This New Year opened on an exciting note.Seventh of January brought a surprise invite from Delhi Heritage Foundation an organisation working for reviving ancient culture and preserving heritage of Delhi the capital city of India.The organisation conceived and promoted by certain prominent citizens of old city has brought together bunch of city lovers enthused with past glory of the Shahjahanabad and fired with zeal for preserving it’s cultural heritage and traditions.Going through the Facebook page of the organisation and impressed by the committed, crusading spirit of the dedicated citizen vigilantes we promptly lapped up the invite.
The event titled Tangible and Intangible Heritage of City of Delhi opened floodgates of nostalgia about the old city popularly known as the walled city, having been protected by fortification by Mughal Emperors over middle ages. Several participants having been born and grown up in the city and others having migrated in course of their formative years in life spoke emotionally about the ways of old Delhi. While someone spoke about the artistic ways of traders and market men other speaker gushed over the culinary delights of Chandni Chowk the Central market which was in historic times, and continues to be the nerve centre of commercial activities. For everyone mention of areas covered by narrow lanes and bye lanes evoked passionate memories of having discovered the charms of the city on foot.
The tone for the evening was set by Dr. SY Qureshi an eminent ex civil servant and leading light of the organisation who in keynote address recalled the lost glory of the city and shared his vision for preserving and recreating the lost heritage of city of Shahjahanabad . It transpired that The Delhi Heritage foundation has on it’s own initiated moves for preservation of several historic monuments by coming up with the novel scheme of encouraging educational institutions to adopt a monument.
Another highlight of the evening were the narratives on Cinema theatres of Delhi which were succumbing to loss of business in hard times.Even mention of names of of picture halls had element of excitement for everyone bringing back memories of a Mughal-e-Azam or Pakiza and excitement associated with queuing up for a first day first show ticket outside Regal in Connaught Place or Golcha in Daryaganj.Every one felt the need for re energising the picture halls located on prime places in the city with innovative techniques.
The myriad suggestions for recreating the lost glory of city poured in from enthusiastic participants. The phoenix like ability of the city to reinvent itself was best summarised by Chairman in a poetic rendering of Mir Taki Mir which refers to a stage when the city was passing through times difficult.It is recalled that master of Urdu poetry had introduced himself in a mushaira as
” Dilli Ek Shahar tha Aalamein Intikhab ..rahne wale hain hum us ujde dayar ke”
It is a matter of historical knowledge that the city later on rebuilt itself to take pride of place in leading cities of the world.