A beautiful marble bust of Delhi’s very own shaayar Mirza Ghalib was unveiled at his haveli in old Delhi at the end of a commemorative candle light walk on Sunday coinciding with the poet’s 213rd birth anniversary.
And if the surging crowds were any indicator of the popularity of either the shaayar or the event, there was a stampede — well almost — inside the smallish char diwari of what now remains of the famed poet’s residence when Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit unveiled the bust. Ghalib was born on Dec 27, 1797.
The poet’s haveli was rescued from unauthorised occupation and conserved as a memorial almost a decade back.
In the 10th year celebration of the annual candlelight march by Ghalib Memorial Movement from Town Hall to Ghalib’s haveli in Gali Qasim Jaan in Chandni Chowk area, lyricists Gulzar was there, so was filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj and his singer wife Rekha. Also present were Kathak exponent Uma Sharma, writer diplomat Pavan K Varma and heritage activist Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who all are associated with the Movement.
“Ghalib is the reason … Ghalib is the only thought why I come here for the annual pilgrimage,” said Gulzar.
Dikshit thanked Gulzar on behalf of Delhiites for presenting the bust, created by sculptor Bhagwan Rampure from Maharashtra and said her government would go all out to preserve and maintain the memorial haveli.
Sharma said, “The increasing number of Ghalib fans directly reflect the great poet's popularity. However, youngsters need to know and study not just Ghalib but also other great poets like Firaq Gorakhpuri, Ras Khan and even Sant Tulsidas.”
However, Ahmed pointed out, “This should be a living monument for tourist. There should be a reading room wherein Ghalib’s literature, photos and pamphlets would be available.” Area MLA Haroon Yusuf, BJP leader Vijay Goel and noted poet Iqbal Ahmed were also present on the occasion.
Following the event at the Ghalib’s haveli, the congregation moved to Kucha Pati Ram haveli for a cultural celebration.