by Swathi Subramaniam, PRIA
It was my first visit to Jaipur. Jaipur is a planned city of Rajasthan and one of the most important tourist destinations of India.
Jaipur is one of the better developed cities of India. Here things definitely look organised. The city is very calm and composed,there a clear mix of rural and urban culture in the city. It is not as populated as other metros. It has good roads and easy accessibility within cities. I found many females driving two wheelers and cars. It is safe travelling on own for a woman butshe has to be alert all the time. There are plenty of autos and one does not face difficulty for travelling. However, the condition of buses is very pathetic. You can expect a superior public transport once Jaipur metro is operational from 2015 onwards. I found the food very delicious. There are many autos here,there was no difficulty faced during travel. Jaipur has always been a tourist destination so even if you are an Indian – shop keepers, auto-rickshaw, general public etc. identify just by looking at you whether you are a tourist or a local resident.
It is easy to travel in Jaipur. I had a small conversation with an autowala, he said, “my family used to live in Delhi for many years but it was a struggle based life. We struggled for everything but could not save anything. But after moving to Jaipur we have our own home, decent living, much better than Delhi. He had a Samsung smartphone. Another auto driver I had met had the latest Apple mobile. They have all the facilities and have comfort in Jaipur. He lived with his parents in his own house in Jaipur. They were all well-dressed and have income enough to satisfy their materialistic needs. According to Transport Department of Rajasthan, upto March 2013 – there are 22,248 autorickshaw registered in Jaipur, 8,105 in Kota, 8,222 in Bikaner and 4,758 in Ajmer.This shows high influx of migration to city and growth of informal sector.
The city of Jaipur is very much dominated by hand loom, handicrafts, traditional artisans and other traditional industry. They all can be categorised as medium and small scale industries which is completely labour dependent. These industries in Jaipur flourish only because Jaipur is a global tourist destination. These industries enhance the charm of the city. While the tourists enjoy visiting the monuments in Jaipur, they also enjoy shopping. A tourist is completely delighted looking at the ethnic things around. While shopping in Jaipur the temptation drives you to buy everything possible. The shopkeepers do not leave any chance to hold the interest of tourist. The shopkeepers are very much friendly. The prices appear relatively expensive and is understandable considering that it is a tourist destination.
I did not find slums adjacent to main city areas. Thus there is a big contrast between the JMC areas and walled city of Jaipur.
The Rajasthani context of Urbanization
Growth of urbanization in Rajasthan is very different when compared to urbanization in other states. Rajasthan since historical times is ruled by Rajas, Maharajas, Rajwadas etc. Kota is the most urbanized district of Rajasthan according to a study, followed by Jaipur, Ajmer, Bikaner. Due to high level of migration from rural to urban areas the decadal growth in population is highest in Jaipur. The cities in eastern and northern parts of the state have grown more rapidly than the western parts of the states. The connectivity to Delhi is visible through the National Highway 8 – Delhi- Jaipur – Ahmedabad/Mumbai which is a good example of the impact from neighbourhood state. Other major factors of growth in economy of Rajasthan are agriculture, industry, tourism and crude oil.
Different areas in Rajasthan hadbeen ruled by various kingdoms. During their ruling era they developed their provinces and their ruling cities. There were many small towns built during the era. For example – Ajmer, Mewar, Kota, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Bikaner, Jaisalmar etc. What makes me think is that Rajasthan does not have an industrial base of economic development, but a growth led by Tourism, Hospitality, Ancient culture, Handicrafts industry (traditional industry) when compared to other cities like Gurgaon, Delhi, Noida, Chandigarh etc. This traditional industry which was earlier in rural areas has come into mains cities of Rajasthan to benefit from tourism.
The walled city area is highly congested and chocked and is inflicted by poverty, unemployment, poor health etc. Walled city had streets, chowks, bazars, colonies, walls, temples etc. built in the 18th century itself. I could not visit the walled city areas this time but hope to see it next time.