For the second time, Delhi’s iconic Sunday book market in Daryaganj was not set up on August 4. According to reports, the book market has been closed due to an order by the Delhi High Court.
Why the market closed down
The Delhi High Court gave out a directive to North Delhi Municipal Corporation, asking it to shut all markets on Netaji Subhash Marg, including the famous ‘Patri Kitaab Bazaar’. The order came after Delhi Traffic Police reported that the road saw high traffic volumes and pedestrians had no space to walk on the footpath that was occupied by booksellers.
Veditha Reddy, an official of the municipal corporation, said in a statement,
“We are merely going by the Delhi High Court order. The court has declared the Netaji Subhash Marg a ‘no-squatting and no-hawking’ zone, so the book market cannot operate out of there.”
How people mourned the end of the book bazaar
Emotions on social media ran high upon the development as people on social media regretted the closure of the book market, with many on Twitter also reminiscing their experiences of going to the bazaar.
It’s official. Today Delhi’s great longtime Daryaganj Sunday Book Bazaar did not open. So easy to demolish an institution! Here’s one of the many pics I took there over the course of many many years! A barber among the books… a beautiful way of the city going with the wind…. pic.twitter.com/cLfHpl20AZ
— mayank austen soofi (@thedelhiwalla) August 4, 2019
I have been mourning this since y’day. The Daryaganj Sunday book bazaar was a life saver.
It is not easy to get a hosteller out of bed early on a Sunday morning. But the best choice (read ‘before anyone else got their grubby hands on MY books’) was available as the books were https://t.co/mXDN9NCYx6
— Ritu Chaudhry (@TheRituChaudhry) August 5, 2019
What is wrong with our judicial system. A simple Sunday market of books is being laid to rest.These are the people who are helping diminishing population of book lovers. alive in digital word.
— Sunil Kathuria (@Kathuriasunil) August 5, 2019
— Sibesh Kar (@sibeshkar) August 5, 2019
Some of my most treasured books were bought from pavement sellers — both from Daryaganj Sunday market as well as the Mumbai one in Flora Fountain… to a lesser extent even in Kolkata (but many of those turned out to be pirated copies).
— Prosenjit Datta (@ProsaicView) August 5, 2019
— Jinoy Jose Palathingal (@jinoyjosep) August 5, 2019
Unbelievable! It has been THE place to go to for books you may not find anywhere—and at unbelievable prices—for generations..
HC order shuts Delhi’s 50 year old Daryaganj book bazaar https://t.co/basD8aAlQx via @BT_India
— rajeevdubey (@rajeevdubey) August 4, 2019
Daryaganj was the Flora Fountain of Delhi. The heaps of books on the street has been such a fascinating sight. The book sellers at both these places were at par with any qualified librarian.
— Dinesh Verma (@tweeterdinesh) August 5, 2019
Will the market be shifted?
The book market houses over 250 booksellers who sell a variety of books including academic, literary, children’s etc. It was proposed to be closed in 1990 but the proposal was later scrapped. Another proposal is reportedly being put to the booksellers to shift the market to Ramlila Maida. However, many booksellers don’t like the idea.
A bookseller told HT,
“The Ramlila Maidan is a hub of festivities and rallies. As it is, we run the market only on Sundays. Even then we lose out on the two Sundays approaching Republic Day and Independence Day. At Ramlila Maidan, we will lose out on many more days of business.”