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Ahead of Ghalib's 220th birth anniversary, Delhi NGO fans protest neglect of Haveli, littered with garbage

By Our Representative
Members of Ghalib Memorial Movement, including eminent Kathak proponent Uma Sharma and grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Firoz Bakht Ahmed, former director of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Suresh Goel and others have protested against the Delhi government’s alleged neglect of the Ghalib Haveli in Delhi.
Accompanied by senior citizens, in a petition they handed over the government authorities, the NGO said, the state government has “not done anything” despite “tall claims of putting the Ghalib function boards many days ahead of his 220th birth anniversary, which falls on December 27.
In an email alert to Counterview, Bakht said, “Kapil Sharma, Delhi culture minister did not show his face at the programme organized by the Ghalib Memorial Museum on December 25”, when the NGO’s members gathered at Town Hal for a candle light procession.
Bakht said, “When the procession was on, the participants were shocked to find that the place was littered with rubbish and garbage all over. Uma Sharma was regretted that the spot was in a state of utter neglect.”
Bakht said, “Ghalib is in the heart of all the connoisseurs of poetry the world over. However, unfortunately, instead of taking care of the memorial and restoring it, it lies defunct and forlorn in a two-roomed haveli in a mere 110 sq yards.”
“Of late”, claimed Bakht, “There are people who have become opportunistic enough to cash in on Ghalib’s fame and to use the haveli like a mistress coveted by all but cared by none.”
“Today”, he further said, “The haveli houses a Ghalib bust, some framed pieces of Ghalib's ghazals, some books on him, Ghalib's handwritten letters’ copies and a few brass utensils from the poet's times.”
He added, “The inner cubicle, where Ghalib’s statue is there with a book, has been littered with empty cardboard cartons, a blanket and the bag of the guard, who is hardly seen there.”
In his petition, for the Ghalib memorial, Bakht demanded a 400 sq yard area for the haveli, as was the original there during the days of Ghalib, in order to have a grand memorial in the memory of the great poet.
Regretting that only 110 sq yards have been given for the memorial, Bakht said, “Worse, illegal structures without the proper permission at the behest of the local MLA were built recently on the first and second floor.”
Bakht suggested that a reading room is a must at the haveli, where Urdu, Hindi and English newspapers and magazines are availed for the local community.
Then, he said, a portion of a room must be devoted to selling the translation of Ghalib’s Urdu Diwan (collection), as has been done by Ghalib Academy, Delhi.
“Apart from that information booklets on Ghalib, his picture postcards too must be availed, the responsibility of which should be of one of the Urdu platforms that are the nodal agencies of the Delhi government like Urdu Academy, National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language etc.”, Bakht said.

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