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A walk through Ghalib’s world

delhi Updated: Dec 22, 2008 01:34 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Namrata Rana has an ancestral home in Chandni Chowk area in Old Delhi but she has never visited the place in the last 25 years.

On Sunday she came as a part of a heritage walk and strolled in the congested lanes of the Walled City which invoke memories of Ghalib.

Driven by curiosity, Sunaina Arha also took a walk along with 40-odd people. “Even though I live in Delhi, I have been disconnected with the heritage of our city. This walk provided me and many others with an opportunity to correct this anomaly.”

Organised by conservationist Surekha Narain, this walk facilitated a stroll down constricted lanes where memories of Ghalib continue to linger even two centuries after his birth.

In nondescript structures of Shahjahanabad, the walkers soaked in all the anecdotes these unassuming structures had to offer.

“People in Delhi still remain oblivious to its rich heritage. The idea is to spark interest and connect them with a side of the city that remains unknown to them,” said Narain as she negotiated her way through the congested lanes to reach the walk’s first stop.

The group encountered relics of Ghalib’s life starting with a nondescript mansion on Gali Qasim Jaan. This house, where Ghalib lived as a tenant from 1860 to 1869 and also breathed his last, was restored by the government in 1999 and is now a museum.

After the first stop, which equipped one with a basic chronology of important events in the poet’s life, the walkers were shown Ghalib’s in-laws place. Now partially converted into a girls’ school, this house also hosted his wedding ceremony.

Entertaining anecdotes that illustrated the poet’s wit and charming personality remained the highlight of the walk. The visit to the Anglo Arabic School at Ajmeri Gate, for instance, turned out to be interesting primarily because of the story associated with it.

“Ghalib was invited to this institution to be a professor of Persian. He, however, changed his mind when the principal of the school did not come and receive him at the gate. He was offended,” informed Narain.

The walk culminated at Rabea Girl’s School with a mushaira (poetry readings) by the students, which was followed by lunch of traditional Old Delhi cuisine.