Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s mausoleum

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It was this last week, taking a long stroll across Delhi, lamenting for the short time I’m left with that I’ll get to spend in this very fine city, that I finally visited Nizamuddin Auliya’s Dargah or Mausoleum. It was an accident of chance. I found a friend willing to go there with me and thus we ended up at the antique milestone in Indian history, where the greatest of the Sufi saints of the Chisti wilayat was laid to rest under waves and waves of timeless prayer offerings and ‘duwa’s.

I wrote earlier about Hazrat Nizamuddin’s curse on the abandoned city of Tughlaqabad, and it only seems justified to write about the Saint’s lifetime that steeped in love for the Creator and Humanity.

The saint was born in Barayun now a part of Uttar Pradesh in the early 13th century. He came to live in Delhi, still a child, with his mother Zulekha Bibi after the death of his father Ahmad Barayuni. His life is chronicled by the Royal Mughal scribe of the court of Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar in his most famous 16th century literary work, The Ain-i-Akbari.

At the age of twenty, Nizāmuddīn went to Ajodhan (the present Pakpattan Sharif in Pakistan) and became a disciple of the Sufi saint Fariduddin Ganjshakar, commonly known as Baba Farid. Nizāmuddīn did not take up residence in Ajodhan but continued with his theological studies in Delhi while simultaneously starting the Sufi devotional practices and the prescribed litanies. He visited Ajodhan each year to spend the month of Ramadan in the presence of Baba Farid. It was on his third visit to Ajodhan that Baba Farid made him his successor. Shortly after that, when Nizāmuddīn returned to Delhi, he received news that Baba Farid had died.

Chilla Nizamuddin Auliya, residence of Nizamuddin Auliya, towards the north-east from Humayun’s tomb, Delhi. Nizāmuddīn lived at various places in Delhi, before finally settling down in Ghiyaspur, a neighbourhood in Delhi undisturbed by the noise and hustle of city life. He built his Khanqah here, a place where people from all walks of life were fed, where he imparted spiritual education to others and he had his own quarters. Before long, the Khanqah became a place thronged with all kinds of people, rich and poor alike.

Many of his disciples achieved spiritual height, including Shaikh Nasiruddin Muhammad Chirag-e-Delhi, and Amir Khusro, noted scholar/musician, and the royal poet of the Delhi Sultanate.

He died on the morning of 3 April 1325. His shrine, the Nizamuddin Dargah, is located in Delhi and the present structure was built in 1562. The shrine is visited by people of all faiths, through the year, though it becomes a place for special congregation during the death anniversaries, or Urs, of Nizamuddin Auliya and Amīr Khusro, who is also buried at the Nizāmuddīn Dargāh.

The tomb of the Mughal Shahzadi, Jahan Ara Begum, the eldest daughter of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz also lies next to the Dargah. It is only justifiable for anyone to lie down to rest, for it is the only place in Delhi where one can find a spiritual wholeness with the centuries of love and peace hanging in its air.

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Fifth City of Delhi

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Watch a dream

Poisoned by a curse

Watch your broken song

And crumbled verse.

The city of your love

Captured by decay

A lifetime of hope

Withered away

You were meant for such times

O’ Wise Fool, where

Tall dreams are not a crime

And treasured is your emerald tear.

Photo and verse: Afreen Hussain (http://www.facebook.com/songsoftheflute)

There in the outskirts of the the City of New Delhi lies a stretch of cursed land where the Sultan Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq (pronounced Ghiyath al-Din Tughlaq in Urdu) had built the fifth city of Delhi.

Curse of the Sufi Saint, Nizamuddin Auliya.

Ghiyas-ud-din, as an Emperor, is usually perceived as a liberal ruler. However, he was so passionate about his dream fort that he issued a dictate that all labourers in Delhi must work on his fort. The Saint [Nizamuddin Auliya], a Sufi mystic, got incensed as the work on his baoli (well) was stopped. The confrontation between the sufi saint and the royal emperor has become a legend in India. The saint uttered a curse which was to resonate throughout history right until today Ya rahey hissar, ya basey gujjar (may it [the fort] remain unoccupied/infertile, or else the herdsmen may live here).

