Transformation Of A Rehabilitation Colony To Media Market: Madipur; Bhagwati Prasad
Around 1967 a big population staying in the jhuggies at Sant Nagar in South Delhi was uprooted and resettled at a plot adjacent to Madipur Gaon in West Delhi. The area came to be known as Madipur JJ Colony and was divided into 6 blocks, A, B, C, D, E and F. Now began a struggle to reorient oneself in a new land, a new place. Most of the people staying here come from Rajasthan and belong to the lower classes and Scheduled Castes and Tribes - Sindhi Meghwal Khatik (Rajasthan), Jatav Khatik (Mathura), Berwas and the Valmiki castes. The Raigar Sindhis and the Jatav castes were primarily in the shoe trade. The Khatik Jatav castes either dealt in scrap or repaired pressure cookers. The Valmikis were involved in sanitation work. Every lane had a majority of one caste or the other. Apart from a market there were broad streets and a park in every block. This is a demographic portrait of the old Madipur.
It has been 30 years since this place came up. Change is now evident in every block, market, house and road. With the growing requirements of people, the space allocated by the government has gone up from 22 yard plots to 25/30 yard plots. Houses adjacent to the roads have been converted into shops. These dwellings have expanded not only laterally but also upwards, single stories being built up into 4 and 5 story houses. On each floor, at least 5 -8 people stay as tenants. The growing population contributes not only to the local housing but to the expanding market economy as well.
In the market one notices that along with shops catering to daily needs there are a variety of others ranging from shoe repair to media goods. Shops selling audio cassettes are prominent. Interestingly, each looks different from the the other, due to competition. Apart from filmi and non filmi tapes, these shops stock cassettes in Garwali, Kumaoni, Nepali, Rajasthani, Bhojpuri, Punjabi and other languages, catering to the variety of people who have come to stay here. Shopkeepers talked about the changes in the market and the technology and the ups and downs in their business. They provide interesting stories about the new trends coming up in the music markets.
Although these people are not highly educated, they can understand the ebb and flow of the market. So far they have survived these swings. How the changes in the relations between shopkeepers, companies, suppliers, local consumers and law enforcers affect the nature of the market only the future will tell us.