Once upon a time, ‘Dilli’ (before it became Delhi) was synonymous to ‘shaan’ (pride). After all, Delhi was India’s throne of tehzeeb and high culture. However, things changed with times and fast forward today, Delhi unlike the good olden days is no more the same. In fact, in recent times it is only infamous for not so decent things. We didn’t even realize and the country’s heart transformed from ‘Dilwalon Ki Dilli’ to ‘Tu Jaanta nahi mai kaun hun’.
As much as my heart bleeds to write this, Delhi NCR today is addressed as the rape capital of India, where every guy is seen as a rapist and every woman is judged as a slut. Outsiders metaphorize ‘it’ as the forbidden fruit, the untaken route and an old scary city where people are ready to kill each other just to get their paranthas first. And to tell you in the language mostly used by a Mumbaikar, Gunda giri and show-off comes handy to Delhiites.
However, despite all these not-so-decent things about Delhi that we usually hear, let me remind you that Delhi is also a city of surprising contrasts – It may be rude, snooty, boisterous, loud, brash with a VIP culture, but even amidst these pessimisms, it is enterprising with its vibrant and majestic never say die spirit. For instance, if there are saabs and mem saabs who no more use ‘excuse me’, ‘please’ or ‘sorry’, there are people who go beyond their means to help a stranger.
And today, I’ll talk about all these people, NGO and corporate houses who have been recreating and reinventing Delhi NCR to live to its old epithet – Dilwalon ki Dilli.
Delhi NCR Is Not Heartless, Even the Not So Privileged Class Helps Strangers and the Less Fortunate
It is highly unfortunate that good work usually does not make headlines in our newspapers or TV screens. So, though we usually know about rapists in the form of rickshaw drivers and cab riders, we do not get a chance to recognize rickshaw and cab drivers who act none less than modern-day heroes, helping and saving many on a daily basis.
Now that we are talking about Delhi, let me tell you about Omkarnath Katharia who not only offers free packets of food and water to the street vendors at the traffic signals but also provides free to and fro rides to the hospital for the sick. His empathy towards others doesn’t just end there, his auto has a note with his phone number that is accessible to all. Anybody can call him anytime during an emergency and this gentle heart readily takes all call.
And if you thought his act of kindness isn’t epidemic, then let me tell you one of his passengers Rashmi Krishnan was so astonished by seeing his act of selflessness that she too felt like contributing towards this noble cause. Soon, she started a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds so that the collected amount could help Omkarnath in buying a cab; giving him more space not just to keep the free stuff but also help him to earn more money to help the less fortunate. Yes, kindness is contagious in Delhi too!
Not just fellow beings, Delhi even cares for stray dogs and pets
A humble soul Achala Sharma and her family feeds around 800 destitute dogs in Delhi. She also runs a foundation ‘Kanak’ that takes care of abandoned dogs around Delhi. Although she has been looked down by her neighbors and others for feeding stray dogs, she continues to do her work compassionately.
If the story of Achala surprised you, then the story of Pratima Devi will change your impression of Delhi for good. Well, the 61-year-old ragpicker looks and cares about 400 street dogs. She not only feeds them and gives them a space around her shanty little house but also goes to work so that she can feed them. If this is not kindness, if this is not compassion, if this is not being a dilwaali, nothing can ever be.
Vodafone India Has Been Taking Social Initiatives to Transform the Lives of Delhi Citizens in the Most Optimistic Way
With an aim to transform the lives of so many people in and around Delhi, Vodafone in its flagship social initiative #CelebratingSuper is building the roots of empathy and compassion amongst not just another being but also towards the society and environment as a whole. Not long ago, the telecom company had set up first-of-its-kind Air Purifying shelter in the Safdarjung area of Delhi, helping not just the sick commuters of Safdarjung hospital and AIIMS but also others.
With each festival, Vodafone super volunteers have turned empath giving a helping hand not just to the disabled and elderly as they walk into the puja pandals but also to the young lots by celebrating with them an eco-friendly Diwali with unique environmental friendly crackers.
The corporate house also had a special initiative called as Exchange happiness wherein they not only gifted the less fortunate with toys, clothes, and gifts but also encouraged others to donate the same. A huge number turned out for this social cause. Isn’t this a huge testimony to the fact that Delhi and its people are compassionate towards others no matter how badly they are stereotyped outside.
Lastly, let me tell you how the judicial body in Delhi too gave us hope that despite all the pessimism around the place and its people, the heart of India still has a great potential not only to reform the heart of the people but also live to its old label – Dilli Hai Dilwalon Ki…
Last Month, Delhi High Court hired 5 acid attack survivors & a transgender
In a first of its kind initiative, a transgender and 5 acid attack survivors were hired by Delhi High Court based on their qualification after Chief Justice Gita Mittal talked to them personally. This news not only highlights compassion by our institutions but also lets me heave a sense of high relief to see that even in the eye of government institutions, each life matters. While highlighting the story, what really makes me happy is the fact that the DSLSA – Delhi State Legal Services Authority looking into their plight sent a proposal to the court; trying to help them the way they could.
Now that individuals, corporate houses, private and even government institutions are coming together to transform the lives of Delhi citizen and its culture for the better, don’t you think it is time for all of us to take a step towards breaking the new-age stereotype around Delhi? After all, it is high time, we work in harmony towards reclaiming the grand old title yet again; beating all the stereotypes and typecasts so as to make Delhi, not just a smart city but also a better city.