Amritsar Revisited ~ a photo journey
by Artika Aurora Bakshi
|Born and brought up in Amritsar, every time I think of the city I think of the warm bonds and cold lassis, hot Amritsari kulchas and sweet hospitality.
A city founded by Guru Ram Das and put on the world map for being the most important city for Sikhs world over, it has history pouring out of every corner. Blessed was this city and it’s people.
Highly pleased at the sincere devotion and courage of the women of Amritsar, Guru Tegh Bahadur ji said, “maian rabb razaian”(Ever blessed by God be the women of Amritsar.)
Much has changed over the years- a little for the better and a lot more for the worse. A city that could have been the pride of Punjab and India, lies neglected.
Where on one side I can see the pristine Golden Temple and the famous Rambagh Gardens, the other side sadly portrays despair. Rubble from incomplete building and road projects, overflowing trash bins and stray animals all over.
I am revisiting Amritsar here in a series of photographs…
What stood out in Amritsar during my last visit in July, 2013 was the commitment of it’s citizens.
The commitment of the Amritsari’s is visible in the faces of VOAVoice of Amritsar and Eco Amritsar, two NGOs started by a group of conscious citizens. The mission statement of VOA is stated below………
“This group is created as an aftermath of ANNA HAZAARE anticorruption movement.The aim is to continue public awareness in all fields with special emphasis on development in the city of AMRITSAR. On 8th of April 2011 at 8 PM history was created in Company Bagh when over 300 people assembled impromptu to support the cause of anti corruption movement.All like minded people are welcome to join so that the VOA becomes a flagship against CORRUPTION , BAD ADMINISTRATION ,BAD GOVERNANCE and above all POOR PEOPLE COMPLIANCE to all initiatives of NGO`s or Administration. Lets cheer up this 3rd media which is not corruptible , in which everybody is an administrator,journalist and editor. LONG LIVE THE SPIRIT OF CLEAN AND FAIR SOCIETY.
VOA has been active ever since, in awareness and cleanliness drives all across the city. It was rather funny to see that street vendors were on their alert, the moment they saw any of the VOA members approaching with the VOA stickers shining brightly on their cars. Eco Amritsar is also another strong voice that that taken up this herculean task of making Amritsar the pride of Punjab.A historic meeting envisaging Eco Amritsar took place in the city in July 2012 bringing together over 200 representatives of religious bodies, city administration officials, environmentalists, youth leaders, educationists and business leaders to commit to make the entire city eco-friendly by year 2017 when city celebrates its 440th anniversary.
The task of these two premier organizations is not an easy one, especially when faced with the high level of inefficiencies and corruption at the district and state levels. Amritsar has been neglected and the state of affairs is a sorry one. Until and unless each Amritsari does not move beyond the boundaries of their fancy kothis and steps into the streets, the task of regaining Amritsar’s lost glory will remain a dream, lost in the files of the city and state administrators.
Wishing VOA and Eco Amritsar all the very best in their endeavors.