Is it fast losing its spiritual essence?

A young couple brings their hired autorickshaw to a halt near the Mathura Road roundabout and is immediately approached by half-a-dozen beggars pleading for money and food. Unnerved, the couple walk on only to be shouted at boorishly by men asking them to feed the poor. A few steps away, shop owners do the same asking them to take off their footwear.

These are the scenes one can expect to witness while visiting the Nizamuddin Dargah, a centuries old mausoleum of one of the world’s most famous Sufi saints, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. While the shrine continues to be a centrifugal point for Sufism, the entire area seems to be becoming a hotbed of chaos. At least according to the residents and visitors, who only wished to reminisce the days when the shrine’s environ was at its best.

Syed Naem Nizami, one of the incharges of the Dargah claimed to be the 38th generation of his family who have taken care of Nizamuddin. He said that the current climate surrounding the shrine is a result of neglect by authorities as well as the influx of ‘migrants’. 

“The Nizamuddin locality is a proper ghetto and areas such as these are marred with criminal activities. Unfortunately, what happens beyond the boundaries of the Dargah affects everything inside. Visitors have to be cautious and often are disturbed by varied reasons. This should not happen in a place where you come to find peace,” Nizami said.

But according to Sara Hasan, an activist working to educate the children in the same area, it’s not only the authorities or governments that need to be held accountable for the current state of the Dargah which includes the social life of those who live in the neighbourhood.
“It is claimed that all the money that comes to the shrine as donations is used for the maintenance of the Dargah area and rest goes to community service. However, a majority of kids in the neighbourhood lack basic education and health facilities. These families who are part of the larger beggar nexus, survive on these alms, their lives have fallen prey to drug addiction, but also the roads leading upto the Dargah have become ‘pick up point’s for drug users.”
Local police stationed in the area deny outright the accusations of drug peddling. “The area is a religious place and all sorts of people come here to pay their respects. There is a lot of crowd, especially on Thursdays and Sundays and chances of crime increases but we have everything in control here,” said a local police officer.
This when a suspected drug peddler, on the same road where the cops were on duty, approached Metrolife team twice in a span of  15 minutes in a bid to sell drugs!  

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