
Now number of pigs is significantly reduced by the action of ex- mayor Anil Kumar Sharma. And, CNG buses considerably reduces the workload of transportation and outing of old vehicles (15 years old) reduced emission considerably.

One more deserved mention about specialities of Kanpur is Gutkha. Wikipedia defines Gutkha (also spelled gutka, guttkha, guthka) as super kick a** version of Skoal tobacco. Spitting paan masala is so common that even your white shirt is saved from blackening due to pollution, a journey in local bus will surely make it damp with red mark. Pan Parag, Kamla Pasand, Talab, Rajshree, Natraj and Wah are name of the popularized brands here.
While the decision to ban gutkha is well received by and large, it is seen as a big blow to some five lakh people are employed in this sector and the revenue loss to the state government are immense. Over fifty different Paan Masala and gutkha industries will not be the only losers, even the itra (perfume) industry of Kannauj fall in this trap. As, ninety per cent of the perfume here is used by the Paan Masala and Gutkha industries in Kanpur.

I am not uttering a single word about the dying roads having valleys and plateaus on them. At every single Billboard and wall , there is a name of the Member of the parliament of this city Mr. ShriPrakash Jaiswal who also happens to be a Cabinet minister and that too Home minster (state). I wonder if he ever visits his constituency or makes cunning speeches !!

Here only, I saw filth all around and myself experienced this, now I call it a ‘Human Jam’. What a city, what a mess. Kanpur Series goes on.....

Truly, Wah Kanpur, Ahh Kanpur!!!..........

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