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Mainstream, VOL 61 No 28, July 8, 2023

We are because of the Deer Park – The Deer Park is not because of us! | Jeevesh Gupta

Friday 7 July 2023


60 acres of green city forest oxygenating a major portion of South Delhi, called the Deer Park, is one of the few left over green belts in Delhi city. The park beholds archaeological monuments from yester era spanning 9-10 centuries along with innumerable variety of trees, birds, insects, deer, ducks, bats, snakes and a beautiful lake supporting 1000s of visitors including daily walkers, artists, sports enthusiasts along with toddlers and young children for whom forest is already a rarity in our concrete cities. As per Wikipedia, the existence of this park goes back to the year 1295 (13th Century) and we cannot afford to let it loose its status slowly towards commercialization. The first step has already been taken with the changing of its status from a mini zoo to green land by central government ministry of environment, forest and climate change.

This park holds lot of nostalgia for the residents of Safdarjung Enclave, Safdarjung Development Area, Green Park, Hauz Khas, RK Puram, IIT and many other colonies of South Delhi. For many a youngsters who have been born in this vicinity would recall their parents and grandparents going to this very park for their morning walks. I was born in Safdarjung Enclave and continue to live in this very colony till date. Me and my brother still recall those times when we would drive in on our scooter from the tennis stadium side into the colony and one of us would remark, “it is always colder here than rest of Delhi, we are blessed.” We have memories of our father along with other morning walkers creating a family and fighting for the survival of the lake and ensuring that the park does not lose any of its sheen.

The Deer Park forest is one of the green lungs of Delhi and moving of Deer looks like the first step towards slowly killing the park. Shifting of Deer to their so called “natural habitat”, who have adapted to this city environment for decades does not hold ground. They do not require to be moved from here to a new habitat in Rajasthan. Delhi desperately needs wildlife at least in some parts for maintaining a natural equilibrium. This habitat not just helps the city children interact with mother nature but also develops their sensitivity towards our flora and fauna. How will they learn about environment without practically experiencing the sounds of nature and its varied theatrics including the dancing peacocks, hanging bats, quacking and running ducks and the list goes on.

Sitting on a house boat in Srinagar as I write this piece staring at the Dal lake I witness a sparrow which already left Delhi seeing the natural habitat being destroyed at a fast pace. The reconstruction of 7 GPRA colonies saw us losing 50000+ trees, no wonder many a birds and many other forms of life dependent on those trees left Delhi forever. Imagine a city without birds, insects, animals, lakes and trees with the AQI going higher and higher.

We have already seen the Duck pond turning into a mosquito breeding ground and if no step is taken by the civil society, the area inhabited by Deer may have the same fate.

The title of my piece says it all. If we understand this, we will realise that our existence is dependent on the flora and fauna that surrounds us and not vice versa. The sooner we realise this, the earlier we will be able to stand up for the Deer in our “Dear” Park.

(Author: Jeevesh Gupta |

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