Posted: Sat Jan 28, 2006 10:36 am Post subject: Nizamuddin heritage in for big revival - Times of India (Ind
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Nizamuddin heritage in for big revival
Friday, January 13, 2006 01:36:30 am
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
NEW DELHI: There's good news for heritage lovers.
Three years after restoring the gardens of Humayun's Tomb and its water channels to their pristine glory, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) has proposed to rejuvenate the historic area of Nizamuddin.
What's more, the trust not only wants to > restore
several monuments here but also to bring about an improvement in the
quality of life of local residents.
Disclosing this, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)
director-general C Babu Rajeev told Times City that the Aga Khan had
expressed a desire to take up some other monuments for a socio-cultural (total) restoration when he was in Delhi last year for the architecture award ceremony at
"Some monuments like the Charminar, > Golconda Fort and
structures in Agra were suggested. Now the AKTC has got back saying it would want to take up a project in Nizamuddin.
Apart from restoration work, they want to do something that touches the lives of locals and makes them take pride in
their heritage," Rajeev said.
A meeting between Rajeev and AKTC > representatives
will take place on Friday, where the details of this proposal would be >
discussed to give it a final shape.
This project would be taken up as a joint project of
the AKTC and the National Culture Fund. The selected area has a large
number of impressive monuments that require immediate attention.
These include the dargah, barakhamba,
cahusanthkhamba, Urs Mahal and tombs of Amir Khusro and Mirza Jahangir and the Saint.
Some years ago, the ASI had removed > encroachers from
barakhamba, who had been living there for several decades. But given the overall poor condition of the area, the monument still did not get the backdrop it deserved.
This part of Nizamuddin is very crowded > and a large
number of urchins have virtually taken over the place. Now with the AKTC proposing to improve both the monuments and the general quality of life, this place may get the environs it deserves.
Even the Unesco had suggested that > instead of
increasing the number of World Heritage monuments, the 'umbrella' of existing sites be increased by bringing nearby places of importance under the ambit of existing sites.
For the Humayun's Tomb (a World Heritage > site),
Unesco had proposed bringing all monuments in Nizamuddin area under its ambit.
A new deal for Nizamuddin area
MCD to sign pact to clean and beautify the polluted Bara Pullah Nallah
NEW DELHI: In a step that could help bring down the pollution levels in the Yamuna considerably, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi is all set to sign a pact with the famous Aga Khan Foundation to clean and beautify the Bara Pullah Nallah -- one of the most polluted drains in the Capital.
The Foundation has shown keen interest in cleaning up the 23-km drain, which will be a part of the rehabilitation of Nizamuddin Basti in South Delhi and restoration of some ancient monuments in the area through its sister organisation, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, said Delhi Mayor Farhad Suri.
Stating that they have already held negotiations with the Foundation that has asked for some documents before finalising a draft plan, Mr. Suri said the project includes setting up of three to four sewage treatment plants (STPs) on the last 4-5-km stretch of the drain and reclaiming land from the drain for plantation and beautification.
"Initially a retaining wall will be built along the drain to reclaim land after which plantation and beautification work will begin. The STPs will not only process sewage but also produce recycled water that will be used for watering plants along the drain and in nearby parks," the Mayor said.
One of the main problems was non-existence of sewage line connecting homes along the drains, mainly in Nizamuddin Basti. A proposal is also being prepared where the area MLA Tajdar Babar has agreed to give the Delhi Jal Board money from her area development fund to lay sewage lines to these homes, Mr. Suri said.
Stating that beautification and greenery would attract a wide variety of birds to this place as it used a few decades ago, the Mayor said the entire project might take a couple of months to take off. "We also want to make it a financially viable project for which the Foundation has also been urged to draw up a plan so that some funds are generated from it to meet the project's future needs
NEW DELHI: P.V. Narasimha Rao was not the first prime minister of India from Telangana. There was another vazir from Warangal, and he lies buried in not-so-sepulchral silence in a warren of houses in the Nizamuddin Basti in Delhi.
