The Markaz’s grey building stands near the entrance, very close to the famous Karim’s restaurant, and a few steps away from a great literary landmark: poet Mirza Ghalib’s grave.(Mayank Austen Soofi)
The Markaz’s grey building stands near the entrance, very close to the famous Karim’s restaurant, and a few steps away from a great literary landmark: poet Mirza Ghalib’s grave.(Mayank Austen Soofi)

A peek inside the Tablighi Jamaat Markaz

Sometimes though, in this silence, footsteps are heard — those of men walking in small groups, each holding a bundle under their arm or on the head.
By Mayank Austen Soofi | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON APR 03, 2020 11:05 AM IST

Most nights, the main avenue of Delhi’s tony Nizamuddin East is as silent as a grave. There is no traffic except for an occasional car, a “Niz East” dweller probably returning to his or her elegant apartment. The 17th-century tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana remains shrouded in darkness.

Sometimes though, in this silence, footsteps are heard — those of men walking in small groups, each holding a bundle under their arm or on the head. They are the Jamatis, members of the Tablighi Jamaat, on their way from the Nizamuddin railway station to the Markaz, the organisation’s headquarters. It is located across Mathura Road, next to the equally upscale Nizamuddin West, in the congested and not-upscale-at-all Nizamuddin Basti.

Click here for the complete coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic

This village takes its name from the shrine of Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, which lies deep in the heart of the basti. The Markaz’s grey building stands near the entrance, very close to the famous Karim’s restaurant, and a few steps away from a great literary landmark: poet Mirza Ghalib’s grave.

 Watch | Tablighi Jamaat members accused of misbehaving with nurses in Ghaziabad

The front facade of the six-storey building is studded with long arch-shaped windows that look strangely similar to traditionally built windows seen in the bylanes of distant Venice – currently ravaged by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), another thing it has in common with the Markaz building that has emerged as India’s biggest Covid-19 hot spot so far.

Social activist Faisal Khan, convener of Khudai Khidtmatgar welfare organisation, spends a couple of days every year inside the Markaz, in the month of Ramzan, for “peace and meditation”. Talking on the phone from his office in south Delhi’s Ghaffar Manzil, he gives an idea of the interiors of the Markaz complex. “The entrance hall is littered with hundreds of chappals that spill far out into the street. It’s a miracle that every Jamati finds his own sandals from that great pile.”

Khan says that each floor in the Markaz has the same layout — a spacious hall lined with small rooms, each being the temporary dwelling of some learned elderly person to whom younger Jamatis might go for counsel. Most residents (some might stay for a week, others for just a weekend) would, however, settle with their backpacks and beddings in the big halls, sleeping at night on the floor. Sermons will be held in the mosque at different times of the day. An average day in the Markaz, Khan says, “is about performing prayers and listening to maulanas about how to be a good Muslim”.

The eating arrangement, he says, “is just like the langars held in Sikh gurdwaras.” Simple meals such as dal and chawal are prepared communally, and served in a basement hall, he reports. In the evening, the Jamatis can be seen milling around in the basti. The Tablighi centre attracts visitors from countries such as the UK, the US, Germany, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Sudan and South Africa. A mere walk in the lanes of the Basti might take you to different corners of the world, as you are likely to overhear conversations in British-accented English, Chinese, French, or Arabic. Until a few years ago, the area had a popular telephone booth advertising special call rates for places such as Yemen and Morocco.

Almost all the Jamatis are men. One evening, just a few days before the lockdown, this reporter spotted a few young Jamatis huddled in a small park not far from the Markaz. Some of these boys were exercising on the fitness equipment installed in the park. One man in a loose shalwar kameez was shyly working out on the chest press machine; two were sitting at the two ends of a see-saw.

The “open gym” remained crowded for a long time, and then the boys walked back towards the Markaz.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Topics
Close
Analysts say Indo-French naval cooperation will further deepen when French navy ships pay a visit to Kochi port in March. Photo courtesy: French ministry of armed forces(Photo courtesy: French ministry of armed forces)
Analysts say Indo-French naval cooperation will further deepen when French navy ships pay a visit to Kochi port in March. Photo courtesy: French ministry of armed forces(Photo courtesy: French ministry of armed forces)

Quad, France and UAE join hands in 2 naval exercises to dominate Indo-Pacific

By Shishir Gupta, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 07:00 AM IST
  • French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and finance minister Bruno Le Maire will be in Delhi next month while IAF chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria will be in France. At least 8 Rafale fighters will leave for India through mid-air refuelling by UAE between April 19 and April 23.
Close
Immigrants walk across the Gateway International Bridge into Mexico after being sent out of Texas by US. (AFP)
Immigrants walk across the Gateway International Bridge into Mexico after being sent out of Texas by US. (AFP)

Undocumented Indian immigrants hold USD15.5 billion in spending power

PTI, Washington
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 05:48 AM IST
There are 4.2 million immigrants from Mexico who lack documentation. Together, they make up more than 40.8 percent of the 10.3 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
Close
Chief principal secretary to the CM, K Kailashnathan, respectively, to oversee the re-development of the iconic Sabarmati Ashram and its precincts.(AP/Ajit Solanki)
Chief principal secretary to the CM, K Kailashnathan, respectively, to oversee the re-development of the iconic Sabarmati Ashram and its precincts.(AP/Ajit Solanki)

