Hain aur bhi duniya mein Sukhawar bohut ache, Kehte hain Ghalib ka hai andaaz-e-bayaan aur…..Saima Anjum
One hazy Sunday morning, blissful faces and the chaos of Ballimaran. Yessssss, you got it right, it’s “Purani Dilli Walo Ki Baatein”, ki baatein and this time they chose Ghalib ki Haweli to Dilli College (Anglo-Arabic School).
Around 9, 15-20 exciting faces gathered at Katra Neel, taking selfies and capturing the moment. Mr. Farhan Baig, an inhabitant of Purani Dilli itself, introduced all with the walk and the route to be taken. The walk started from Katra Neel which is named after the traders of Neel (Indigo), near Chunnamal ki Haweli, captured by Chunnamal himself along Fatehpur ki Masjid and this haveli is solely untouched since its construction.
The walk has begun for Ghalib ki Haweli through the streets covered with leather shops, optics shops, and Bangles. Finally, we reached Gali Qasim Jan, the street leading to Ghalib ki Haweli. A giant door opens to the Haweli and lanterns hanging inside with the manuscripts of Ghalib’s poetry. Mr. Anas Faizi, a big fan of Mirza Ghalib and his neighbor too, told a lot about Mirza.
Asadullah Baig Khan was born on December 27, 1797, in Agra. He came to Delhi at the age of 13 after his marriage. He was a witty man, irreligious or half religious, humoristic, a bit egoist and a lover of Aam (Mango). He used to call himself half religious as he consumed alcohol but avoided pork. He had never been on fast and had no child.
Bahadur Shah Zafar used to rule the capital during that time and Sheikh Ibrahim Zauq was Zafar’s poet (Shayar). Ghalib took over as Zafar’s Shayar after Zauq. Though he came after Zauq,but his image as a poet stands unique. One day he came up with a wit and addressed Zauq as “Bane hai shah ka musahib phire hai itraata” which lost Zauq’s temper and he complained to Zafar. On calling to the kingdom, Ghalib recited the whole of the famous ghazal “Har ek baat pe kehte ho tum ki tu kya hai, tumhi Kaho ye Andaz-e-guftgu kya hai” which gained a lot of praise thereafter. He started with Urdu poetry and continued with Persian.
Ghalib’s poetry has been admired since then and he compared himself with Angel Gabriel (as) as his verses seemed to be God’s words because of their angelic essence. He reflected his attitude in his poetry dedicated to his beloved. Life of Ghalib had been very normal and he was not a wealthy man and borrowed things like Palki, Angrakha, etc from his friend. The uniqueness aspired by Ghalib made him dress differently from the trend. He used to wear Turk Topi, donned a short beard and a big shawl like shrug upon him.
Not only poetry, his prose also gained fame which was written as letters to his relatives and friends. After an hour, Mr. Farhan continued the walk to Ahata Kale Sahab where Ghalib lived after his release from prison. This area is now a congested mohalla. A walk throughout the Ahata was carried out by Phatak Nawab Loharo, Ghalib’s in-laws. Next, we stopped at Katra Bihari Lal which used to follow the chawl system like Mumbai and other cities.
Next stop being Hamdard Wellness, an Unani and Ayurvedic pharmaceutical company, gave the most influential knowledge of that time. Hamdard was established in 1906 by Hakim Abdul Majeed at Katra Dina Beg Lal Kuan. Hamdard was parted during the Indo-Pak partition and was turned into “Wakf Property”. The factory later shifted to Ghaziabad and only the trade is carried at the Katra now.
On the left of Hamdard, a cinema named “Excelsior” is situated which is known to be the first single screen cinema of Purani Dilli started in 1938. The sound here was synchronized, unlike talkies.
Badal Baig ki haweli was introduced as it has strong links with Ghalib and is the same place where Mushairas used to perform. Zauq and Ghalib used to rule the stage and Zafar keenly listened.
The heart quenching mosque, Masjid Mubarak Begum was built by her name to better her afterlife. She was a tawa’eef still built a mosque. And here I knew, “Action speaks more than a profession.”
Mr. Farhan told the reason of Ajmeri Gate named so. The Ajmeri Gate was built on a square base and boasts of high arches. It derives its name from the fact that the road which ran from this gate led to Ajmer in Rajasthan.
The walk successfully completed at Anglo-Arabic School through the streets of Chowk Hauz Qazi and Ajmeri Gate. Ghalib was once offered to teach Persian here but his ego didn’t make hay out of the way.
Established in 1692, this school is the oldest living institution of India. The main objective was to uplift the uneducated Indians, as seen by the British. With English as the medium, this is a CBSE based co-ed school that successfully provides free education to all. The chairmanship of the school is headed by the Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, presently Mr. Talat Ahmed. Icons like Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Liaqat Ali Khan passed out from this school.
The maza’ar of Hazrat Ghaziuddin (Rh), founder of the school, situated in the backyard of the school, is known to be miraculously filled with water during hot summer days. His sons were buried beside him.
With the tasteful Kheer and Sheermal, the day was winded-up. To be honest, this was my first heritage walk which gave me vibes and courage to be in for these walks and exploration programs.
“Purani Dilli Walo Ki Baatein” not only organizes walks but do social works too. It is run by a number of hard-working youths. This organization would surely reach its goals of touching the sky.
“Poochhte hain wo ki Ghalib kaun hai, Koi batlao ki hum batlaayen kya?”