Friday, 10 February 2012

My First Wonder of the World

Recently, I had a chance to visit one of the oldest tombs in Delhi. To set the tone right, let me tell you that this was just an appendage to a visit to the nearby market and cafe, where a bunch of friends thought, “What the hell, let’s try the tomb too”, rather than an intentional visit to the place itself.

As any other monument built around the Mughal times, this too was grand, with the majestic aura around it and well, it’s always nice to see how grandly the revered are preserved in the memories of the Watan they once served for. But, are they?

I am talking about the clich├ęd and so much discussed about apathy around the languishing wonders of the past. Yes, there’s the awkward heap of plastic garbage on one corner, a bunch of children around the same looking for left over, a dog ‘firing’ at will, and of course the lake which has green water, and mind you that’s the only greenery left in the compound.

Ironically this is a compound where the strongest men and the greatest thinkers of the country walked 400 years ago. What happened then? The aspirations of those who wished to eradicate poverty, preserve nature & establish an egalitarian society are now remains, housing the flipside of the same! I wonder who’s going to fix this!

There’s still a herd of young men and women with DSLRs trying to capture those picture perfect memories amidst the aforementioned unpleasantness. Some of Delhi’s best ‘pics’ clicked juxtaposed over the country’s worst picture! One might also find somewhere around a shady corner, a bunch of students practicing their street play within the compound with some unknown spectators cheering them. Not much ahead, a bunch of boys pushing their sense of possibility just a tad beyond limits, use the narrow bank of the ‘green’ lake to practice their batting, balling and fielding(in the water)skills. Somewhere far a bunch of kids on a school field trip led by their not more than 25 year old teacher, would dedicate time to clean up their surrounding themselves.

And now, while I saw the glass half full, I saw aspiration. In those who came there to click, play or practice. This is the youth of the country which still has a heart. A heart which still loves to be around the symbol of heritage of its country. They are not very different from those who walked this compound 400 years ago. We are those who will make sure that history recapitulates itself and steer the nation to prosperity. We come from different walks of life and will certainly take charge of each. And we will make sure that the Watan is back on track. We will lead the change. We will fix this.

I wonder(& also hope) if you (the young Indian citizen) feel the same. :)


  1. I love this!

    And a quote again -

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
    ~ M.K. Gandhi.

  2. Totally agree. Though we need to appreciate what we have right now, we also need to realize that a change is needed, and contribute in whatever small or big ways we can.

  3. love the writing! you were bang in Delhi, which is a much much better maintained heritage than the rest of India! imagine the smaller monuments in the smaller places. apparently there is a black Taj Mahal near Aurangabad. does anyone even know about it?

    i am honestly NOT very confident that we will do anything to restore these monuments. i have seen a lot of restoration work in S E Asia, and it costs a lot of money and takes years. we will play cricket, click photographs, click our tongues and move on to our cafes and bars. i recently heard about the restoration of the Sun Temple in Konark, Orissa. it is a massive beautiful structure that is being "restored" by replacing the original stone carvings with plain slabs of concrete! so, the little amount of restoring we do is also very functional and cheap, and no attempt is made to preserve any of the aesthetics whatsoever

    as a society, post-independence, we have lost our sense of artistry when it comes to architecture. neither have we created a masterpiece, nor have we maintained what was left to us to keep. sigh, indeed!

  4. I dont want to be the spolier - but when you say - "we will make sure that the Watan is back on track" - while it is a noble thought, I wanna ask how?

    1. That's not a spoiler Kapil. In fact that is the process thought process I was looking to initiate. :) You, in your capacity have to think how, when, where. A sense of possibility and responsibility will drive the change in every functional area. I feel that everyone - a teacher, a lawyer, an IAS officer, a Politician and absolutely every citizen of the country has to feel the need to own up to the problems and solve them and ask themselves the question of 'HOW' !

  5. Interesting observation. Making places like Hauz Khas Village a hub of commercial activity in my opinion, is a fantastic step towards developing an interest in one of the oldest buildings in Delhi.
    Also, contributing to what you wrote in paragraph one, I heard about this jail in Patna where hundreds of freedom fighters were imprisoned in the 1920s. Today, that jail, instead of being preserved, has been broken down, only to be replaced by a goddamn MALL.

  6. Nice post! On the same note, here is a quote from J.B.S. Haldane:

    The world shall perish not for lack of wonders, but for lack of wonder

    It is wonder (and hope!) that will lead us from apathy and neglect to a heightened awareness and care for what belongs to us and to our Watan.

    Keep blogging! :)