Ghalib’s mazar to come alive again with mushairas

More than a hundred years after Mirza Ghalib's death, the Mazar-e-Ghalib in Nizamuddin Basti is set to throw open its courtyards for mushairas once again.

Following extensive landscaping and conservation work by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), Ghalib's tomb and its courtyard enclosure have now been restored to their historic splendour with hand-carved stone lattice screens, marble inlay and hand-chiselled sandstone paving.

As part of the Aga Khan Development Network led Humayun's Tomb-Sunder Nursery-Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti Urban Renewal project, Ghalib's Tomb and the adjoining Chausath Khamba, both Centrally-protected monuments, were given a facelift.

"Hand-carved stone lattice screens have replaced iron fencing, municipal in appearance, to separate Ghalib's grave from the busy street it stands upon. The courtyard is now an ideal place to hold mushairas; we plan to hold them here so that words that continue to live centuries after the poet's death can be read where he rests," said Ratish Nanda, project director, AKTC.

"The Chausath Khamba has also been landscaped to create a space in the crowded Nizamuddin Basti for qawwali performances. Space so created will allow community gathering."

The restoration work on the tombs began early last year. "The Municipal Corporation of Delhi is now planning a major street improvement scheme to further enhance the setting of Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti, which houses one of the densest ensembles of medieval Islamic buildings in the country," Nanda said.

Under the project, the Municipal Corporation Co-Ed Pratibha Vidyalaya in Nizamuddin Basti has been revamped too. The building has been given an educative look with interventions by a multi-disciplinary team from the school to support the faculty, students and youth from the basti.

AKTC officials said the efforts have led to an increase in enrollment by over 50 per cent within one year; the school now has 425 students from the basti on its rolls.

Vice President Hamid Ansari, who visited the tombs and the school on Tuesday, said, "I had attended the first meeting when the idea of conserving the tomb was conceived and I am glad to see the work done here. It is commendable and quite in keeping with AKTC's work across the world. The MCD school has changed the image of a municipal school. If you work with the community, the community works with you. Delhi is a big city and we need more such schools."

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