Skip to main content

Ghalib’s Delhi mansion, engulfed in darkness for 364 days, "remembered" on his birthday

By Our Representative
It is indeed lamentable that in this age of communication boom and the onslaught of self-centricity, people appear to have forgotten Mirza Ghalib, about whom, once well-known English novelist Graham Greene wrote that he happens to be the best poet in all languages in terms of thought content. His three-day 221st birth anniversary, “Yadgar-e-Ghalib”, was celebrated in Delhi by Ghalib Memorial Movement under the patronage of renowned Kathak dancer Uma Sharma and other eminent citizens, ending with candle light march on December 30 in Delhi.
Sponsored by the Ghalib Memorial Movement and supported by Friends for Education, the NGO that had got Ghalib mansion restored in 1997, the candle march began at the Town Hall, Chandni Chowk in the old Delhi walled city area, to Ghalib’s Gali Qasimjan haveli.
A mushaira (poetic gathering) for the connoisseurs of Urdu poetry was held on the opening day on December 28, including poets like, Gulzar Dehlvi, Manzar Bhopali, Khushbir Singh Shad, Kunwar Ranjeet Singh Chauhan, Moin Shadab, Sharf Nanparvi, Alok Shristava and the second day, that is, December 29, saw Uma Sharma’s perfect rendition of the ballet, “Shama Jalti he her rang mein seher honey tak,” by her team and youthful artists.
Apart from Kathak maestro and Ghalib lover Uma Sharma, others who participated in the march included , bureaucrat-cum-poet Madhup Mohta, Iqbal Ahmed Khan and Imran Khan, both qawwals, actor Badrudduja Siddiqui Najmi, and activist and chancellor, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Firoz Bakht Ahmed.
The three day carnival, “Yadgar-e-Ghalib”, began at the India Islamic Cultural Centre with the traditional mushaira (poetic gathering) that included.
Uma Sharma stated that Ghalib’s name was misused for vested interests, but nobody bothered about preserving his poetic legacy including the agencies that are supposed to look after art and culture. poetry.
Littereateur Pavan K Varma, a participant, said that Ghalib’s poetry is unique, not only for the intensity of feelings but also for the exquisite charm and profound thoughts that are part of his beautiful world with the concept of interfaith bonding and that the government must help artists like Uma Sharma who are trying to revive poets like Ghalib.
Another participant, K Sareen, said, all through the vintage selling street of Chandni Chowk, one became nostalgic witnessing the attarwalas (perfume sprayers), pankhewalas (fan holders), mashals (torches), nagadas (huge trumpets), huqqas (old smoking system) and pandaans (betel leaf boxes).
The nafeeri and tasha (musical instruments of the Mughal era) artistes gaily accompanied the procession to Ghalib’s house at Gali Qasimjan.
At the haveli, while paying homage, Uma Sharma narrated how the struggle to restore Ghalib mansion was begun by activist Firoz Bakht with the help of the Ghalib Memorial Movement two decades ago — a time that she started visiting and conducting programmes at the Ghalib haveli. Uma Sharma praised the efforts of Manish Sisodia, Delhi’s deputy chief minister, and Vineet Palliwal for helping her ideas take concrete shape.
Madhup Mohta stated that the glorious thing about Ghalib is that his poetry never fitted into watertight compartments because his world in the ghazals was too vast and too contradictory.
Bakht, who founded the NGO Friends for Education, opined that poetry is a dying art and the children of this era do not know who Ghalib is and, therefore, the Government of Delhi must make it a point to take Ghalib to schools for the heritage tours to his Gali Qasimjan haveli. Besides, he emphasized, the Haveli-e-Ghalib, instead of being a dead monument, must be a living one by starting a reading room and an evening session to begin Urdu computer classes here so that the local community benefits.
“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.”, he added.
The haveli became crowded as ordinary people poured in to listen to prominent citizens on what was being done to restore the memory of Ghalib. Badrudduja, who is also a resident near Ghalib’s mansion, lamented that the great poet is rarely remembered except on his birthday. "The haveli is engulfed in darkness for rest of the 364 days", he said.

Comments

TRENDING

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

What about religious persecution of Dalits, Adivasis, asks anti-CAA meet off Ahmedabad

By Rajiv Shah
A well-attended Dalit rights meet under the banner “14 Pe Charcha” (discussion on Article 14 of the Indian Constitution), alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi well-known campaign phrase of the 2014 Parliamentary elections, “chai pe charcha” (discussion over cup of tea), organized off Ahmedabad, has resolved on Wednesday to hold a 14 kilometres-long rally on April 14 to oppose the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), enacted on December 10-11.

Upendra Baxi on foolish excellence, Indian judges and Consitutional cockroaches

By Rajiv Shah
In a controversial assertion, top legal expert Upendra Baxi has sought to question India's Constitution makers for neglecting human rights and social justice. Addressing an elite audience in Ahmedabad, Prof Baxi said, the constitutional idea of India enunciated by the Constituent Assembly tried to resolve four key conflicting concepts: governance, development, rights and justice.

Tata Mundra's possible closure? Power ministry's 'pressure tactic' on consumer states

By Bharat Patel*
Tata power has announced to the Union Ministry of Power that Tata Power may be forced to stop operating  its imported coal-based Mundra Ultra-Mega Power Project (UMPP) after February, 2020. It is not only unfortunate but also criminal that irreversible damage has been caused to the fragile ecosystem of Mundra coast for a project that will have a running life of only seven years.

Population control? 10% Indian couples want to delay next pregnancy, but fail

Counterview Desk
Shireen Jejeebhoy, director at Aksha Centre for Equity and Wellbeing, previously senior associate at the Population Council, India, argues that the debate on the country's population was fuelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address to the nation, where he drew attention to “concern” about the challenges posed by this ‘exploding’ population growth, needs to centre around the promotion of rights and education, instead of the language of explosion and the threat of coercion that this term implies.

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Counterview Desk
In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.