Gujarat CM, his aide in charge of Gandhi ashram revamp panel

By Darshan Desai, Ahmedabad
UPDATED ON MAR 09, 2021 06:26 AM IST
  • The order also said that Kailashnathan will head an executive council set up for the purpose,
Close
Addressing all the national officials of the Youth Congress, Rahul Gandhi hailed the workers as the “real power” of the party(ANI Photo)
Addressing all the national officials of the Youth Congress, Rahul Gandhi hailed the workers as the “real power” of the party(ANI Photo)

Help raise voice of the weak: Rahul to cadres

By Saubhadra Chatterji, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 04:57 AM IST
  • Congress is like an ocean, Gandhi said in the national executive meeting of the IYC, and if anyone wants to return can be allowed to do so.
Close
Narendra Modi.(PTI)
Narendra Modi.(PTI)

PM to visit Bangladesh on March 26

By Shishir Gupta, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 09, 2021 06:27 AM IST
  • The two-day trip to Dhaka will be Modi’s first foreign visit in 15 months
Close
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla conducts proceedings during the second part of the Budget session on Monday. PTI
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla conducts proceedings during the second part of the Budget session on Monday. PTI

Rising fuel prices rock Parliament

By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 04:29 AM IST
  • Parties urge Speaker, Chairman to reduce sessions amid polls; both Houses to begin at 11 am from Tuesday
Close
Policemen outside the house in Batla House where inspector Mohan Chand Shama was killed during a shootout. HT Archive
Policemen outside the house in Batla House where inspector Mohan Chand Shama was killed during a shootout. HT Archive

Batla House: Ariz Khan held guilty of killing inspector

By Richa Banka, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 03:26 AM IST
  • Additional sessions judge Sandeep Yadav convicted 35-year-old Khan, also known as Junaid, Salim and Anna
Close
Farm subsidies worth thousands of crores — including cheap insurance, fertilisers, credit and income transfers — still suffer from leakages because very little information about individual farmers is centrally available.(Bloomberg file photo)
Farm subsidies worth thousands of crores — including cheap insurance, fertilisers, credit and income transfers — still suffer from leakages because very little information about individual farmers is centrally available.(Bloomberg file photo)

Govt building ‘agri stack’ to give unique ID to every Indian farmer

By Zia Haq, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 09, 2021 05:43 AM IST
  • The database uses Aadhaar-based data generated from key farm sector programmes such as PM-KISAN.
Close
Passengers queue to get their documents verified before entering the IGI Airport amid the lockdown in New Delhi on May 30, 2020.(Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)
Passengers queue to get their documents verified before entering the IGI Airport amid the lockdown in New Delhi on May 30, 2020.(Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)

Prominent warnings at IGI against carrying bullets soon

By Anvit Srivastava, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 09, 2021 06:48 AM IST
  • Police data shows that some of the 522 passengers nabbed in last 5 years while carrying live bullets in their bags claimed they had done so unknowingly
Close
The Act mandates all private establishments in Haryana to provide 75% of new jobs to local candidates.(Representational photo)
The Act mandates all private establishments in Haryana to provide 75% of new jobs to local candidates.(Representational photo)

Is the Haryana Act legal?

By Utkarsh Anand, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 09, 2021 02:23 AM IST
  • Private firms will likely claim that the law interferes with their constitutional rights to carry on trade freely
Close
The apex court has agreed to re-examine the 50% ceiling on reservations in India while hearing a case on the validity of 10% separate reservations for Marathas(Amal KS/HT PHOTO)
The apex court has agreed to re-examine the 50% ceiling on reservations in India while hearing a case on the validity of 10% separate reservations for Marathas(Amal KS/HT PHOTO)

Why reservation may fail in levelling the field

By Roshan Kishore, Abhishek Jha
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 01:58 AM IST
  • From SC-ST social groups, reservations have expanded to OBCs, economically weaker sections
Close
Rohingyas at Kiryani Talab in Jammu on Monday (HT Photo)
Rohingyas at Kiryani Talab in Jammu on Monday (HT Photo)

Fearing expulsion, Rohingyas in Jammu plead for protection

UPDATED ON MAR 09, 2021 05:04 AM IST
Over the weekend, police rounded up the 169 people from the city and took them to the Hiranagar jail detention centre
Close
The recovery in GST collections reflects the larger revival in the economy.(PTI)
The recovery in GST collections reflects the larger revival in the economy.(PTI)

Record GST collections expected in March, set to hit 1.30 lakh crore

By Rajeev Jayaswal, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 09, 2021 05:37 AM IST
  • The revenue in March may cross the record Rs.1,19,875 crore collected in January by at least Rs.10,000 crore.
Close
DU officials said that Tyagi was the first V-C in the university’s 100-year history to be suspended.(HT file)
DU officials said that Tyagi was the first V-C in the university’s 100-year history to be suspended.(HT file)

Report on probe against DU V-C Tyagi likely today

By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 01:18 AM IST
  • Officials said that an inquiry committee, constituted by the Visitor of Delhi University (DU), the President of India, held its final meeting.
Close
Home minister Narottam Mishra tabled the bill in the legislative assembly.(PTI)
Home minister Narottam Mishra tabled the bill in the legislative assembly.(PTI)

MP assembly nod to anti-conversion bill

By Shruti Tomar, Bhopal
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 01:13 AM IST
  • BJP MLAs supported the bill and called it a gift for women on the occasion of Women’s Day
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP