Cities

घुमक्कड़ की दिल्ली : हवेली मिर्ज़ा ग़ालिब

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ग़ालिब के रहते इस हवेली की असल पैमाइश तकरीबन 400 स्क्वायर यार्ड्स (square yards) थी. नाजायज कब्जों की वजह से इस हवेली के अंदर और चारों ओर दुकानों और दूसरे कारोबारी इस्तेमाल के चलते हवेली ने अपना वज़ूद लगभग खो-सा दिया. साल 1999 में दिल्ली सरकार ने इस हवेली के कुछ हिस्से को नाज़ायज़ कब्जों से छुड़ाकर इसे फिर से पुराने रंग-रूप में लाने की कोशिश की. और इस तरह ग़ालिब की हवेली “ग़ालिब स्मारक” के तौर पर वज़ूद में आयी.

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A Brave Queen: Rani Durgawati (Jabalpur, M.P.)

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As it happens, when God takes away something, it gives something to bank upon. The queen also had some of the most trustworthy lieutenants to manage the affairs of the kingdom. I also found an old temple of Mata Sharda near the fort. In fact, it was situated just at the base of the hill. Somehow, I thought that Goddess Sharda gave immense strength to our queen to take up the responsibility while re-building her own life with the growth of her son, who was known as “Veer Narayan”. Due to safety reasons, the queen had also shifted her base to Chauragarh.

Five more years passed under the rule of queen bringing a sense of normalcy in the kingdom. Then, the destiny struck again in 1556 AD, the independent sultan of Malwa (Present day Mandu) crossed the distance of 650 kilometres and attacked the Queen thinking that he would not be met with any resistance. But, he was proved wrong. Even though, our queen was fighting her first battle, she came out victorious. Baz Bahadur had to run away for his life.

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Hornbill Festival –The Liveliest Festival of India, Day Two

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There we saw nothing like individual performances and all the tribes were dancing in a group. In every performance group of artists in colourful costumes began dancing slowly, made circles or some geometrical formations, gradually raised the tempo with steps and on reaching the climax, tempo was brought down again with a satisfying finale.

The tribes of Mizoram entered into the arena with their most popular Bamboo Dance. In that format of dance bamboos were placed and held horizontally across each other on the ground. While the boys tapped bamboos in rhythmic beats girls were dancing by stepping alternatively in and out to the beats with ease and grace.

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An example of determination: Pisanhari ki Marhiya (Jabalpur)

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The competition gradually became tougher and louder till there was a total din. Amidst the chaos, looking at the prospects of not being able to find a clear-cut winner, the challenge-competition was halted in the middle. In that interlude it was the perfect time for telling the story of an old woman, who lived alone in a hut at Jabalpur about 650 years ago.

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A temple in Nation’s defence: Pat Baba (Jabalpur)

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Next morning, when his men would have assembled to start the construction again, Colonel Smith shared his dream with them. In their collective despair arising from unsuccessful attempts at building the factory, they would have decided take a chance with the dream and started to dig out the ground to retrieve the idol. I have no idea how they would have searched and found the exact place for digging. Either they would have tried at different places all over the premises or would have taken the help of some wise men who could sense the presence of any heavy object beneath the ground.

Next few days, the construction of the factory was stopped. Instead there were hectic activities in search of the idol. Finally, after a massive search and digging below the ground, the idol of Lord Hanuman was found. It must be a joyous moment not only for all the workers but also for the officers, especially Colonel Smith. He must have run to the site from his tent to see the last stages of the recovery of the idol. He must not have believed his eyes on what he would have seen. The dream that he saw was becoming a reality. Standing in front of the trench, he would have gone through the plethora of emotions ranging from disbelief to happiness and further to extreme sense of faith.

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थोल बर्ड सैंक्चुअरी की औचक यात्रा

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हमने लेक के किनारे बने पैदल पथ पर यात्रा शुरू की | मौसम सुहावना हो चला था और हलकी हलकी बयार् बह रही थी जिसने माहौल को खुशनुमा बना दिया था | इतने बड़ी झील को देखकर सुकून महसूस हुआ और ऐसा लगा की मै पहले यहाँ क्यूँ नहीं आया ? हम रास्ते से नीचे उतरकर झील के किनारे तक गये और वहां बैठकर सुबह की बनाई थेर्मोफ्लास्क में रखी गरम चाय (जो अभी तक पर्याप्त गरम थी) का आनंद लिया |

किनारे हमने एक घंटे बिठाये और जीवन के विभिन्न पहलुओं पर चर्चा की | कुछ समय तक शांत बैठकर सबने स्वतः बात चीत बंद कर दी और दूर तक फैले झील और उड़ते पक्षियों को देखते रहे |फिर हम वापस किनारे के रस्ते पर आ बर्ड वाच पॉइंट की ओर बढे | रास्ते में एक मैन-मेड वृक्ष आकार का पॉइंट मिला जिस पर जाने के लिए बच्चे उतावले हो गये | और अभिलाषा जल्दी से जाकर ऊपर चढ़ गई |

रास्ते के किनारे उगे कई नीम के पेड़ में से सबसे आसान पेड़ पर मैंने चढाई का प्लान बनाया ताकि अपनी बचपन की कहानियों को सिध्ध किया जा सके की मे पेड़ पर चढ़ने में माहिर हूँ | सबके मना करने के बाद भी मे पेड़ की सबसे नीचे डाली पर चढ़ा और रों धोकर अभिलाषा भी आ गई थोड़ी देर में |

