Gurugram’s MG Highway: From a monument hub to ‘infamous’ Mall Mile


Seventy-year-old Vishnu Bhargava moved to DLF Part 2 from New Delhi on March 25, 1993 together with his spouse, two daughters and a son. He remembers the exact date as a result of for him, transferring to Gurugram was nothing wanting a dream.

“I used to be transferring to my very own home right here from a rented place in Larger Kailash 1, and Gurugram (Gurgaon on the time) was a quaint suburb and surprisingly, very secure,” Bhargava recalled. One among his fondest recollections from 25 years outdated is searching at MG Highway from the balcony of his home to see if any automobile was approaching. “You might see the MG Highway Junction from my home at the moment. There have been no buildings in any respect,” he says.

In response to heritage conservators and restorers, greater than a decade in the past, the MG Highway stretch was residence to 18th century monuments known as ‘pyau’. The Dhauli Pyau was the place the Dhronacharya Metro station is positioned at present. It was restored and maintained by the Haryana chapter of the Indian Nationwide Belief for Artwork & Cultural Heritage (INTACH) since 1998, and was razed throughout a land acquisition drive for the Metro by the Haryana City Improvement Authority in February 2007.

One other such monument, the Nimbuwali Pyau, was the place the mall mile exists at present. Navin Piplani, conservation architect, stated, “The pyau used to fall on the ‘shahi raasta’ from Mehrauli to Jaipur. Travellers on the route would halt for breaks close to these pyaus. I’ve spent many a Sundays round these monuments too. I bear in mind there was a small tea store close to certainly one of them.”

Historical past buff Sohail Hashmi too remembered how he used to go to mango orchards in Chattarpur on MG Highway each summer time as a toddler. “I largely bear in mind MG highway as a nondescript one. Nonetheless, on additional continuing on the highway in direction of Gurugram, one would see an space which was once often called Dhauli Pyau,” stated Hashmi.

At present, the Mehrauli-Gurugram Highway, popularly often called MG Highway, has been branded as a infamous highway within the gentrification capital of India. A 2.5 kilometre stretch of the highway is dotted with malls, pubs and eateries, a lot in order that the highway has been branded because the ‘Mall Mile’. In July, Gurugram police raided 4 pubs and arrested 17 bar homeowners on expenses of immoral actions. Residents of MG Highway have been taking to the streets to protest in opposition to the rising crime graph within the space.

Residents stated that the early 2000s was when MG Highway began turning to what it’s at present. Earlier than that, it was a single highway lined with bushes on each the perimeters.

“The shops got here up right here by 2004. We had been initially elated as a result of we didn’t must journey two kilometres simply to purchase bread anymore,” stated Bhargava. Nonetheless, he added, because of the emergence of retail financial system and company places of work, folks began getting richer and financial divisions within the society led to a rise in thefts. “This created large gangs whose members would frequent the bars on MG Highway,” he stated.

Mukta Naik, city planner and senior researcher with the Centre for Coverage Analysis, moved to Gurugram in 2004 –across the time when malls had been sprouting throughout MG Highway. She stated that malls was once a novelty again then and that individuals from New Delhi would go to Gurugram’s malls. “They had been a brand new attraction for households who may eat and store below the identical roof. There wasn’t a lot of a pub tradition again then. All of the unlawful actions that one retains listening to about didn’t begin taking place in a single day. The authorities ought to have been vigilant about these items. They grew slowly. Initially, Sahara mall was once infamous for these happenings. Regularly, one began listening to about different malls,” she stated.

‘The shops are right here. However the place are the folks?’, had been a few of the considerations newspapers and residents of Gurugram had been echoing round 2002.

Scientist Sanjeev Kumar Saxena who was born in Gurugram stated that though the shops had arrived, poor connectivity to New Delhi was nonetheless a difficulty. “However quickly after, these malls, accompanied by the pubs, grew to become a hangout for households. Individuals had been actually comfortable again then,” Saxena stated. He pressured that there must be some try to convey again the misplaced glory of the highway, and really useful turning part of the highway into a delegated strolling monitor.

Nonetheless, Naik stated that whereas it was vital to curb unlawful actions, this didn’t have to return at the price of town’s nightlife.

“Gurugram has some huge cash and multinationals. International cities the world over do have nightlife and that nightlife does result in a scenario the place unknown folks might go to a pub and find yourself strolling out of it collectively. Possibly we try to impose a morality code of a really typical form. That’s one thing we have to query,” stated Naik.

ACP (retd.) Ramesh Pal recalled that the scenario obtained worse round 2005 when folks from New Delhi began frequenting the shops on MG Highway as they had been serving liquor until late night time. “A few of these bar homeowners had political connections. So as a result of political stress, the police couldn’t do a lot regardless of attempting to curb their actions,” Pal stated.

Sociologists say that it’s pure that not everyone seems to be glad with the fast tempo of the event of their neighbourhood. Shantanu Roy, a 35-year-old sociology trainer at a non-public faculty in Gurugram, believes that residents are emotionally connected to their neighbourhoods. “Having a bar or a pub in your locality can characterize the final word inconvenience. The one factor folks don’t need subsequent door is a bar. That manner, sure areas could be divisive or inclusive. The distinction between sure teams of individuals in an space can result in self segregation in using explicit areas.”

The bar homeowners of MG Highway have already began trying to find areas in different areas of town akin to Golf Course Highway and Sohna Highway to arrange store, in accordance with sources accustomed to the matter. Roy stated there isn’t a lot time earlier than different residential areas too begin having inconveniences with the fast urbanisation.

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