How Varanasi Changed Under Modi


VARANASI: When Narendra Modi decided to contest from Varanasi in Lok Sabha 2014 polls, the east Uttar Pradesh city always politically alive but often indifferent to change – was taken by surprise. It was uneasy too. Varanasi is a holy city for the Hindus. But it has also been a place where Hindus and Muslims have lived side by side for centuries, their lives intertwined like zari with cotton in the eloquent saris that are livelihood to lakhs and part of the city’s identity. Some were anxous that Modi’s brand of Hindutva politics could unsettle the city’s fragile fabric. Electorally, it turned out to be a minority view. Modi triumphed by over 3.71 lakh votes, getting more than 56% of the ballot cast.


Now five years later, while the rest of India gets ready to judge the PM, Varanasi’s appraisal also includes his report card as an MP. Travelling across Varanasi, what’s clear is that major infrastructural changes have taken place in and around the city in the past five years. Official statistics show an estimated Rs 21,862 crore has been spent since 2014-15 on development and construction works in the city.



The first major change is visible just as one steps out of the airport: a freshly-constructed four-lane highway. Entering Varanasi is now a breeze. Tax driver Dilip Shukla tells you that the first phase (17km) of an ambitious Ring Road project is also ready. Work continues in the remaining 26km. The Ring Road will ease traffic congestion in the city and facilitate travel from nearby towns. “With better road connectivity, Varanasi is develo as a commercial hub,” says a senior district official.

第一个重大变化是显而易见的。走出机场是一条新建的四车道公路。进入瓦拉纳西现在是轻而易举的事。出租车司机Dilip Shukla称,一个雄心勃勃的环城公路项目的第一阶段(17公里)已完工,余下的26公里仍在继续施工。这条环路将缓解城市的交通拥堵,方便附近城镇居民的出行。一名地区高级官员表示“随着公路的改善,瓦拉纳西正在发展成为一个商业中心。”

There’s a lot more. The cutting-edge Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya Cancer Centre, jointly set up by Tatas and BHU, was readied in 10 months and should be a boon to the region. An old railways cancer hospital has now morphed into the modern Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital. Deendayal Hastkala Sankul, a swank and capacious trade facility-cum-museum of handicrafts, offers space to award-wng weavers and craftsmen to sell their product. Shopkeepers say, customers are few and sales low. But the adjoining three-floor museum of textiles, handicrafts and memories–Bismillah Khan’s shehnai being one–is state-of-the-art. Built at a cost of Rs 238 crore, the facilities are meant to attract both domestic and foreign tourists in droves.

这样的例子还有很多。由塔塔和BHU联合建立的前沿Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya癌症中心,在10个月内完工,对该地区来说应该是一个福音。一家老铁路癌症医院现在已经演变成现代 Homi Bhabha癌症医院。Deendhastkala Sankul是一家华丽宽敞的贸易设施兼手工艺品博物馆。


At the moment, though, there aren’t any. Many visitors are young local couples. “The museum has received an average footfall of 300 visitors every day this year,” says director Ajay Srivastava. Shop owner Gulzar Ansari, son of award-wng weaver Kamaluddin Ansari says, he barely sells 3-4 renowned kadwa saris a month. “We are patient for but how long? This place should be promoted better,” he says.


Manduadih, one of the four railway stations of Varanasi, has received a makeover. With marbled floors and stainless steel seats, the upgraded station looks more like an airport now. The colorful façade lighting and the vintage engine has turned it into a selfie point. There are glitches though. The canteen was dark when TOI visited the station. Canteen manager Lokesh Verma says, “There is no electricity in the canteen for the past three days.”

Manduadih是瓦拉纳西的四个火车站之一,已经进行了改造。升级后的车站铺着大理石地板,座位是不锈钢的,现在看起来更像是一个机场。不过也有一些小故障,当我们去车站时,食堂里一片漆黑。食堂经理Lokesh Verma说:“过去三天,食堂都没电。”

The superfast Vande Bharat, which covers 775km distance of Varanasi to Delhi in eight hours and has been the target of stone-pelters, was launched in Feb 2019. And an inland water port been built. “A freight village is under construction,” official sources said.