And indeed to this day it has stood still, as the fort lies crumbling, hundreds of years later…in it’s solitude. miles stretch on and no sign of human habitation. It’s like this strategically important city is indeed forgotten by all of human race.

However the rustic beauty of the place and the resonating silence go together side by side like it was meant to be. A curse, so binding, it’s a fact, I do not wish to disturb the peace and serenity. It would feel like dropping an antique urn containing the ashes of a God, and weeping over the lost remains would be bitterly pathetic.

This is my advice to you as a friend, or you could call a person who knows her India well, visit this place. A chance like this comes once in a lifetime, and this is something you gotta see before you leave Delhi. Not very far from the city. It’s Tughlakabad. Subway available just nearby.

This is where you’ll find yourself at par with your soul…as you trying to listen to the drums beating as the emperor presides over his court, and then the saint walking in with his lute, and the words uttered, you already know.

Have a great time…:)

Hauz Khas Fort

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Part of the Hauz Khas Fort, in the old village of Hauz Khas, New Delhi, this is a beautiful local/foreign tourist spot. Used for several photo shoots, and turned into occasional film sets this fort is a very popular place to be in Hauz Khas. Not situated very far from the Hauz Khas metro station, in South Delhi, this is a portal that leads Delhi’s cosmopolitan present into it’s rich and monopolized royal past. These are some photographs I took when I recently visited it, in May this year. There is this irresistible and charming enticement about the antiquity about this place that binds one to it. The pillars behind which lovers huddle close to each other, utter words of bliss and exchange tokens, words of promises resonate the music of long ages, that hums faintly in the ears ask we walk through the corridors taking the steps of the great Maharajas of the ancient days and the past comes alive when we breathe in the cool air that blows in from the amazing lake that stretches on forever below the fortress. I for once again felt proud when I took in so much history all at once.

PEACE IS TO SPIRIT AS CHAOS IS TO MIND

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What is the Dove? But a meek, unfortunate creature,
It is but a prey at the powerful hands of Man…
What can it possibly teach our civilization, the mightiest of all?
It can’t teach anything, not until we first learn to be uncivilized of all.

Man is civilized, and yet brothers fight like bulls,
Run for the waving, red flag of power, but forget they become colorblind.
As mighty monuments of hopes of passed eons get razed to ash,
Man has terrorized the Dove to silence, as if God’s only creation was Man.

Leaders promote war, destruction, and hatred, and then they apologize
And yet, they wear Doves on clean white, the day, they laugh at behind.
Sync anthems written by brothers who have a way with words to guise,
As in their heart they know, peace for Mankind will never actualize.

But I say, we can, but not until, we go back to the old ways, and relearn,
How we used to be uncivilized. And from then, civilization will flow once again,
Unhindered, by wasteful symbolic culture and fake history, that would crumble anytime,
Free from the falsehood of liberties taken by our ancestors to buy their way into our future.

A world free from the fables of wandering spirits,
And the walking undead, and the supernatural.
A world where practicality will enlighten Man’s mind,
And where the colour of blood will flow alike.

Where we’ll make our own mistakes. Walk down our own road to perfection,
Follow not, the path of so-called great men and live on preset norms from dawn.
Not copy down quotes from speeches, or best-selling books, that aren’t ours.
Where we’d create our own fate, not follow the stout man who counts stars.

Eat not, from just the hearths at our homes, but also from that Garden of Eden,
Let us see if that legend is true. If yes, we bear the same curse as Eve and Adam.
What are we after all? Just human, flesh and blood and the spirit within.
That starves from the lack of knowledge, fed by fear of history. We need to set it free.

So, let us not speak of war and peace, but of the story of evil’s dominion over good.
Speak not of the Dove and the Predator, but the allegory of serenity destroyed by force.
Let us not speak of the civilized bulls, but of untamed, uncivilized human instincts,
The cravings of the soul that’s been subdued for ages, and let its power destroy it all.

From that rubble will Man rise again. A sun above an abyss, lighting up the depths of darkness.
Man will see the pristine green of the valleys, the unconquered peaks, for the first time in history.
Seeing that happy smile, on his neighbor’s face, Man will never feel the need to terrorize him again.
The chaos of the dark world will pass away forever… The new world will breathe together in peace.