Shri Sardar Ghee
What defines a city? Is it the art and architecture, the cultural capital, the physical geography, local politics or something else? A city is like an unending tapestry of dreams wherein each citizen weaves his/her pattern, rather painstakingly. Moving north from India’s capital city of New Delhi, lies the old yet shiny, dusty yet pure, populous yet serene city of Shahjahanabad, the last of Delhi’s historical cities.
Amid the beautiful monuments and glittering bazaars, if there’s something truly inspirational and memorable about the city – it is the enduring love of its citizens. In a bid to explore this magical spirit, we share the story of a small-time ghee shop owner. His stories illuminate the undying resilience and everlasting pride for their culture, profession and above all, their city.
A second-generation migrant from undivided Punjab, the owner of Shri Sardar Ghee has been a long-time resident of Old Delhi. Today, the shop sells packaged ghee.
Talking about his business, he says, “It started with old and simple Ghee from Punjab, we manufacture it there and sell in Old Delhi”.
In his time in Old Delhi, he has seen it all—from the gradual resettling of the area post-Partition to the rapid commercialisation and shift of residents to colonies outside the old town. As he narrates the expansion of his business to other dairy products, one can see the pride he takes in his own culture, community and trade. More than anything else, one can notice his undying spirit for renewal when he recounts the 1984 riots.
He says, “Our shops and establishments were destroyed by mobs. [We found safety homes but [we never shifted permanently. We always knew we had to come back to Old Delhi.” These aren’t the words of a man resigned to fate but those of someone who cherishes his association with his city, warts and all.
Not very far from it, in Chandni Chowk, is the famous Daulat ki Chaat, a speciality one can relist only in winters. Daulat ki Chaat is known for its ‘dessert chaat’ that takes about three to four hours of strong beating and churning to convert the milk into a buttery mix, solid enough to hold, and yet smooth with bits of malai (cream). A perfect for a one with a sweet tooth.
Global Shapers – New Delhi Hub has contributed to this page.