The Benaras airport has never been busier. Number of flights have shot up four-five times in the past years. A senior airport official in Varanasi says, “New flight destinations include Chennai, Bhubaneshwar, Jaipur, Guwahati, Surat and more. The number of annual passengers has leapfrogged to 7.6 lakh in 2013-14 to 25 lakh in 2018- to Feb 2019.”


This is being reflected in the hospitality business. Gokul Sharma, general secretary, Benaras Hotel Association says, “Overall, room occupancy has doubled. That apart about 150 new hotels have come up in Varanasi and around.”

这也反映在酒店业上。宾那拉西酒店协会秘书长Gokul Sharma称:“总的来说,客房入住率翻了一番。除此之外,瓦拉纳西及周边地区新开了大约150家酒店。”

To most, Varanasi is the city of bylanes and ghats



He, however, also pointed out that the river hasn’t been cleaned up as was expected. Adds Ajit Sahni, who owns 12 boats, “There is no visible improvement in the quality of the water.” There was a Rs 20,000-crore “Namami Gange” project to “conserve, clean and rejuvenate” the Ganga river. But the results, field reports suggest, are not yet encouraging.

然而,他也指出,这条河并没有像预期的那样被清理干净。拥有12艘船的Ajit Sahni补充道:“水质没有明显改善。当时有一个耗资2000亿卢比的项目,旨在“保护、清洁和复原”恒河。但实地报告显示,结果并不令人鼓舞。

Domestic tourists have grown. Abdul Jalil of Abu Hanifa Travels, who receives tourists from Delhi, Bombay and Madras says, “Business has gone up by 30%-40% in the past couple of years.” Sahni says, “The number of people at the ghat are increasing by the day. Income has doubled. Modi brought Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe and French President Emmanuel Macron to the ghats. This increased curiosity among many Indians.” Boatman Rama (no surname) says there’s a 30% surge in his income. “Earlier the tourist season lasted from August to March. Now people are visiting the ghats throughout the year,” he says.

国内游客增加了。Abu Hanifa旅行社的Abdul Jalil接待来自德里、孟买和马德拉斯的游客。 Sahni称:“在过去的几年里,业务增长了30%-40%。游客人数每天都在增加,收入也增加了一倍。”莫迪将日本首相安倍晋三和法国总统埃马纽埃尔·马克龙带到高止区。这增加了许多印度人的好奇心。船夫Rama说,他的收入增加了30%。早些时候,旅游旺季从8月持续到3月。现在一年到头都有游客来访。


In 2014, when this reporter had spoken to power loom owners in Varanasi, absence of electricity was the main problem. Most said that the city received 10-12 hours of electricity. "Now supply has improved to 22-23 hours per day," says Naushad Khan, who's in the hotel business.

2014年,当本报记者采访瓦拉纳西的力织机所有者时,缺电是主要问题。大多数人表示,该市有10至12小时的电力供应。“现在供应已经提升到每天22-23小时,”从事酒店业务的Naushad Khan说到。

The change is visible in several other areas too. Godowliya chowk, where electricity wires once dangled precariously much like Delhi’s Chandni Chowk, looks neat. The wires have been shifted underground. An integrated command and control centre worth Rs 173.53 crore has been set up to manage traffic. However, the traffic remains unruly. The city is still dug up in many parts. The construction of a flyover was delayed due to a major accident that claimed 19 lives when two beams collapsed near Varanasi railway station last May. The 2,261-metre flyover is being built at a cost of Rs 129 crore by UP State Bridge Corporation.

这种变化在其他几个领域也很明显。Godowliya chowk,这里的电线曾经像德里的Chandni chowk一样摇摇欲坠,现在看起来很整齐。电线已被埋到地下。已建立了一个价值17.353亿卢比的综合指挥控制中心来管理交通。然而,交通仍然混乱。这座城市的许多地方仍在修路。去年5月,瓦拉纳西火车站附近的两根横梁倒塌,造成19人死亡,导致天桥施工被推迟。这座高2261米的天桥由印度北方邦桥梁公司建造,造价12.9亿卢比。

Sewage disposal problems remain, though a treatment plant has been readied at Goithaha at the cost of Rs 218 crore.


