Delhiwale: Where schoolyard meets graveyard
Public interest: This lost world of domes, graves, mosques and lawns is one of the oldest educational institution in Delhi — going back three centuries.delhi Updated: Jun 20, 2017 12:02 IST
It is a different world — exquisite without being ostentatious. The Mughal-era Anglo-Arabic School consists of a cluster of early 18th century buildings. That includes a Sufi shrine, a tomb, and a mosque. Being Delhi’s oldest surviving educational institution (since 1692), you cannot enter the compound unless you are a student or a teacher. However, permission for a tour can be arranged with the school authorities.
We go on a Sunday. The classrooms are locked. The corridors are empty. The place feels like an abandoned city. There are unknown tombs all around. A dark gallery leads into a hall with an arched gateway. A few wooden desks are piled up under a broken stone screen.
The pathways snake through wild lawns. The trees seem watchful. Some of the classroom windows are patterned after old designs not seen any longer elsewhere in the city. A corridor in the school’s upper floor consists of a series of beautiful arches.
One corner of the football field is home to the underground Sufi shrine of Hazrat Saadullah. The field also looks to the kothas of the red-light area on GB Road.
The imposing red stone mosque was built by Ghaziuddin Khan, who founded an Islamic madrassa. This Delhi noble’s son was the first nizam of Hyderabad. Khan’s marble tomb is enclosed within a fawn-colored sandstone screen.
Many legendary Delhiwallas spent their student days in this school, including the Persian scholar Yunus Jaffery, who died last year. We can still feel something of his essence while walking here.