How can summers begin without mayflowers blowing in the breeze?!
Why do you hide under a veil?
When all you could be doing is soaring on your wings?
Why do you reach for stars,
When all you could know is you have it in you to shine?
Why age them in just peering through,
Those eyes, yours, shy like a virgin, which want to learn…
The veil, that poor see through thing,
Are you letting it, or is it really caging you, against your will?
Have they tied anklets around your feet,
In gold and silver that gleam but clang like cowbells?
Tell me of your childhood, your real one.
Did you have a ‘gudda’* then, you loved to fondle around all day?
You did, didn’t you? You loved him.
Then everything changed, when your childhood was taken from you.
You were just told, what was right and wrong,
You just winked once and your lovebirds took off into the blue.
Never you got to see them ever again,
Those mad birds, soaring high, higher than ever you’d flown your kite.
Those disobedient little creatures,
But why aren’t you happy, that they’ve left you…?
You must wonder where now they live,
Have they gone away far enough to live in some other world…?
Those two eyes, two tiny little birds,
Must be wandering among all beautiful things, which you won’t know…
Those obstinate, selfish birds, that live in dreams,
Ever wondered how they bless humanity every night? They hope for us.
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.
by Debasree Purkayastha
Agrasen ki Baoli, an old monument hidden in the bowels of the skyscraper encrusted heart of the city of New Delhi, Cannaught Place. Not known to most people, this is a protected archaeological site, an old step well. With 103 steps completely immersed in water, this used to be a storage house of water… The visible parts of this historical step well consist of three levels. Each level is lined with arched niches on both sides.
From an architectural perspective this step well was probably rebuilt during the Tughlaq period. However, the oldest existing Baoli in Delhi, the Anangtal Baoli located in Mehrauli which was also known as Yoginipura, was built in the 10th century by the Rajput King Anang Pal II of Tomar Dynasty. Anang Tal literally means reservoir provided by Anang Pal of the House of Tomar.
Regarding the name Agrasen Ki Baoli it should be stated that in 1132 AD an Agrawal poet named Vibudh Shridhar mentions, in his work Pasanahacariu, a wealthy and influential Agrawal merchant of Dhilli named Nattal Sahu who was also a minister in the court of King Anang Pal III. Rebuilding the old Baoli would have been within the means of a wealthy Agrawal community.
Although there are no known historical records to prove who built Agrasen ki Baoli, it is believed that it was originally built by the legendary king Agrasen during the Mahabharat epic era and rebuilt in the 14th century by the Agrawal community which traces its origin to Maharaja Agrasen.
Water temples and temple step wells were built in ancient India and the earliest forms of step well and reservoir were also built in India in places like Dholavira as far back as the Indus Valley Civilisation.
Recently, I went there, with an unique friend of mine. Here’s a poem I wrote about the rendezvous. This is an important part of my life. This place, was already special since I’d already been there before a lot many times, from the first visit, last October with my best friend. And now after this recent visit, I have become quite sure, it has become one of those things in my life, that I cannot give up deliberately. This was already beautiful and now, it’s become special.
Through the many nooks and vents,
Wings of feather dart and flap.
It is a maze, through which,
I do not want to escape.
Through the topmost window,
We watched the sun slowly dying.
I felt your hands untying the knots among my thoughts,
I felt your lips burning through and through my stiffness.
I just wish the wheel of time would never have restarted,
From how you’d stopped it for us to intertwine and breathe…
Oh, there, right there, will I go back every time.
Because you showed me what real love could be like.
I would never have known.
And died and faded away like that.
You showed me that doors aren’t always needed.
To escape, we could just come out…
Leaping out from one of the many windows.
But this is a maze I do not want to escape.
I’m happy and so let me sing your praise…
It’s always been my choice, don’t make me sad.
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.
Feels like suddenly I’m helpless,
In the wake of the minute hand of the clock,
One evening not talking, not laughing with you…
Feels like heaven’s broke and rained rocks.
Why is it that so suddenly in just seven days,
You’ve become so important to me?
Why hadn’t we met before?
Now you make me think.
Is that what soul mates are like?
Like one meets the other half,
And then, suddenly, they’re one.
So much has changed since the hour we met.
And ever since then, I haven’t been myself–
But a stronger, bolder and wiser me.
Then can I call us soul mates?
I don’t know of that, as of yet.
But it was exactly a crowd that we first met,
So, maybe my epiphany still counts…
And we just happened to stumble upon each other.
I had a hundred reasons ready,
Excuses that spare me from going that day.
I overslept, and then my dress too wasn’t ready.
My hair wasn’t washed and poor me,
Instead of a petty-coat, I wore pajamas under my saree.
But still it worked, until it rained bullets.
My heels raised on five inched blocks,
I was forced to hunt for three wheelers on foot.
Windblown hair and dancing stupid unskilled bihu.
I don’t know how it started, but the way you guarded my heels,
Letting me dance as much as I wish, sure did touch my heart.
That you weren’t much that into the stoner den, like I was,
But kept experimenting with your camera, like I do with mine.
And now three weeks have passed,
But that memory’s still alive.
Like a little sixteen year old, you make,
My heart go out, on a roller coaster ride.
Little, little jokes, and secrets, planetary homes,
Like a game of snakes & ladders increasing in progression.
With your little innocent smile, you made me grow past
The pains I have endured in my battle-worn life.
Maybe that’s what soul mates are made for,
To stitch each other’s sore wounds up.