So here’s from my most recent visit to the fort Tughlaqabad.
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.
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
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…:)