Tweets highlight run-down state of Delhi’s Begumpuri Masjid

BySadia Akhtar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Sep 15, 2021 03:20 AM IST

On Monday evening, historian William Dalrymple shared a photo of the mosque and said that the mosque’s roof had collapsed due to the rain

Aam Aadmi Party’s Malviya Nagar MLA Somnath Bharti on Tuesday sought help from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and union tourism minister Kishan Reddy to restore the area’s Begumpuri Masjid to its original state after its deteriorating condition was highlighted on Twitter by several people.

A view of the damaged Begumpur mosque complex at Malviya Nagar in New Delhi (Amal K S/HT Photo)
A view of the damaged Begumpur mosque complex at Malviya Nagar in New Delhi (Amal K S/HT Photo)

“Thanks for bringing this to my notice. Being area MLA, I seek a response and help from you on this issue. Hope they do whatever is required to bring the monument to its original shape and develop this as tourist place,” tweeted Bharti on Tuesday, tagging the Twitter accounts of ASI, the tourism minister, the secretary of the ministry of culture, and historian William Dalrymple.

On Monday evening, Dalrymple had shared a photo of the mosque on Twitter and said that the mosque’s roof had collapsed due to the rain. “The roof of the Begumpur Masjid just collapsed in the rain due to ASI neglect. With better management, this vast medieval wonder could still be a major revenue-earning tourist site. Instead, it’s being allowed to collapse & disappear,” he tweeted.

On Tuesday, when HT visited the mosque, routine repair works were being carried out at the building. There were huge stones and debris in two corners of the mosque where portions of the roof collapsed. ASI officials and security guards at the mosque said that the roof had collapsed a few years ago and debris had accumulated on account of recent construction activity. HT could not independently verify whether the roof had collapsed recently. “In the past few weeks or months, no portion of the roof was damaged. The roof collapsed much earlier. There is debris since we are cleaning the water channel here. Water collects here and hence repair work is being undertaken,” said an ASI official on the premises.

Another ASI official, who did not wish to be named, said that the roof had collapsed in 2019 and no recent damage had taken place during the monsoon season. “The roof collapsed in 2019. During this rainy season, so far, no portion of the roof has been damaged. The debris on location is due to the ongoing construction work. We are cleaning a drain on the mosque premises to facilitate the flow of water,” said the official.

He said that repair work on the mosque was being carried out since 2019. “Due to the pandemic, the work has been disrupted but we are constantly carrying out repair work here. We are trying our best to repair the mosque and fix it,” said the official.

Historian and author Rana Safvi who visited the mosque recently said that it needed attention. “This is the second largest mosque in Delhi after Jama Masjid. The courtyard is in a bad shape. It’s covered by overgrown grass. During my recent visit, I also saw some waterlogging,” said Safvi.

Built during the 14th century, the mosque is said to be among seven renowned ones built by Feroz Shah Tughlaq’s prime minister Khan-i-Jahan-Junan Shah.In 2017, the ministry of culture designated the mosque as a monument of national importance.


    Sadia Akhtar is a reporter at Hindustan Times where she covers education, heritage, and a range of feature stories. She also writes about refugee communities and tracks stories at the intersection of gender and social justice. Before joining HT's Delhi team, she reported from Gurugram and Mewat where she tracked politics, education, and heritage.

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