On ASI list, but no upkeep for these monuments | delhi | Hindustan Times
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On ASI list, but no upkeep for these monuments

delhi Updated: Jun 23, 2012 23:43 IST
Nivedita Khandekar

It is the only structure from Babur's era in Delhi and is among the 174 monuments protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in the Capital.

The 16th century structure is an ancient mosque at Palam village and lies in a congested urbanised village. As per an inscription in mixed Arabic and Persian on one of the three arches in the mosque, Ghazanfar built this mosque in 1528-29 during Babur's reign. The dome went missing during the Partition, local residents said. And over the years, the mosque itself has changed drastically (see box).

"None of the ASI officials come here. We have been living here for decades and carried out the additions with donation," said a person, who did not wish to be identified. The ASI's answer was that the mosque has "lost its antiquity value".

Another structure facing a similar situation is the tomb of Razia Sultan. Squeezed between modern buildings, the tomb of Razia (AD 1211-36), the only woman to have ruled Delhi's throne, can be reached by navigating a narrow lane in Bulbuli Khana mohalla near Turkman Gate.

But nothing can be worse than the fate of Jogabai mound on the banks of the Yamuna. Jamia's Zakir Nagar and Batla House colonies are located right on top of the mound, which had archaeological remains under it.

The question that comes to the mind is that why isn't the ASI de-notifying these monuments and removing from the list of protected monuments if they have lost their "antiquity value"?

The proposal for de-notification has to go from the circle office. "Our proposal for de-notifying Jogabai Mound is already pending," said DN Dimri, head of ASI's Delhi circle. "But we have not considered anything about Palam Mosque or Tomb of Razia Sultan."

"De-notification becomes an administrative necessity to re-strategise protection policies. The very fact that these have undergone so much of change means the ASI is not protecting them" said conservation architect AGK Menon.