The legacy of Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib got a permanent niche in the capital with the inauguration of a showcase of memorabilia connected to the poet and his work at his house in old Delhi to coincide with his 214thbirth anniversary Tuesday.
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit inaugurated the exhibition at Ghalib's restored "haveli" at Gali Qasim Jaan near Ballimaran, one of the alleys of Chandni Chowk, in the old city.
An august gathering of poets, writers and fans of Mirza Ghalib, led by Dikshit, Tuesday marched from the Town Hall to Ballimaran where the chief minister unveiled the Ghalib collection.
The participants included poet Gulzar, author and diplomat Pavan K. Varma, Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan, a musician from the Delhi Gharana, musicians and several leading artists.
Ghalib, born in Agra in 1797, stayed at the house in the last years of life between 1856 to 1869.
The permanent exhibition, a collaboration between the Ghalib Memorial Movement, Indian Council for Cultural Relations, the Delhi government and the India Islamic Cultural Centre, coincided with a three-day cultural fest "Yaadgar-e-Ghalib" Dec 26-28.
The celebrations began with a mushaira Dec 26. On Dec 28, the Peirrots Troupe will present "Ghalib in New Delhi", a comic Urdu play at the India Islamic Centre.
"The highlight of this year's celebrations is the remarkable transformation of Ghalib's haveli with a new permanent exhibition," ICCR director general Suresh Goel said.
"The objective was to make the haveli an important marker on the heritage tourism trail," he said.
"Special care was taken to put together historic letters and other memorabilia of the legendary poet," said Uma Sharma, founder of the Ghalib Memorial Movement.
Last year, the chief minister had installed a bust of Mirza Ghalib, sculpted by Ram Sutar, at the haveli.