But only half of the households have been connected to the sewer line, in Trans-Varuna area so far,” says SK Rai, general manager, Ganga Pollution Control Unit, UP Jal Nigam.

恒河污染控制部门总经理SK Rai称,到目前为止,只有一半的家庭的生活用水排到了瓦卢纳地区的污水管道。


Like Prayagraj, the murals and wall paintings have created a new -look Varanasi. The Allahabad artwork looks brighter though. But the Varanasi paintings and murals are more diverse. Bhagat Singh, APJ Abdul Kalam, Jawaharlal Nehru, scenes from Premchand’s Eidgah and Jaishankar Prasad’s famous poem, Kamayani are included in the murals made on Lahura Bir chowk. But painter Manjula Chaturvedi points out, “A lot of money has been spent. But the wall paintings are not upto the mark. They have not been put in a planned, aesthetic manner.”

和Prayagraj一样,壁画造就了一个新的瓦拉纳西。阿拉哈巴德的作品看起来更鲜明,但是瓦拉纳西的绘画和壁画更加多样化。画家Manjula Chaturvedi指出,“已经花了很多钱。但是这些壁画没有达到标准,并没有以一种有规划的、审美的方式摆放。”

Setting up industries hasn’t been a’s priority area. R K Chaudhary, chairman Varanasi chapter of Indian Industries Association, lauds the PM for building the city’s infrastructure. But adds, “Modi ji came here so many times but he did not host a single meeting with industrialists and traders. There’s zero investment. And so much unemployment,” he says. Congressman Gaurav Kapoor, secretary (research), UP in-charge has the same view. “Not a single stone laying ceremony for a factory has been laid. There’s no new business coming to town. There is no employment generation,” he says.

建立产业并不是一个优先领域。印度工业协会瓦拉纳西分会主席R K Chaudhary称赞莫迪总理建设了这座城市的基础设施。他补充说:“莫迪多次来这里,但他没有主持一次与实业家和贸易商的会议。投资为零,还有这么多人失业。”国大党议员Gaurav Kapoor也有同样的看法,他表示“没有一个工厂的奠基仪式。城里没有新公司,也就没有创造就业岗位。”

However, Subina Chopra, director, Aryan International School feels that one must evaluate Modi’s work in the context of what Varanasi was and what it has become in the past five years. “Varanasi is a more liveable city today,” she says.

Overall, Varanasi remains a work in progress. But it has also made a lot of progress.

然而,雅利安国际学校院长Subina Chopra认为,人们必须结合瓦拉纳西的过去和过去5年的发展来评价莫迪的工作。“瓦拉纳西现在是一个更适合居住的城市。”她说。




Temples, some over 200 years old, jut out of the rubble, like a surrealistic Dali painting. Boys play tennis ball cricket on a flattened piece of land oblivious to the earth movers working furiously nearby. Armed sentries repose under the summer sun. Not long ago this area, near Kashi Vishwanath temple, was a cluster of homes and lanes leading to the Jalasen ghat. Now it has been turned inside out for a proposed pedestrian corridor -- 50-70m wide and 330m long -- leading directly to three ghats on the Ganga (Manikarnika, Jalasen and Lalita) from Kashi Vishwanath temple.



A few hundred yards away, a Dalit family sits quietly near a cement platform close to a wall painting of Babasaheb Ambedkar. They are restless having sold off their modest two-storey home for Rs 24 lakh. They have come to visit the pace, like birds flocking back to home out of habit and ache. “We sold the house voluntarily. But actually we had to. Other homes were being demolished nearby. Our structure was weak and we feared that it might come down,” says Shyamu, who works as daily labour.

