The Delhi walla's pretension in writing makes me want to lodge a bullet in his balls - Blogger Nimpipi, the woodchuck chucks
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In the dead poet’s society.
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Are you aware that the heartbeat of many Uzbekis, many Afghanis lay here in Delhi? To be precise: in a garden, next to the National Sports Club of India. To be exact: in the tomb of Mirza Abdul Qadir Bedil… Bedil?
A 17th century Persian poet of Delhi, Bedil was the inspiration of Mirza Ghalib, the ‘complete guru’ of Muhamamd Iqbal, the beloved poet of Ahmad Shah Masood. Today he enjoys a cult following in parts of Central Asia.
There are diehard Bedil fans in Samarkand. Bedil’s poetries are recited in the chai khanas of Bukhara. Bedil is passionately argued upon in Dushanbe streets. And in Delhi, Bedil lies dead.
At the entrance, his name on the signboard is partially hidden by Peepal leaves. Inside, a paved pathway, tagging along the forest-ey terrain, reaches a pair of stairs, and ends at an elevation. Here the ground is carpeted with grass, the trees are tall and bent, and several unknown tombs are draped with colourful chaadars.
The earth was sodden when I was there. It had rained the night before. The morning rays were streaming in through the thick branches. The scene was spectacular, completely unlike Bedil’s tomb-chamber. Painted in green and white, it must have been designed by some bored DDA architect with no passion for any poetry, high or low. In fact this structure, exposed to elements on all sides, was last renovated in 2006 when the visiting Tajik president desired to visit the poet’s grave.
The Delhi Walla is not aware of any other state visit. Save its caretaker and occasional visitors, Bedil, born in Bihar but ethnically an Uzbek, lie alone amongst trees, tombs, and bushes. Perhaps it’s an ideal resting place for a poet. The landscape is melancholic, untamed, abandoned, unworldly. Just like one of Bedil’s abstract verses - the words are there, but their meaning elusive.
Like a poem that touches the soul without disturbing the worldly trappings around it, Bagh-e-Bedil is in the heart of Delhi, yet aloof.
You must come here even if you don’t know your Bedil, or Ghalib, or even Shakespeare. In our big-city English-speaking lives, it's tough to find time to learn Persian, understand its nuances and then swoon over its literature. But surely you could spend a morning in this garden to soak in some of the essence that makes up Bedil. For being here is as if you are reading a much-loved sentimental novel. It is like someone whispering, “Sweetie, you're not the first one. Tomorrow, or the day after, there would be standing someone else, under this tree, next to this tomb, experiencing the same emotion.”
Where Next to the National Sports Club of India, Mathura Road Best Time Mornings
Hidden by leaves
Here is Bedil
Wild is the country
Can you see the poetry?
Who was he?
Who were they?