Ambedkar University Delhi


Shadipur Shani Bazaar

​Shadipur Shani Bazaar is a large weekly (Saturday) informal market in XYZ colony of Shadi-Khampur, well known in the neighbourhood as a ‘cloth’ market with export surplus clothing sold at low prices. Spread entirely by word of mouth, the low prices at the market has reached customers from other parts of West Delhi. Re-sellers come here too, like the boutique owners from Karol Bagh buying fabric and bling to accessorise their products.

Till the seventies, Shadipur had a small street market, which was shut in the Emergency years (1975-77). Residents had to travel many kilometres to Patel Nagar to buy domestic supplies. The Shadipur Shani Bazaar started in 1990-91 with a few vendors in the Z-40 park, but disagreements with residents led to its closing down. A few months later, it was re-started by the current Pradhan and a few other aides  in the shed-wala Park in Z block, and has grown to its present form.

Besides clothing, Shadipur Shani Bazaar now has vendors of food, spices and condiments, plastic products, toys, and domestic appliances. The number of vendors has increased from the first five vendors to over four hundred currently. The Shani-Bazaar is also supplemented by a Monday weekly market (Som Bazaar), primarily a vegetable and fruits market, with cycles, stoves, and food stalls.

Exhibits from the Shadi-Khampur Neighbourhood Museum 2013

Residents interact at the Shadipur Shani Bazaar Neighbourhood Museum 2015

Event Poster of Nizamuddin Neighbourhood Museum 2015

Shadi Khampur 
Sangrahlay Ados- Pados

Shadi Khampur was one of the first neighbourhoods in which a neighbourhood museum project was initiated. It was opened to public from 26 December 2012 to 28 February 2013.

The Neighbourhood Museum research project sought to document urban history and stories of origin of the city by focussing on untapped sources of urban narratives. A local cultural institution, Jan Natya Manch, based in the neighbourhood was engaged to partner local initiatives, and support related activities – like research, collection and documentation of local residents and their stories, memories, photographs and artefacts

At the exhibition, photographs and text panels were exhibited to explain events of impor­tance for the neighbourhood, besides telling life stories of individuals. A collection of artefacts from local homes gave a picture of daily life in the area and dates back almost eight de­cades. Members of Itihaas, a heritage awareness group, con­ducted a workshop on local history for children from neighbouring schools. Vis­iting residents were encouraged to help build a timeline of the neigh­bourhood, and pen down significant memories.

The response to the Museum exceeded expectations. The duration of the exhibition was extended from thirty to sixty days, on popular demand! Close to three thousand visi­tors, including chil­dren from neigh­bouring schools, students and teach­ers from
city uni­versities, and visi­tors from around the City, were drawn to the exhibition.

Using documentation as an act of intervention, many other neighbourhood museums within Delhi are planned. Work around neighbourhood museums will be with neighbourhood groups and supports citizens to create ethnographies and histories of their own localities and neighbourhoods. 

Exhibits from the Shadi-Khampur Neighbourhood Museum 2013

Audience at the Shadipur Shani Bazaar Neighbourhood Museum 2015

The audio visual installations at the Nizamuddin Neighbourhood Museum 2015

Exhibits from the Shadi-Khampur Neighbourhood Museum 2013

The exhibition 'Hum Sab Nizamuddin' at Nizamuddin East Community Centre.

Nizamuddin (East and West)​
Hum Sab Nizamuddin

The Neighbourhood Museum programme of Nizamuddin, titled 'Hum Sab Nizamuddin', is an oral history project of the neighbourhoods of Nizamuddin in New Delhi. ​The neighbourhood museum was set up from 18th April 2015 to 4th May 2015. It was first displayed at Nizamuddin East till 28th April, and subsequently shifted to Nizamuddin West basti area. 

From an 800 year old settlement to colonies born with an independent new nation, from public areas to private homes and spiritual sanctuaries, its lanes and bylanes are rich with stories of its landmarks and people, their cultures, their customs, hopes, troubles, fun and change.

The exhibitions/neighbourhood museums held at the Nizamuddin Basti and at the Community Centre in Nizamuddin East catered to a very different audience and therefore organised very different events on the days of the museum. The exhibits documented and curated various personal stories in recurring themes; and displayed special objects that revealed fading local cultures and practices, how the residents lived and made a living while they made the city their home.

The exhibition 'Hum Sab Nizamuddin' at Nizamuddin Basti.

Exhibits from the Shadipur Shani Bazaar 2015

Neighbourhood Museum Programme

A growing interest in urban history, of how cities come into being and grow, is moving attention away from documents, books and official files to untapped sources of urban narra­tives. The Neighbourhood Museum attempts to question ascribed identities in the city by researching local histories, stories and places relevant to life within a community. The intention was to make the ‘margins’ visible by recording the unrecorded histories of everyday life. The Museum was designed to exhibit collected narratives from bottom-up to create a people-centred view of Delhi.

The Neighbourhood Museum Series was taken up as an initiative for creating a Delhi Citizen’s Memory Archive. Representing the diversity of the metropolis in a smaller scale, a neighbourhood museum locates itself at a colony or neighbourhood to represent the diversity of lives and livelihoods in the city, through oral narratives, recordings, photographs and artefacts. The museum builds a fascinating picture of the growth of the city as seen by its resident communities. Using documentation as an act of intervention, this process has been working with neighbourhood groups and citizens to create ethnographies and histories of their own localities and neighbourhoods.  As a framework, this is uniquely well placed to bring various disciplinary knowledge in productive conversation with each other .

The neighbourhood museum, in its material form is a culmination of three to six months of research in a neighbourhood, through oral narratives, conversations with residents in public spaces, survey of available photographic and material sources in the neighbourhood that can eventually be exhibited, and a throrough study of a locality's history, geography, demography, political and cultural landscape - as remembered by its people. These stories are then thematically curated and put together along with artefacts from people's houses. The coming together of a neighbourhood museum is a few months of research, but more often than not, it is a starting point or a conversation trigger for looking at the mohalla or neighbourhood with a people-centric view of the past. Using the lens of biography and family history, the project documents visual (using photographs and videos) as well textual data (in the form of essays and stories) to provide an unusual, interior perspective on the sociology and history of the city.


Centre for Community Knowledge