几百码外,一个达利特家庭安静地坐在一个水泥平台旁,旁边是一幅Babasaheb Ambedkar的壁画。他们以240万卢比的价格卖掉了自己的两层平房,心里很不安。他们来到这个地方,就像鸟儿蜂拥回家一样。从事劳动的Shyamu说:“我们说是自愿把房子卖了。实际上我们不得不这么做。附近的其他房屋正在被拆除。我们的建筑很脆弱,我们担心它会倒塌。”

Vishwanath Dham, as the ambitious project has been named, will offer “world-class” amenities such as hospital, auditorium, shops, lodging, etc., that will be constructed specially for the corridor. The project requires about 39,000 square metres of land and by the end of last month, 88% had already been purchased and acquired, top officials associated with the project said. To that end, 240 properties have been purchased so far, 212 homes demolished. In the process about 42 temples, largely hidden from the public eye, have been discovered.

这个雄心勃勃的项目名为Vishwanath Dham,将建成“世界级”的设施,如医院、礼堂、商店、住宿等。与该项目有关的高层官员表示,该项目需要约3.9万平方米的土地,截至上月底,已购买了88%的土地。到目前为止,212套房屋被拆除。在这一过程中,大约发现有42座寺庙,大部分都是隐藏在公众视线之外的。

“Everything has been done as per the recent Land Acquisition Act. We have paid the owners two times the value of their homes. Even rentiers have received up to Rs 10 lakh,” says , secretary, Varanasi Development Authority. About Rs 290 crore has been spent for this purpose. Last March, PM Modi told a gathering at the temple that “this project will become a model for similar projects elsewhere, and would give a new global identity to Kashi.”

瓦拉纳西发展署秘书Vishal Singh说:“一切都是按照最近的《土地征用法》进行的。我们付给业主的钱是其房屋价值的两倍。甚至连食利者也收到了高达100万卢比的补贴。”为该项目已经花费了大约29亿卢比。去年3月,莫迪总理在寺庙的一次集会上表示,“这个项目将成为其他地方的一个典范,并将赋予Kashi新的全球身份。”

Prof Vishwamber Nath Mishra, who teaches electronics in IIT (BHU) and is also the mahant of Sankatmochan Temple feels that the step is ill-thought and out of sync with the ethos and character of the city. “Benaras is a place to feel, sense it vibrations. The demolishing of bylanes (galis) near Kashi Vishwanath goes against the very essence of Benaras. Those who have been made to leave are the true inhabitants of the city,” he says. Then he adds, “Benaras is known as Shiv’s City; this is an attempt to leave a personal stamp on the city.”

Vishwamber Nath Mishra教授在印度理工学院(BHU)教授电子学,同时也是Sankatmochan Temple的负责人,他说:“宾那拉西是让人有心灵感应的地方。拆除湿婆神庙附近的小巷违背了宾那拉西的本质。那些被迫离开的人才是这座城市的真正居民。”然后他补充道,“宾那拉西被称为湿婆之城。”

Singh counters the view. He maintains there is “no credible opposition” to the project. “I fail to any see the argument against it,” he says.


The overall amount, Rs 24 lakh, that the extended Dalit family of 32 had received has been distributed among six co-owners. Each received Rs 4 lakh. They now live in rented homes at Piplani Katra and Gowdowlia. “We have been distanced from our work place. We wonder what will happen when the money gets over,” says Sanjay Bharti, an occasional boatman. Sheela Devi worked as a maidservant in nearby homes. Now she is searching for new workplaces.

这个拥有32个家庭成员的达利特大家庭收到的拆迁款为240万卢比,已分配给6个人。每人收到40万卢比。他们现在住在租来的房子里。“我们已经远离了工作场所。我们想知道,当资金到位时,会发生什么。Sheela Devi在附近的家里做女佣,现在她正在找新工作。


It is an early summer afternoon. The city temperature has shot up in the past few days. And it’s no different at the Bunkar (weaver’s) Colony in Varanasi’s Nati Imli area where even a conversation on economy gets heated. “The co-operatives benefit from the assistance that a government provides. They have grown rich over the years. We still lead lives of uncertainty,” says Saud Ahmed.

这是一个初夏的下午。在过去几天里,这个城市的气温急剧上升。在瓦拉纳西纳提伊姆利地区的班卡(织布工)聚居地也不例外,在那里,甚至关于经济的讨论都很激烈。“合作社从政府提供的援助中受益。这些年来他们变得富有了。我们仍然过着不确定的生活。”Saud Ahmed说到。

It’s a group of 10 odd weavers but Ahmed is the most vociferous. “We want a Bunkar (weaver’s) card. All assistance should be transferred directly into our accounts,” he demands. Others nod in affirmation.



