Blow to cultural heritage

Bangalore City

Gandhi Bazar, Bengaluru’s 130-year-old traditional market, has been facing a lot of opposition  to its commercialization plan.

Many sellers and locals are concerned that their years-old business and authenticity would be lost as a result of a plan designed by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) to transform the historical area of Gandhi Bazaar.

Radha, a resident of Basvanagudi, said that  BBMP and DULT should also consider the heritage factor when they are planning to build a new market or multi complexes. She said, “Bangalore is known for its heritage and culture. So definitely maintaining heritage is important. They should keep in mind the factor of maintaining the heritage. Makingbig complexe is okay but they should put a heritage touch to it.”

Uma Devi, a regular customer to Gandhi Bazar Market for the past 20 years, said that she would stop coming, if the market is modernized and the merchants are relocated.

Many vendors were deeply concerned on losing their business over the current situation of Gandhi Bazar Market. They also demand a legal notice from BBMP and DULT at the earliest as they fear loss of livelihood.  BBMP is saying that they will give us another place to do business till the renovation of Gandhi market but our business is here only. Then what is the guarantee they will give us place,  Nasir, a flower vendor.

Another seller, Malesh, who has had a shop at Gandhi market for 26 years, says there will be no space for them to continue business when it closes. Vendors that pay more money will be awarded stores in the complex’s front roadway. They want their stores to be on the main street.

Officials stated that Gandhi Bazar is not only for sellers, but also for customers. “There is no extra-ordinary historic importance to this road. We should also look at what is beneficial to the public. Customers did not  have parking all these years. Now there will be parking. Now that BBMP is  developing the area, you are voicing out your problems, where were you before?” said Spokesperson at Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Uday B Gatudacharya.

Markets, according to experts, are an important area to learn about a city’s culture. In the name of growth, removing marketplaces and adding parking lots is not profitable to anyone. “The markets there, goes back in time. Development just doesn’t mean wider roads and parking access for car owners.  I don’t think that development is about removing a market and building a parking lot there. Development should also be for the vendors and people who are dependent on it,” said Vinay Paranaswarappa from a heritage walk organization, Gully Tours.