Press Esc to close
Sunday 25 June 2017
News updated at 8:58 AM IST

Celebrating Nizamuddin

Baishali Adak, Dec 5, 2012 23:15 IST
identity The Nizamuddin area hosted an Apni Basti Mela.

It was neither Eid nor Urs, but Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s abode in Delhi came alive in all its cultural magnificence for the yearly ‘Apni Basti Mela.’

Three years ago, at the completion of the restoration work of Humayun’s tomb, PM Manmohan Singh called for a Public-Private partnership to preserve the architectural heritage of the Nizamuddin area.

Aga Khan Trust, which had been a part of the former project, got roped in for this initiative too. Working on preservation of monuments here, the Trust realised that the locals are the ultimate caretakers of their heritage, and therefore, they must learn to value their history and identity as Nizamuddin Basti residents. Hence began the annual ‘Apni Basti Mela’ which saw its super successful third edition recently.

Archana Saad Akhtar, of Aga Khan Trust says, “Nizamuddin boasts of maximum number of medieval Islamic buildings in Delhi – at least 50 mosques, shrines, step-wells, gardens etc. Besides, it has been the birthplace of several cultural traditions in music, poetry, food, crafts and rituals. Yet today, we see Nizamuddin lost in the cosmopolitan environ of New Delhi.”

“Perceptions regarding this religion have also led to a ghetto mindset in the residents. To encourage residents of Nizamuddin and educate outsiders about its cultural richness, we have been hosting ‘Apni Basti Mela’ every year. We are glad that it is flowering into a thriving cultural festival now.”

Inaugurated by the Lt. Governor, the fest, this year included theatre, street plays, puppetry shows, film screenings, magic shows and qawwali performances at the iconic Chaunsath Khamba and Ghalib Academy. Besides, there were monument conservation workshops, Sufi walks and Nizamuddin walks too, conducted by youth of the area themselves.

The main attraction, though, remained the ‘Mela’ at the MCD park, which allowed residents to showcase their traditional work. Women sold diaries, cards, lamps, stoles etc. embroidered in the ‘Jali pattern’ usually seen in Islamic buildings. Then there were designs similar to the famous Aari work and resembling tile work seen at the Atgah Khan tomb.

Men held stalls of Itr (non-alcoholic perfume), wooden bangles and leather socks (used by Muslims during Wazoo) – all of these are made in Nizamuddin traditionally. Then there were health camps, sanitation awareness stalls, children’s books stalls etc. where a number of burqa clad women and children queued up.

As Mohammad Umer, a local and young project member said, “The Nizamuddin Urban Renewal Initiative has changed our lives. Earlier, we used to feel sort of isolated, the area looked unclean and the general morale was down. Thanks to the sanitation and development drives in this project, we have found a new confidence in being residents of Nizamuddin.”

Another local Reshma Parveen adds, “In our community, women are generally not allowed to travel far and wide for work purposes, but this project has provided us local employment through embroidery work. It has made us believe that we can do so much for the society. We only need to open our eyes to the larger world.”

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa speak...

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa speak...

Shiv Sena workers protest against and torch the photos of separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq...

Shiv Sena workers protest against and torch the photos of separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq...

Police escort escaped prisoner Sayed Mohammed Said from India folowing his capture and return...

Police escort escaped prisoner Sayed Mohammed Said from India folowing his capture and return...

People revel in, and birds flock fly about the high tide at the Marine drive, in Mumbai on...

People revel in, and birds flock fly about the high tide at the Marine drive, in Mumbai on...

Hindu devotees give money to a decorated elephant outside the Jagannath temple on the eve of the...

Hindu devotees give money to a decorated elephant outside the Jagannath temple on the eve of the...

Demonstrators walk behind a police officer during an anti-fascist march, in central, London...

Demonstrators walk behind a police officer during an anti-fascist march, in central, London...

A burning stunt man can be seen during a press viewing of the Stoertebeker Festival on the...

A burning stunt man can be seen during a press viewing of the Stoertebeker Festival on the...

A Dassault Rafale fighter takes part to a flying display during the 52nd Paris Air Show at...

A Dassault Rafale fighter takes part to a flying display during the 52nd Paris Air Show at...

Jools Holland performs on the Pyramid Stage at Worthy Farm in Somerset during the Glastonbury...

Jools Holland performs on the Pyramid Stage at Worthy Farm in Somerset during the Glastonbury...

People move around themselves fire's torch during the San Juan night in the small Pyrenees...

People move around themselves fire's torch during the San Juan night in the small Pyrenees...

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523
Powered by Yodasoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.