There are two ways of making one’s trip; either as a lone ranger and rediscovering places on your own or find a group of like minded people and make your experience a really constructive one, by sharing knowledge, perspectives and ideologies about the destinations. Coming across a fifteen years old circle ‘KLoD.B: Knowing Loving Delhi Better’, made my walk in Jawahar Lal Nehru University a more insightful one. For me everything is rediscovery since I have been back to Delhi after a long-long period of time; and it’s now that I explore traces of left over Aravali Hills in Delhi. JNU is about a thousand acres campus known for its academia, food and politics. In fact; food and its natural landscape of unblemished Aravalis and greenery is one of the main reasons why it’s on the list of many young Delhites to hang-out. There is another reason as well; but well let’s not highlight that in my blog (Let’s say ‘Sandwich’).
One finds JNU within the cliffs that lie between IIT Delhi and Vasant Vihar. In fact it’s believed that IIT Delhi was established in the Valley of the Aravalies and JNU over the Aravalies. Here you find the highest natural point in Delhi; the Partha Sarthy Rocks and it’s a completely different world from the peak. Amidst the busy, urban and polluted South Delhi, you find yourself over a range surrounded by wilderness on all sides (Thanks to the current season, we often crept through the shrubs and thorns). I found the campus as a pretty good spot for weekend rock climbing and trekking. The Dhaabas; and their food are known to most Delhites for their delicacy and the economic price (I mean really economic). You find them everywhere, whether it be behind the central library on the rocks overlooking the green campus, or the famous Ganga Dhaaba in the valley right opposite to the Ganga hostel. And then, there is one which is operated by an ex-student of JNU because he just didn’t wish to leave the campus; known as ‘Mamu ka Dhaaba’. When one can’t find food anywhere in Delhi late in the night; 24/7 is perhaps the only Dhaaba which serves you delicious food no matter what time it is.
I personally didn’t interact with a student there; however the culture is quite apparent from the ambiance of the place and the magnificent and evocative posters that you find everywhere in the campus. Among common students; it’s here that I first witnessed art inspired by true reason and political and social views. Some of them, I found just loud enough judging by the use of colours and strokes. Other members of the group who had seen enough of JNU then enlightened me that one observes politics whether it be left, right wing, or capitalist in its full swing amongst the students in JNU and indeed some of them later do get a seat in the parliament. And yes; every now then you observe students distributing pamphlets for some seminar, or event.
I almost expected to find the twenty years old history of JNU, from a personal diary of 1993 which was pushed between couple of rocks; but unfortunately only the dirty hardbound cover was left behind with no pages in it. Apparently someone did want us to read; but the rains which might have dissolved the papers over years didn’t. There is yet more to explore, the caves and the haunted house that I was told of further south to the Partha Sarthy Rocks; but I have left them to another visit.