After a 10-minute walk in the inner lanes of the road leading to the Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah, beside the Baoli gate road, is a low blue door. Inside the small doorway, about 20 feet away, is the sole entrance to the grave of Maqbul Khan or, as he was known, Khan-i-Jehan Telangi. Born Nagayya Ganna Vibhudu, he changed his name to Maqbul Khan after changing his religion.
The tomb was built sometime around 1388 by his son Junan Shah, nine years after Maqbul Khan passed away. At his death, he was at the height of his power as the counsellor and minister of Firuz Shah Tughlaq’s tottering empire.
“People were living here till a few days ago. Then Mukhtiar Nizam asked us to restore this place as pieces of the dome were flaking off. We began clearing and cleaning it up only a month back,” says Ratish Nanda of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC).
The AKTC, which has restored the Humayun’s Tomb complex as well as the Jamaat Khana Masjid, one of the oldest in Delhi and built during Alauddin Khilji’s time, has been entrusted the task of conserving the monument.
The outer facade is octagonal, and features a ring of eight smaller domes covered with a shell of red sandstone. “We found that there is sandstone flooring six feet below the surface,” explains Neetipal Brar of AKTC. Three other doorways have been plastered shut over centuries by the occupants; even the windows on the first floor were walled up as neighbourhood families coveted the real estate on the ceiling.
A 2014 photograph shows a dish antenna as well as a water tank on the ceiling. The Delhi quartzite arches still retain inscriptions from the Quran carved on them.
Inside, the dome is a soaring oval in which roots of the massive banyan and neem tree have struck deep roots. It is a dank, dark chamber where natural light has been blocked out for dozens of years by the earlier residents.
However, the finial of the monument comprising clasps of red sandstone and grey sandstone has surprisingly stayed intact with just one small fallen portion.
“The task of restoration of the monument will be tough and time-consuming as we cannot bring in heavy equipment. The narrow street does not allow vehicles to pass, making the removal of waste material or bringing in construction material difficult,” says Mr. Brar.
How the monument came to be constructed here and how Khan-e-Jahan Telangi came to be buried here is not a mystery. The Nizamuddin area is suffused with a sublime belief about the benefits of being buried in close proximity to the saint. And Khan-e-Jahan Telangi could not escape the magic though he was born in a culturally, socially different world.
In 1323, after Ulugh Khan’s (future Muhammad Bin Tughlaq) soldiers finally conquered Warangal, a select band of Turkish soldiers escorted the deposed Kakatiya king Prataprudra to Delhi. According to multiple versions, Prataprudra ended his life on the banks of the Narmada.
However, his commander Nagayya Ganna Vibhudu, changed his religion and joined the Tughlaq administration, steadily rising in rank. Under Firuz Shah Tughlaq, who ruled from 1351, Maqbul Khan became the vazir or prime minister after a brief stint as finance minister. Titled Khan-e-Jahan (lord of the world) he waived off farmers’ loans by having Firuz Shah publicly destroy records of debts during the earlier regime.
Maqbul Khan had a glad eye, and by the end of his life, he had 2,000 mistresses, among them Greek and Chinese women. Firuz Shah, who was beholden to Maqbul, set up a new rule for him. Every time he had a son, his income went up by 1,000 gold coins.
Cut to the present: there are dozens of families that have built rooms, toilets and kitchens abutting the monument. Walking around the historic structure is difficult. But a beginning has been made such that conservation architects are able to enter and access the Khan-e-Jehan Telangi’s tomb. And it is only a matter of time before Khan-e-Jehan Telangi’s tomb is put back on the tourist map of Delhi.
When the Nizamuddin Basti Mela brought alive 700 years of tradition
Among the several initiatives, a major one is the annual Apni Basti Mela which was organised from December 21 to 23. It celebrated the food, art and music of Nizamuddin.
Written by Riya George | New Delhi | Updated: December 25, 2018 4:27:30 pm
Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti,
Buried here is also, Amir Khusrow, the saint’s favourite disciple.
Bustling streets, narrow lanes, enormous flocks of people and animals moving together in synchrony, loud chatter and a perpetual aroma of delicious biryani and kebabs are some of the highlights of the Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti in Delhi.
This description more often than not would translate to chaos, however in case of this basti, these are the very aspects that are strangely welcoming and uplifting. The locality is predominantly a Muslim one with a small percentage of Hindus and Christians. The gallis are cramped with hawkers selling garlands, incense, bags and shoes, jewellery and silver utensils among other products.
