There is cattle tied in front of it, the small space in front has been turned into a dumping yard, the dilapidated insides, especially the arches, are stuffed with debris of the still-erect monument and the exteriors show signs of weathering complete with grass and shrubs grown atop.
In all so many years that the village around it turned into an urban settlement and the condition of this Lodhi era structure worsened, the Delhi government did not bother about it.
However, there seems to be hope for this tomb and also for several such monuments and structures that lie scattered across the city. Three years after the preliminary notification for the first lot out of 39 monuments was issued, Delhi’s Department of Archaeology has finally issued the notification declaring all of these monuments as protected (See box). The final notification was issued towards May end.
Ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 2010, the Delhi government had ambitiously declared that it would conserve and protect these monuments. However, with objections from several quarters, including the Delhi Waqf Board, the final notification was never issued then.
Even as Delhi’s Department of Archaeology took time to hear the objections and claims about ownership of about 25-odd monuments, several of them were encroached upon, alterations were made in few while still others saw a change in façade beyond recognition. Only 15 of them were conserved, illuminated and security guards were deployed for their protection ahead of the Games.
In the meantime, the department’s MoU for three years for outsourcing conservation to Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) too has expired. Said a senior official, “Now that the notification has been issued, we would take up encroachment removal and conservation work. However, it would happen only after monsoon.”
The MoU with INTACH too is “in the process of renewal”, he said.