Delhiwale: A Ram temple in Mianwali | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Delhiwale: A Ram temple in Mianwali

ByMayank Austen Soofi
Oct 23, 2021 12:27 AM IST

Walking in a neighbourhood permeated with history

The Ram Mandir has three shikhar, or spires. Each spire is topped with a series of kalash, the filial. Scores of sculpted pigeons are installed (see photo) in almost every landing spot along the surface of these spires. The 1pm breeze is making these motionless birds look helpless, as if they were imprisoned in invisible cages and couldn’t fly. The birds appear to be of grey stone. Suddenly, these dozens of sculptures stir together in a synchronised movement, and fly into the air.

Walking along its lanes is suspenseful for the history-minded.
Walking along its lanes is suspenseful for the history-minded.

The birds are real.

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Just to cherish this sight is a good reason to come all the way to Mianwali. No, not the town in the Punjab of Pakistan but the township in the Gurugram of Haryana. The cool October is the most idyllic time to aimlessly wander about this cosy habitat.

Mianwali Colony is said to have got its name owing to a large number of people here who were obliged to leave their hometown of Mianwali as refugees during the partition. Walking along its lanes is suspenseful for the history-minded. Are there still people living here who lived through Partition? You’ll have to knock on every gate to find that out, but Mianwali Colony for sure continues to be the address of at least one woman with vivid memories of her pre-partition youth—the spirited Meera Sachdeva, 94, has already been profiled on these pages.

There is no knowing to what extent Gurugram’s Mianwali resembles its original namesake. This afternoon the place is as calmly as dry fallen leaves lazily drifting along the footpath. In this peaceful world of double-storeyed bungalows, the balconies and porches are inadvertently staging scenes of quotidian domesticity. A pair of blue salwar kurta is hanging on a wash-line, three pickle jars are lined up on a window sill, a white-haired couple are sitting face-to-face with newspapers and chai, a man is engaged with a subzi walla, a woman is holding a jhadoo in one hand and a mobile phone in another. These sights are accompanied by unrelated sounds. A laughter emanates out from one of the houses, a pressure cooker whistle from another. And is that a mobile phone tune, or someone is playing Mozart on a piano? The locality’s primary music, however, is of the twittering of birds.

The alternative to walking the lanes is to sit in the neighbourhood’s park, just beside the Ram Mandir. A woman is knitting socks on a bench. A couple of kids are playing about a dinosaur-shaped slide.

Meanwhile, one wonders how this same afternoon must be unfolding in the other Mianwali, in Pakistan. To which Ram Mandir do the pigeons there go to when they are tired of flying?

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