The basti is named after the Sufi saint, Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya, who is buried in the heart of the village in a dargah. People from all faiths come here for its calm, peaceful ambiance. An old man at the dargah, who was diagnosed with cancer, found renewed energy here, and testifies to the many others who arrive ‘sick’ or ‘possessed’, and find healing here.
Buried here is also, Amir Khusrow, the saint’s favourite disciple. The baoli here is not without memories for children who have see it change, from the clear water to the murky state it exists in today. A legend that is often heard is of the making of the baoli, which was being built around the same time at the Tughlaqabad fort, commissioned by Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq, in the 14th century. Labourers would work both at the fort and the baoli, much to the ire of the Emperor. To put an end to this the king banned the sale of the oil which was used to light lamps that aided the workers to work at night in Nizamuddin. It is believed that as a response the saint set fire to the water in the baoli, which provided enough illumination for the workers. It’s believed that Tughlaqabad was cursed, and it faced issues of construction and water shortage.
Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti,
The locality is predominantly a Muslim one with a small percentage of Hindus and Christians.
Sukanya Amir, who came to the basti as a child, says that the reason for the large population in the area was because people wanted to be physically close to the saint. Her father was one such believer. The desire to be close to the saint extends beyond living near the dargah. People also wish to be buried near him. It is for this reason that Mirza Ghalib, the famous 19th century poet and a known devotee of the saint, was buried close to the dargah.
Walking through the lanes, one finds scattered, unidentified tombs probably across centuries. It is also not uncommon to have graves inside homes. Upon being asked if it feels odd to live with a tomb inside a home, Sukanya said, “Jaise aapke ghar mein sofe aur tv normal hain, waise hamare liye kabar. Bachpan se dekhe aa rahe hain aur ab aadat pad gayi hai. (Sofas and TVs are normal in your home. The same way, tombs are in ours. We’ve seen them around us since our childhood and now we are used to them).”
The Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti has seen nearly 700 years of tradition and cultures. People from different regions have come and settled around the dargah bringing a little of their own heritage. It is important that the amalgamation of these diverse cultures, which has been adopted in the area, is preserved and protected alongside the monuments and history of the region. The Aga Khan Foundation is engaged in a robust restoration programme in the locality since 2007.
Among the several initiatives, a major one is the annual Apni Basti Mela which was organised from December 21 to 23. It celebrated the food, art and music of Nizamuddin. Organised in the Outer Park of the basti, this is not a location Google maps recognises. One must navigate through the lanes of the village to find their way from the dargah to reach the park.
Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti,
The basti is named after the Sufi saint, Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya, who is buried in the heart of the village in a dargah.
Colourful handmade decorations on trees and poles provided the perfect aesthetic for a bright and lively village fair. Several stalls selling handicraft items, local ayurvedic products, wooden utensils, Urdu calligraphy frames and mouthwatering Mughlai food could be found. The large number of school students kept themselves engaged with games such as live snakes and ladders and hop-scotch.
A stall attracting large crowds and attention was the Insha-e-Noor stall. Insha-e-Noor is an NGO which encourages the women living in basti to be financially independent by involving them in the making and selling of products such as diaries, key chains, earrings, dream catchers, table clothes and other such artefacts. These can be made at home or at their collective workplace. The degree of flexibility and independence provided finds many takers in the basti.
A stage was also set up where school children enacted plays on social issues. One of the topics was ‘good touch and bad touch’, which was very relevant and informative considering the large number of children present at the fair.
Other initiatives taken up by the Aga Khan Foundation include Zaika- E- Nizamuddin to supply nutritious food to people. A workshop was organised on the nuances of the local cuisine. Sanitation, education, health, computer training, waste management and heritage awareness initiatives were also held.
Sair-E- Nizamuddin is another project which trains locals about their neighbourhood and its history allowing them to conduct tours for outsiders. At the moment, tours are available for the basti, Humanyun’s tomb and Sunder Nursery. The white marble monument, Chausath Khamba, with its lit up facade created the appropriate mood for the evening performances.
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