Kanpur: where politics is now a joke

Once a major manufacturing hub that sent Marxists and socialists to the Lok Sabha, the city is now not even a poor shadow of its former self

ajay

Ajay Singh | March 3, 2014



As you approach Kanpur, even before a glimpse of the city you see a pall of smoke and dust in the air. It is a symptom of the city' precarious existence. Once a manufacturing hub known as Manchester of the east, the city is now bursting at seams.

Chimneys of textile mills have fallen in disuse and its industries are in a decadent state. Those living here for long do not take umbrage when Kanpur is often referred as “dying city”. “It (Kanpur) is nothing but a heap of garbage,” says a receptionist at the Kanha International Hotel near the place known here as Gumti No 5. The Grand Trunk (GT) Road here runs parallel to the railway line and their crossings cause traffic snarls which takes hours on end to clear.

Also read: Where are good netas, asks techie turned AAP leader eyeing Kanpur LS ticket

But Kanpur was once a vibrant and thriving city reflecting the very essence of the idea of India. The Armapur Estate was established in the city to manufacture ordnance on large scale. The sprawling campuses of IIT, National Sugar Institute (NSI), and Hercourt Butler Technology Institute (HBTI) are some of the relics of that old grandeur.

In terms of politics, the city was a trend-setter with SM Mukherjee, a veteran Marxist, representing it in the Lok Sabha many times. With a large concentration of working class, socialism was the dominant ideology in the city. Trade unions like CITU, INTUC, AITUC, UTUC and BMS used to vie with one another to garner maximum support. As late as in 1989, CPM leader Subhashini Ali, a joint candidate of VP singh-led alliance, represented Kanpur in the Lok Sabha.

Later, Kanpur got intensely polarised on communal lines that marginalised the Left parties. Now Subhashini Ali is looking for a safe constituency in West Bengal. That politics has transformed radically is evident in the hoardings put up by prospective candidates. One such hoarding put up by Samajwadi Party candidate Raju Srivastava asks voters to choose the TV comedian for "vikas aur hansi” (for development and jest).

Politics, indeed, is a joke in Kanpur. Union coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal who has been representing the city in the Lok Sabha for three terms has done nothing for it in return. In terms of infrastructure, this city of fabled wealth appears a poor cousin of even B-grade towns. The rampant corruption has stifled entrepreneurial initiatives. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Kanpur is gasping for fresh air – not metaphorically but literally also.

Comments

 

Other News

Sowing wheat earlier can help increase yields in India: US researcher

Yield gaps in wheat production in India can be countered with an earlier sowing date, says a University of Michigan researcher.   Using a new way to measure wheat yields, Meha Jain, assistant professor at the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability, found that the wheat yie

Giving birth as a Baiga

Kharpariya village, about 50 km from the headquarters town of Madhya Pradesh’s Mandla district, is like many villages in the region, home to the Baiga, deemed a particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG) for whom permanent contraception methods are banned to prevent extinction. However, care for p

Being the prime minister’s brother

Somabhai Modi says he remembers only one occasion when he offered his younger brother prime minister Narendra Modi advice regarding work. This, he says, was when Modi was chief minister of Gujarat. After one of his weekly grievance redressal sessions, the then chief minister had enquired after the well-b

Should ration cards not linked to Aadhaar be rendered ineligible?

Should ration cards not linked to Aadhaar be rendered ineligible?

INS Kiltan commissioned into Indian Navy

 INS Kiltan, the third anti-submarine warfare (ASW) stealth corvette built under project 28 (Kamorta class), was commissioned into the Indian Navy by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman at the naval dockyard in Visakhapatnam.    The anti-submarine warfare stealth corvet

SAIL`s special grade steel used to build stealth corvette

Maharatna enterprise, Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL) has supplied defence grade micro-alloyed grade of steel (DMR 249A) steel plates for the indigenously built anti-submarine warfare (ASW) stealth corvette INS-Kiltan commissioned into Indian Navy.    SAIL’s integ



Video

Grand Diwali celebrations in Ayodhaya on eve of diwali

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter