Page 8 - Gujar Mal Modi
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              INTRODUCTION                                 BEHIND MODINAGAR AND


              On the main State Highway No. 45 as you pass by the sprawling yard of the Gov-
              ernment Ordnance factory at Muradnagar, you will see on your right an old and

              friendly signboard ex  tending a warm welcome to Modinagar. This is the en-
              trance to the industrial town of Modinagar, a centre of intense industrial activity.

              Modinagar, the source of employment to several thousand families, lies about 50
              kilometres north of Delhi. In every respect, it is a model town situated in an agri-

              culturally fertile and climatically salubrious temperate zone. It is a self contained
              city with a variety of educational institutions for boys and girls, workers, clubs,

              subsidised canteens, dharamshalas (public inns), guest houses, hospitals, librar-
              ies, hostels and spacious parks and play grounds.

              Until the year I 932, this was a sleepy village known by the name of Begumabad
              comprising a few huts, a small post office and a police post. Nearby there was

              the small railway station of Begumabad. The arterial road and the railway station
              were the only signs of industrialisation in this part of the country where life oth-

              erwise was leisurely and undisturbed. Few tra  vellers along the state highway
              took to the winding path leading to the village and only an occasional hey-ho of

              the cart drivers disturbed the sylvan calm of the area. During the day, peasants
              tended their growing crops in the fields, but in the evening as night descended,

              the quiet village was transformed into a place infested with antisocial elements,
              dacoits, sansis and marias. The last were members of criminal tribes often round-

              ed up by the hand of law and put behind bars. Only those prepared to risk their
              lives would dare pass through this area after dusk.

              The area, which grew sugarcane and green vegetables then, is now a bustling

              industrial town boasting of more than twenty medium and large-scale indus-
              tries and employing more than 18,000 workers. The people living in this area are

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