CITY OF TWO TALES
By: Gh. Hassan Bhat
India is a kaleidoscopic country having rich and splendid art and architecture. Since, Harrapans or Indus valley civilization, there had been a tremendous development in architectures along with other scientific explorations that witnessed the glorification of not only India but of whole sub continent.
With the advent of Islamic rule in about 1200 AD by Muhammad Ghori (king of Afghanistan) in Dehli, his short lived rule provided Qutb ud- din Aibak (slave of Ghori) an opportunity to rule this vast country .
Qutb –ud- din laid the actual foundation of Dehli Sultanate and built beautiful Qutub Minar , a tower in remembrance of Khawja Qutubudin Buktiyar Kaki. There is also a beautiful Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque in the premises of Qutub Minar with elegant Alia Darwaza and several other fallen entrances or gates. Other important religious monuments made by Delhi sultanate are Arai din ka Jhopra masque etc.
The famous Jamia Masjid, Red Fort in Delhi is also the finest specimen of Mughal architecture which exhibits the full range of grandeur and opulence adding beauty to this country. This marvelous piece of work contributes a lot to make India a great country which attracts outsiders to explore great art and architecture of this country.
But here is a different tale of today’s Delhi. It has become a city of two tales. Most of these great and sacred monuments have lost their importance and have become mere tourist sites. Regretfully, a fallen structure of Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque is longing for its protection from further deterioration to regain beauty. The mosque is screaming for the immodesty and disregard being done there by visitors. We Muslims without knowing the fact only clicking snap shots inside the mosque have forgotten the toil of our rulers who built these religious places so assiduously.
Same is the case with the great Jamia Masjid also known as Masjid-i-Jehan Numa , 2nd largest mosque in the Indian sub- continent in Delhi built by Shah Jahan in 1650 – 56. This masjid is in state of decay, domes have developed cracks through which water seeps presenting a threat to entire mosque. The great domes have lost their mirror like shine. Plaster work on the interior and exterior walls is in decaying condition leaving those famous red stones in danger. Gates are also in bad shape. Pollution around all the mosque and gates of jewel mosque is too paining. The outskirts have become damping sites of garbage and other harmful wastes. Lack of repair, lack of inner and outer beatification has left this great mosque in sorry condition.
Need of the hour is to give same preference and importance to every monument in whole India. These sacred structures need immediate attention for maintenance and beautification which is prime responsibility of Government and concerned Waqf Bords etc. And we cannot rely on Government alone, we as citizens also have a collective moral responsibility to preserve and protect these structures especially all religious monuments without looking for their religious credentials to save the legacy of our ancestors.
Gh. Hassan Bhat is a Teacher,Resource Person of Education Zone Tangmarg he cn be reached at