Ghalib’s Safarnama

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Ghalib’s Safarnama

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Meri Ore Se Utha Teri
Ore Ko Kadam Pehla
Milenge Hum

O Safarnama!

Ghalib ki haveli se Dilli college tak was one of the most sought-after walks conducted by Purani Dilli Walon Ki Baatein on the 21st January 2018.
In the hemmed macrocosm of narrow lanes, neighborhood commercial markets, and dilapidated monuments, Ghalib’s haveli was the first stop of the Walk where he stayed from 1860-69.

The Walk leader Mirza Farhan Baig delineated the history and life of Ghalib along with RJ Anas Faizi who bought Mirza Ghalib live amongst the group with his prodigious art of reciting shayari. Ghalib is considered not his own writer but his God’s writer and jiddat pasanda is his uniqueness.
Other than Shayari Ghalib also wrote letters and prose.


The Ghadar (mutiny) and its aftermath in Delhi were very testing times, especially for Ghalib and most of the people loyal to the English were first shifted and killed. Ghalib was in the tweezer grip as the mutineers took him to be the one close to the English while the English were after his jugular owing to his affinity to Bahadur Shah Zafar.

Related to Ghalib and the mutiny the next stops were Hindustani dawakhana which was under the supervision of Maharaja of Patiala, Rabea girls school and Ahata Kaley sahib where umrao begum, Ghalib’s wife resided. Phatak nawab Lohar another prominent location was largely affected by the mutiny.

The Walk leaders had set the atmosphere of real excitement with their invigorating knowledge and further discussed the only existing chaul system in one of the bylanes which are not common to the architecture and way of living in the old part of the city.

Next was coming big and the group stopped at the Hamdard ki haveli situated in Lal Quan which was supposedly the residents of the hakeems, physicians.
The haveli is massive and the factory that has been shifted years before still smells fresh of rooh afza ( drink) and khameera which were the most famous products of Hamdard.
Presently the haveli stands tall and empty with only a few rooms functioning.

Moving ahead the group was made acquainted with the Excelsior cinema which was the first single screen hall in the vicinity.

Other locations like Badal Baig ki haveli which hosted the famous mushaira of 1845 attended by Zauq, Zaffar and Ghalib, masjid Mubarak Begum, Hauz Qazi and Ajmeri gate we’re included.

The next focal and the last stop of the 3 km walk was the Anglo Arabic School. The Walk leaders beautifully intertwined Ghalib, his ego to the Anglo Arabic school where he was called to teach and he found no one welcoming him which made me reject the job.
Mughal architecture makes the school look prepossessing.

Education played an imposition role during that time and vernacular translations took place. Part of the building has been under the ASI including the mosque of ghaziuddin.

During 1857, 80% Non-Muslims including Aggarwal and baniyas attained education. Even during the time of mutiny the school functioned.

The Walk culminated with Laal roti and appetizing kheer which was thoroughly enjoyed by the group with an invigorating conversation with one of the members of the school who spent most of his life in the school premises.

Ghalib’s presence was felt strongly throughout the Walk.

february, 2021

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About Shubhra Mathur

A Delhi University student balancing herself between the past - present, modern-traditional, a sixth generation progeny of a lifestyle which has continued its journey in the ways it had since long and introspecting how long it could live. A proud citizen living in history and geography of purani Dilli.

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