Viewing the Emergent City and Its People

Delhi, Where Shall I Find You?

From [polis]

I walked through the bustling gullies of old Delhi, from Chandni Chowk to Jama Masjid and then to Ballimaran. This area was part of the walled city of Shahjahanabad founded by the Mughal emperor Shahjahan, who built the Taj Mahal. The city was a symbol of Mughal cultural and architectural wealth. In 1857, during the first armed revolution against British rule, soldiers destroyed 80 percent of the palaces here.

Today, the area is crowded with rickshaw pullers, kebab sellers, biryani makers, goats and a few cows. The dynasties are gone; the nobility has vanished. What remains are dilapidated buildings, and dangling serpentine electric cables.

Among the poets and artists that the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, assembled at his court was the great Urdu and Persian poet Mirza Ghalib. In a letter to a friend in 1861, Ghalib wrote:
The city has become a desert… by God, Delhi is no more a city, but a camp, a cantonment… No fort, no city, no bazaars, no watercourses… Four things kept Delhi alive – the fort, the daily crowds at the Jama Masjid, the weekly walk to the Yamuna Bridge, and the yearly fair of the flower-sellers. None of these survives, so how could Delhi survive? Yes there used to be a city of this name in the land of Hindustan.

I intruded into the fallen minarets, libraries and palaces of a bygone era, asking myself: Delhi, where shall I find you?

Aslam Saiyad is an animation instructor and freelance photographer from Mumbai, India. He also volunteers for the Borderless World Foundation, a non-profit organization that works with children in conflict areas.

Credits: All photos by Aslam Saiyad

Advertisements

One response

  1. We have been wimp-dified by our society. Russia also called for an
    inquiry into an alleged massacre that took place in the village of Tramseh on Thursday.
    I’m a rookie railer and I started learning Node.js and its main frameworks (Express, Backbone, Jade, Stylus…) this January and
    I already feel more productive and confident than I currently am
    with rails (several months ahead in studying / playing with).
    And if you take the time to look around the internet, you will see that Ms.
    Barthélemy St.

    08/04/2013 at 8:53 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s