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Agahiya: A new Sufi Order at Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh

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In despair, when I came out of the inner sanctum sanctorum, my eyes fell on the outer wall of the main dargah. There were two marble plates fixed on the walls on which the life story of the Shaikh was inscribed. Hazrat was born in Lucknow, in a family that had migrated to India from Iran. His grandfather and father were given the positions of responsibilities in the government of those times and they soon had become part of the elite class of Lucknow. Hazrat was born with a fire of longing in his heart to know almighty and was always searching for knowledge by going to one teacher to another. During such exercise, he came to know about a Sufi Shaikh Shah Maqsus Alam residing in the town of Banda. In the tender age of 13 years, he left the comforts of his home surreptitiously and went to Banda and became the disciple of Shaikh Shah Maqsus Alam. There he acquired spiritual and worldly education. After the demise of the shaikh, he went to Bareilly to become the disciple of Hazrat Tajul-Aulia Shah Nizamuddin Hussain (R.A.). Though later he got married and had children, but his life was totally dedicated to the Sufi ways and traditions. During the first war of Independence, Hazrat Meerja Agah came to Jabalpur. There he established his Sufi tradition called “Agahiya Order” and in 1918 AD, he went for his heavenly abode.\

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A train journey to Sanskardhani (Jabalpur)

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One of the doyens of Hindi Movies, Prem Nath, also belonged to the Sanskardhani. He had once built a cinema hall in the heart of the city, which was named as “Empire Theatre”. From outdoor screening of the film to cinema halls and now to multiplexes, there is a great history of the growth of Indian cinema. But I still carry a fascination with the old cinema halls. So, after coming out of the Jabalpur Station, I went to a crossing where the old building of that Empire Cinema was situated. It was completely in ruins. I felt much attached with the Empire cinema and climbed up the fallen bricks to see it from inside. I was astonished to find that the speakers were still clinging to those walls. In its heydays, that hall must be the cultural hub of the Sanskardhani, graced by the likes of Raj Kapoor, Nargis and Prem Nath.

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My day in Rashtrapati Bhawan

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This is the location where all the functions (India’s prestigious award given to its citizen) take place. This place is called the Darbar Hall, the celebration hall of the Rastrapati Bhawan. The hall was situated just below the Gombuz (Doom), which we see from the long distance.

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Anasagar Lake, Ajmer, Rajasthan

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It was getting dark and it was time to visit the dargah of “Garib Nawaj”, for which the city of Ajmer was famous. We left the car at the municipal parking itself and took a horse-carriage. The coachman helped Tulika and Ruchir to sit at the back of the carriage and I sat with him in the front. The distance from the Anasagar Lake to the Delhi Gate was about 2 kilometers and so I started chatting with the coachman. He introduced himself as a trainer of horses, who in his free time drove the horse carriage in the lanes of Ajmer. He had trained horses for racing, city tours and for working in the oil-mills. He informed me about the difference of syllabus for training of horses for performing different works. His stories opened a new subject of discussion. All of us must have seen different animals performing different tasks in the society. The question was how those animals learn the task and did not commit errors. The coachman, in his matter-of-fact voice, told, “Sir, the way different teachers teach you different subjects in school, there are different teachers who teach different behaviours to animals. In the world of trainers of animals, one who can teach different subjects to animals is very sought after. In the case of Horses, the trainer who teaches them the nuances of racing gets paid handsomely.”

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Soni Ji ki Nasiyan, Ajmer, Rajasthan

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On the second floor, we reached to a beautifully designed corridor. However, the corridor was made dirty due to misuse and by people, who try to immortalize themselves by writing something on the heritage monuments. But from the windows in the corridor, one could see the very beautiful craftsmanship of the Ayodhya nagri and the incidents of the life of Rishabhdev. The entire hall is full of beautiful models of different aspects of the life and teaching of Rishabhdev. The story is about establishing the Ayodhya nagri in Jambudweepa by Lord Indra, when all other worlds were destroyed. In this Ayodhya nagri, Rishabhdev was born.
The Jains literature tells us about the 16 auspicious dreams seen by the mother of Rishabhdev, before the birth of her most exalted son. His birth was very auspicious to his parents and people at large. His abhishek ceremony was held at the Sumeru Mountain. The Gods showered flowers and Kuber showered many riches during the Abhishek ceremony of Rishabhdev.

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Exploring Akbari Fort and Government Museum, Ajmer, Rajasthan

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The first thing that caught my attention was a red-coloured window situated above the front gate of the fort. The moment I saw this window, a historic event of 1615 AD came to my mind. I was trying to visualize the scene when Mr. Thomas Roe, the ambassador of East India Company, was standing on the very place on the ground where I was standing. Mughal sultanate was at the peak of their rule and the East India Company had sent their emissary to seek permission to do business in the Mughal territory in the then princely India. The difference in their status was so huge that the emperor Jahangir gave Mr. Roe an audience from that window above and read out the firman which permitted the East India Company to do business in India. Ironically, in next 230 years, the same company went on to dislodge the Mughals and to establish the British Raj in India. That thought made me cold. I just stood there thinking about the present day permissions being granted to foreign based establishments to do business in our country. I shuddered to think about the possibilities of another foreign domination, if Indian democracy disintegrates in future.

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