After holding meetings of Chhath Puja Samitis at his residence on Saturday, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Northeast Delhi Manoj Tiwari sought that the “festival be allowed on the river banks”. Tiwari said the festival is about river bank cleaning and nothing harmful is immersed in the water.
“What we pour in the river is milk, cow milk or Gangajal. If cow milk is put in water, it decreases the percentage of impurities in it,” said Tiwari. He said that the reason the Chhath festival is not allowed on the river bank is to hide the condition of the river from the people. The Chhath festival, which is popular in Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh, and Jharkhand, will be celebrated on October 30 and 31 this year.
The meeting of samiti by the MP was held a day after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced that the AAP-led Delhi government has allocated Rs 25 crore for the Chhath Puja celebrations and made arrangements at 1,100 sites across the national capital.
Before All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), it was Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital that would cater to VIPs – from Harivansh Rai Bachhan to Lala Amarnath – seeking treatment. Established as a 54-bedded hospital in 1932, RML was developed by the British Government and was formerly known as Willingdon Hospital, named after Lord Willingdon, who served as the 22nd Viceroy and Governor General of India from April 18, 1931 to April 18, 1936.
According to Madan Thapliyal, writer and former director of public relations at New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), the hospital was a small clinic before it was rechristened Willingdon Hospital in 1932. “In 1932, Lord Willingdon launched the NDMC townhall and approved the name change and further development of the clinic. Until 1938, it was under the NDMC,” said Thapliyal.
While Hindu Rao and Safdarjung Hospital catered to the masses, the then government needed a hospital and a nursing home where VIPs, bureaucrats, politicians and people in important positions living in Central Delhi could go for treatment.