He has other worries too. The day after Pulwama, he was roughed up by Hindutva goons in a chauraha nearby. “ Pakistan kab jaibe (When will you go to Pakistan)?,” they asked me,” says Asif.

他还有其他担忧。在普尔瓦玛事件后的第二天,他在附近的 chauraha 被印度教暴徒殴打。他们问我“你什么时候滚回巴基斯坦?”

Trader Pervez Akhtar said he has started getting more business in the past few months. But he too is worried about the communal temperature. “Since Modi came to power, one can see a wedge between Hindus and Muslims,” he says. He was, however, optimistic that Varanasi will not change. “The local administration is working hard to maintain peace. After all, the lives and work of both communities are intertwined,” he says.

交易员Pervez Akhtar表示,过去几个月他已开始获得更多业务。但他也担心民众的紧张关系。“自从莫迪上台以来,人们看到印度教徒和msl之间的裂痕,” 然而,他乐观地认为瓦拉纳西不会改变。“当地政府正在努力维持和平。毕竟,这里的生活和工作是相互交织的。


译文来源:三泰虎  http://www.santaihu.com/47483.html  译者:Jessica.Wu


Rakesh Patel • 5 hours ago

Great PM ever in Indian History, Proud to Be Indian



Rakesh Patel • Dekhu • 4 hours ago

The tallest leader of the country today who has brought India to the centre stage of the world.



Indian • 5 hours ago

Amethi and rae bareily remain underdeveloped places even after 60 years of congress rule.

But the indians want freebies and reservation and continue voting for Congress and remain poor.




Indian • Lucknow • 2 hours ago

During last 5 years huge amount of money was spent on development of Varansi what prompted Modi ji to ignore development of other city like Kanpur , Meerut , Jhansi, Lucknow , Bareilly, Rae Bareli . Amethi. Is Modi prime minister of Varansi and Ahamadabad city ? Can Such favouritism be expected for other nationalist leader? No NOt at all.



Indian • Dekhu • 4 hours ago

Congress stalwarts including party president are making a fool of the people. But they now know people are solidly behind Modi. Congress President did not have the courage to field Priyanka Gandhi from Varanasi as it would have meant sure defeat.



Devanshu Shakya • 5 hours ago

If modi could do so much for Varanasi in 5 years. Why Gandhis failed to transform Amethi and Raibareli in 70 years? It''s all about attitude, while modi spent his time glorifying his constituency, the Gandhis spent their time glorifying their Swiss accounts. NAMO again for 2019.

如果莫迪能在5年内为瓦拉纳西做这么多。为什么甘地在70年里没能改变阿米提和雷巴雷里? 这完全是态度的问题,当莫迪在建设他的选区时,甘地在增加瑞士账户的存款。2019年再次选择莫迪。。


Nimesh t • Location • 5 hours ago

Effort of visionary prime Minister. Would like to see entire India transformed



Nimesh t • 4 hours ago

Visionary?? my foot.. he does not even know teh spelling or meaning of vision.

有远见? ?我的天啊. .他甚至不知道vision怎么拼写,也不知道是什么意思。


Jagdish Madan • Vancouver BC • 4 hours ago

Modi has transformed Varanasi into a livable city.



Chowkidar Sunil Kokrady • India • 4 hours ago

There is no doubt that Varanasi has Changed. The speed of change is so much that it is invisible to secular eyes. You need faith to see it. Without faith you will never be able to see it.



Pratik Powar • 4 hours ago

Best pm any country can get



John Tulip • Pune • 5 hours ago

Modi is the only Pm who transformed his constituency like this ... Modi for 2019 and 2024



Gopal Pokhariya • 4 hours ago

Need to give him at least 10 more years to witness a Developed India.... India has started its make-over journey under this Government



R • 5 hours ago

In 5 years so much development for Varnasi. Amazing.



SINGH TECH • 5 hours ago

Great PM of India



Ramesh K • Pune • 5 hours ago

21K crore for one city what about the rest of India cites??


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