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Ghee & Torni: A History Lesson on How a Quaint Delhi Metro Station Got Its Name

Like the name, the history of Ghitorni is fairly interesting too.

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Travelling in the Delhi metro is a journey of its own. Sometimes you meet the eye of a cute stranger, sometimes you gossip, sometimes you judge people, and sometimes you catch a quick nap.

But for anyone who has travelled on the yellow line of the Delhi metro, there's one question that must have crossed their mind at some or the other point...

Ghitorni naam ka matlab kya hai?

As we roamed around the quaint Delhi area, we decided to ask the locals about its interesting name.

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Where Ghitorni Gets Its Name From

One resident, Pehlwan Bir Singh, said, "Ghitorni is just a name, like your name."

Vishal, another resident, however, was rather confident that Ghitorni means a "village of ghee."

A friend of his joined in to laugh.

"Ghitorni means jars of ghee, the consumption of which will make the newborns strong."
A Ghitorni resident

While the youngsters weren't quite convinced by their explanation themselves, we decided to ask Prem Singh, the RWA President of Ghitorni and a former Subedar of the Indian Army.

"We used to collect all the milk and make ghee from it. We then had to stroll around the neighbourhood villages to sell the ghee. So, this roaming and strolling is also called ‘torni’. Because of this business of selling ghee, we came to call this place GHITORNI."
Prem Singh

That is honestly quite fascinating!

A History Lesson Through Ghitorni Ki Galiyan...

Like the name, the history of this place is fairly interesting too. The locals here have hundreds of anecdotes about how the Gujars “wrestled” this place from the Brahmin/Pandits who used to live here over a century ago.

Aapko thoda short mei batate hai...

Gujars are a nomadic tribe. Some 1300 years ago, a group of Gujars started from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, made their way through Rajasthan, and settled near Delhi near a place called Garhi.

This small village was populated by Brahmins and Pandits. In a battle with the original inhabitants, the Gujars won, took over the village, and renamed it Ghitorni.

Ghitorni locals today say that the battle wasn’t fought in the most honest manner. Tab Geneva convention toh nahi hota tha, par basic rules of battle weren’t followed too.

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A Culture Shift: From Akhadas To Gyms

Khair chaddo, mitti pao

Yahan bohot hai waise bhi, akhaado aur dangalo ka gaon hai na

Ghitorni has produced a lot of pehalwans or wrestlers. Every family had at least one wrestler till a decade ago.

Bir Singh told The Quint that wrestling has been a tradition and a passion in Ghitorni for long.

"We have a lot of Pehlwans in our family. My uncle, my father, and my elder brother are all Pehlwaans. My younger brother is still doing it."
Harvansh, Bodybuilder and Gym Owner, Ghitorni

Some 50 years ago, even if not everyone was a professional, every man in Ghitorni would do Pehlwaani.

But now, there's been a shift in the culture. Due to a lack of space, most of these akhadas have closed down, and given way to gyms.

Now, you'll find one bodybuilder in every family. With multiple of them preparing for competitions and titles...

Deepak says, "It got difficult for me to balance studies and Pehlwani. Then I switched to gymming. I started gymming because my body looks good, I look good. A lot  of boys started gymming because it became a trend and everyone was doing it. I am now preparing for Mr Delhi bodybuilding competition."

But with akhadas, gyms, hookahs, and a masculine, manspreading energy overall, the one thing that still stands out in Ghitorni is the absence of women in public spaces. Probably the one thing that pehalwani doesn’t teach you… dismantling patriarchy?

Video Creators: Garima Sadhwani & Zijah Sherwani Ghitorni Poem: Akhil Katyal

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Delhi   Delhi metro   Delhi History 

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