Delhi is one unique place that has been continuously inhabited since the 6th century BC; served as a capital of various kingdoms and empires; got captured, ransacked and rebuilt several times. Endowed and custodian of such great wealth of varied heritage, no doubts its important that Delhi gets tag of a UNESCO heritage city; but equally important is to celebrate the heritage it possesses with its people and discerning global citizens.
Setting its eyes on one such ambitious plan to organise one such extraordinary event- Delhi Heritage Foundation (DHF) has invited suggestions from intelligentsia thats part of its 50 odd members and one and all to execute the dream it has conceived to organise an event by the name of ‘Jashn-e-Delhi’ to promote Delhi Heritage on global forum.
The newly found DHF is mentored by a well known Indian thought leader- SY Quraishi, who after holding several strategic and key positions, rose to become the 17th Chief Election Commissioner of India in July 2010. Rasheda Hussain is the Chairperson and Managing Trustee of DHF, which also has the former MD of Delhi Tourism- GG Saxena as its Secretary.
“We call upon our members and people from all walks of life to come forward and give their suggestions to plan one of the best possible events to celebrate, relive and immortalise the heritage of India,” said Hussain, who was speaking at the monthly talk shows organised under the DHF banner and supported by the Delhi based HomeStay Aggregator BnB.
DHF in its monthly interactive talks cum lecture series bring on an eminent personality to deliberate on a topic that is central to bring to light the hidden intangible heritage of Delhi. This edition the eminent speaker was Sadia Dehlvi, who is a prolific writer, journalist and author of various books including two on Sufism.
Here, She talked on Sufism and presented a presentation titled ‘SUFI COURTYARD: Dargahs of Delhi’. Taking the delegates present through a journey exploring the famous and lesser-known Dargahs of Delhi. Its the historical, spiritual and cultural legacies of the Sufis, who made Delhi their home, she claimed as the reason that historians referred to Delhi as Hazrat e Dilli, Dilli Sharif and Dar ul Auliya, Home of God’s friends.
“Every major Sufi order in the world was represented in Delhi, the Chishtis being the most dominant. The first Sufi centre in Delhi was established in Mehrauli by Khwaja Qutub Bakhtiar Kaki. Apart from these Dargahs in the early days of the Delhi Sultanate, we discover those in and around Nizamuddin, Chiragh Dilli, Old Delhi, Sadar and Connaught place,” she said.
“Three of the five leading Chishti Sufis lived in Delhi including Khwaja Qutub, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya and his successor Nasiruddin Mahmud Chirag Dehlavi. The Sufis contributed to the city’s gangajamuni tehzeeb, what is now called composite culture. The Sufis furthered the message of universal brotherhood and peace. Their message continues to resonate and even today, we see people of different faiths and backgrounds visit the Dargahs, she added.
During the interaction, she also took up difficult question pertaining to the future of sufism and attempts to delink as part of Islam. Sufism will continue to attract devotees from the world over and has to be seen as part of an Islamic tradition. Sufism is a quest for union with God and the heart of Islam, or best termed as the spiritual current the flows from Islam, she explained.
Going forward, DHF has scheduled an interactive talk cum lecture from Pavan Verma, Ex. Diplomat and well known author of many books including one on Ghalib; Makkhan Lal on ‘Building of Shahjahanbad: The Accountant’s Report’ and Swapna Liddle from INTACH, an Expert on Delhi Heritage and an author of Book on Shahjahanabad.
Also as part of its various efforts to conserve, protect and bring to life Delhi’s Heritage- Saxena shared that the foundation has met with the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi to advance its cause of helping 365 schools in Delhi adopt a neighbouring monument. “UNESCO has 1000+ monuments inscribed as World Heritage properties out of which 800+ are cultural, 200+ are natural and 50+ are of mixed nature. On the other hand , a vast Country like India has 35 UNESCO world heritage sites with 27 cultural , 7 natural and one mixed category sites but there is no Indian city inscribed as world heritage city out of 226 total world heritage cities inscribed in the world out of 167 nations registered with UNESCO,” said Saxena.
“DHF is also pressing hard to get tag of UNESCO World Heritage City for Delhi and was hopeful that case of Delhi may be considered in UNESCO’s next round of meeting around 2-12 July, 2017 in Poland,” he added.