Delhi My Delhi
Though every human settlement of the world has its own tale, has its own culture, but Delhi is different,it is out of the world. Cities upon cities along with their own story & culture are buried in its soil but their effect still looms large over the Delhi people. Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christians, Anglo-European, Foreigners & Desi visitors and tourist who so ever comes here, even for fewer days, feel the difference. Delhi soil attracts, its gravitational attract fires a different feeling in heart.
Zauq, a famous but poorly paid poet in Bahadur Shah ‘Zafar’, the last Mughal Emperor, durbar described this feeling in the following lines.
इन दिनों गरचे दक्कन में है बड़ी क़द्रे-ए-सुखन, कौन जाए “ज़ौक़” पर दिल्ली की गलियाँ छोड़ कर |
(Heard Nawab of Hyderabad pays heavily, but ‘Zauq’ would never leave Delhi streets)
It was early March when I reached Delhi to join DOT. My watch says it’s 5:40 in the morning. In fragrant dawn, the morning star shining brighter than the dying Moon, roads more or less empty, road lights poorly lite, I started waiting for public transport to reach my destination. Some taxi & cars thundered by. Again the silence and the morning star & the fresh breeze. The eastern horizon gets brighter, after another car and then another, finally my Bus arrives & takes me to my destination passing by Lal Qila, Jama Masjid, Delhi Gate, Turkman Gate to Connaught Place where I was to work for next many years.
I as passed-by some of these historical buildings, my grandpa stories started taking physical form. Though my eyes were open, but I could see army passing & fight taking place, gun blazing, Nadar Shah standing at the parapet wall of Sunehri Masjid ordering genocide, people going Jama Masjid for namaz. I know something was building up in me & forcing me to say “It is Delhi My Delhi“.
I had much leisure time at my disposal being as trainee. I trolled Delhi streets, started to smell its soil, started to let it submerge me into its fold. I used to take my bicycle & started visiting every known & unknown places. I used to go places and try to connect my emotional bond with them, sit along with old, young & middle age generation to listen their stories, eat their food, some time sleep at odd places infected with snakes & other insects. Some time mosquito kept me awake whole morning but then rewarding me with darshan of some mystique performing their rituals. Delhi is & was always full of Sadhus, Munies, Sufies & other religious leaders. Most of them kept themselves away from public graze.
Delhi is situated on the bank of Yamuna, the second most famous & holy river in India. She is Sarjuga, daughter of the Sun & Sanjna. Sanjna could not bear to look at her bright and dazzling husband Sun. In spite of Surya asking her to keep her eyes open in his presence, they sometimes flickered, and so the daughter was called Yamuna. In various old temples of Northern India, Yamuna is shown on her tortoise, a symbol associated with creation in the Vedas. Even today, tortoises can be found on the banks of the Yamuna, Yes some time very large & prehistorical too. She is Triyama, sister of Yam. As she was born on Kalindi Mount, she is know as Kaindda-Nandini. Where as Ganga Bank was Rishi-Muni’s tapo bhoomi, Krishna bathed & played his lovely childhood in Yamuna water.
Very soon I discovered that if I want to know Delhi I will have to know Yamuna first. I will have to be friendly with Yamuna because she is the only one who witnessed all what has happened in Delhi. The more such thoughts entering in my heart, I started developing infatuation for Yamuna. I used to visit her bank at Okhla specially so when it was raining. Seeing Yamuna from Old Fort or Nigam Bodh Ghat or from parapet wall of Red Fort or just sitting on its bank alone gave me lots of solace. By and by, Yamuna tide started coming near me started telling Delhi’s Story.
“A long ago, say 5000-6000 years ago, Delhi had no civilized society. It was full of dense forest where lived outlaws driven out by mighty Hastinapur kingdom. It was full of dangerous animals & poisonous snakes lead by Takshak, the Naga Headman. Delhi side had a ridge, a branch of Alavali hills, known as Bhojla Pahadi which was safe abode for western traders going to Hastinapur, Magadh and other kingdoms after monsoon period. These traders used to enter India & reach Delhi Yamuna bank before monsoon starts in Northern India after crossing five might rivers in north. In monsoon, Yamuna used to have so much water that it was impossible to cross it, so they used to rest here during rainy season and cross Yanuma by boat when her water used to recede. But during their stay at Bhojla Pahadi, local outlaws used to attack them thus looting & killing them more often than not. There was no one to provide them safety.
In this back drop, story of Indraprastha starts.
Watch out next part: Delhi My Delhi-First City “Indraprastha”