Delhi was once a paradise,
Where Love held sway and reigned;
But its charm lies ravished now
And only ruins remain. But things cannot remain,O Zafar,
Thus for who can tell?
Through God’s great mercy and the Prophet All may yet be well….
this is what great poet and last Mughal Emperor wrote about Delhi…!!
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. Whatremains 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.