Shaheen Bagh living up to its name, says man who christened the colony
Shariq Ansarullah, 61, said he had never expected that a small colony named by him will gain such popularity after 36 years. “I am glad it’s living up to its name. The courage of the people of Shaheen Bagh is matching with that of the falcons.”Updated: Jan 24, 2020 10:21 IST
A poem written as a clarion call to youngsters to rise and achieve their objectives like a falcon had inspired the name of Shaheen Bagh, the residents welfare association (RWA) of the area says. Shaheen a Persian word means falcon. The area is in international spotlight these days for a protest sit-in against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). The protest has entered in its day 39 on Thursday.
Shariq Ansarullah, 61 — the man who bought the 80 bigha land in Jasola village in 1984, where the colony first came up — said he chose the name of the area from a famous poem of Allama Iqbal, who also wrote ‘sarey jahan se acha’.
In his nazm, ‘Sitaron se aage jahan aur bhi hain’, part of a collection of philosophical poetry named Bal-e-Jibril that was published in 1935, Iqbal had written: “Tu Shaheen hai, parwaz hai kaam tera, tere samne asman aur bhi hain (You are a falcon, your task is to fly; before you there are other skies as well to cover).
Iqbal had used the word “Shaheen” (falcon) in many of his ghazals and poems written to inspire the youth in pre-independence era.
Ansarullah, who had come from Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur to study at Jamia Millia Islamia in 1979, said that he and his family had bought an 80 bigha land in Jasola Village in 1984. “After completing my graduation, I had joined MA in Arabic at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in 1982. I started a real estate business after completing my studies in 1984. With the help of my family, I bought a large plot of land in Jasola village and developed this colony. After due consideration, I decided to name this colony Shaheen Bagh,” he said.
According to Ansarullah, who now runs two schools known as Shaheen Public Schools — one for girls and another for boys--- in the neighbourhood, the name Shaheen was derived from Mohammad Iqbal’s couplet. “I was very inspired by Iqbal’s poetry. His couplet “Tu Shaheen hai, parwaz hai kaam tera, tere samne asman aur bhi hain” inspired me a lot. I then named my small colony as Shaheen Bagh,” he said.
Mohammad Monis, who was the treasurer of Shaheen Bagh RWA in 1992, said initially the colony was developed by two persons. “Before Shariq Ansarullah there was another family that was developing residential neighbourhoods in this area. While they named the colony developed on their plot as Nishat Bagh, Ansarullah named his colony Shaheen Bagh,” he said.
Shaheen Bagh and Nishat Bagh have come up on agricultural land. In May 1992, the RWA had decided to register the neighbourhood as a society with the DDA. We passed a resolution to name it after Abul Fazl Enclave that was already there. But keeping in mind the popularity of the name Shaheen Bagh, we had mentioned it as ‘Abul Fazl Enclave Part -2 (Shaheen Bagh)’ in the papers,” he said.
A retired Delhi government teacher, Parvez Akhtar, who was the general sectary of Shaheen Bagh RWA at that time, said the name had become very popular because of its mass appeal. “Shaheen is a very common name among Muslims. It had become so popular that even after registering as Abul Fazl Enclave Part-2, no one called the colony with that name.”
Parvez Hashmi, Congress’ candidate from Okhla in the February 8 Delhi assembly elections and four-time MLA from the seat, said Shaheen Bagh’s came up around 1984-85. “Although I am not aware of the origin of the name of Shaheen Bagh, I have seen these small colonies growing into large settlements,” he said.
Ansarullah said he had never expected that a small colony named by him will gain such popularity after 36 years. “I am glad it’s living up to its name. The courage of the people of Shaheen Bagh is matching with that of the falcons.”