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Delhi’s Matiya Mahal: Food paradise thrives amidst election chaos!

Updated on: 18 April,2024 07:25 AM IST  |  New Delhi
Diwakar Sharma |

Amidst bustling LS poll campaigns, the century-old food street near Jama Masjid remains untouched by political fervour, drawing gastronomes from all walks of life to indulge in its diverse offerings

Delhi’s Matiya Mahal: Food paradise thrives amidst election chaos!

The vibrant food street near Delhi’s Jama Masjid. Pics/Diwakar Sharma

Amidst the fervent Lok Sabha election campaigns sweeping across India, the vibrant food street near Delhi’s Jama Masjid presents a stark contrast. Here, amidst the enticing aroma of spices and the bustling activity of street vendors, visitors seem unaffected by the political fervour. Instead of discussing potential election outcomes, they are wholly immersed in relishing the diverse street delicacies, each flavourful bite a source of delight.

Local shopkeepers confirm the enduring vibrancy of Matiya Mahal, a century-old, one-kilometre-long street, asserting its constant buzz. Residents note that Matiya Mahal typically mirrors the political climate of the country, yet this election cycle, there’s a notable absence of political campaigning. “Maybe it’s too early for political parties to campaign, as Delhi is scheduled to vote on May 25,” said Mohammed Asim, a local resident.

From food stalls offering non-vegetarian delights to dairy counters and refreshing drinks, the street remains bustling with customers round the clock. “This is Delhi 6 - a tourism point and Matiya Mahal lane is a century-old market where people never sleep. Not only Delhiites, but many NRIs as well as foreigners visit this market,” said Asim, who helps his grandfather to run an eatery.

Footfall peaks in the late evening, with gastronomes from various parts of the city flocking to indulge in the sumptuous offerings. “Let me enjoy the chicken…I have no time to discuss dirty politics,” quips a middle-aged customer. While some visitors express disinterest in political discussions, others prioritise enjoying the culinary offerings amidst the lively atmosphere.

Shopkeepers, like Mohammed Asim, emphasise their commitment to serving customers rather than getting embroiled in politics. “We are businessmen, and we have to live up to the expectations of our customers. My grandfather has devoted decades to establish this business, and we will strive to take this business to another level instead of indulging in any politically messy soup,” he said.

The arrest of Arvind Kejriwal and the charged political atmosphere have had minimal impact on the bustling food street, as footfalls continue unabated. Haji Mohammed Hussain, an octogenarian running a restaurant for five decades, recalls visits from political parties seeking votes but emphasises the market’s focus on business. “The lane is very narrow but the political parties did visit this market to seek votes. Like politicians, the visitors from across India have eaten chicken and fish fry from my restaurant,” he said.

When asked if the arrest of Kejriwal is going to affect the result in national politics in this election, Hussain’s neighbour Ayub Khan said, “People in this market will not be affected by anything… we are least bothered about what is happening in politics… everybody in this market is busy running their business, as it is not an easy task to run a shop 24/7.”

Nawab Qureshi of Lajawab Sharbat praised Kejriwal’s efforts, stating, “Kejriwal has given us free electricity and water. Which politician has the guts to appease his/her voters in India? I will say that Kejriwal is the No. 1 politician in the country.”

However, Shizauddin had a different perspective, questioning Kejriwal’s significance. “Who is Kejriwal? I have no issue if he has been arrested or not… his arrest has not affected the business of this market. The market will not be affected if the Delhi CM is jailed, but it will be affected if there is inflation in the market,” he remarked.

Mohammad Rizwan expressed uncertainty regarding Kejriwal’s innocence. “The common man of this country does not know if he is innocent or pretends to be innocent. But, if he has been falsely implicated, he will be acquitted by the court…and he is yet to get a clean chit, as the matter is still under investigation,” Rizwan concluded. Local perspectives vary on the significance of Kejriwal’s arrest, with some emphasising its negligible impact on business and others praising Kejriwal’s governance.

May 25
Day Delhi is scheduled to vote

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