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

Yoga Day has changed perceptions about it in ten years: PM

The expanding awareness of Yoga over the past ten years has changed perceptions associated with it, prime minister Narendra Modi said in Srinagar on Friday on the occasion of the International Day of Yoga.   “Yoga is now emerging beyond limited boundaries. The world is witnessing t

Listening to tomorrow: The imperative for youth-driven data in India

Over a decade and a half ago when I was still a student, millennials felt the burning need to break down the barriers of gatekeeping in traditional media. Young voices, brimming with ideas and opinions, were often sidelined, their perspectives deemed too marginal or unrefined for mainstream discourse. This

Israel-Palestine War: Lessons from Past Peace Efforts

Israel-Palestine War: Give Peace a Chance By Dr. Joseph K. Thomas IndiePress, 243 pages, Rs 399 T

How inner work helps subvert painful narratives

Unashamed By Neha Bhat HarperCollins, 240 pages, Rs 499   * How do I connect better with my partner? *&nbs

Heatwave spikes power demand: measures taken to ensure supply

The Northern Region has been experiencing high power demand conditions due to a prevailing heat wave since May 17. Despite these challenging conditions, the highest ever peak demand of 89 GW in the Northern Region was successfully met on June 17. This achievement was made possible by import

PM to release 17th installment of PM-KISAN at Varanasi on Tuesday

Prime minister Narendra Modi will release the 17th instalment of the PM-KISAN scheme on Tuesday at Varanasi and more than 9.26 crore farmers will receive the benefits amounting to over Rs.20,000 crore. The PM will also distribute the certificates to more than 30,000 SHGs trained as Krishi Sakhis to work as

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook Twitter Google Plus Linkedin Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter