In the next posts that I make, I shall talk about the walks that I did in the Walled City of Delhi two years ago. These walks are the subject of an e-book that I am doing
For some of these walks, I shall be adding in the 'walking maps' that I had made on paper. I like writing on paper. During the winter months, you will see many tourists walking some of these streets, dutifully following their guides, and holding their cameras for that 'authentic' Indian street shot. I am not sure, however, how many of them know the rather dramatic history of this part of India, and Delhi.
Built by the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jehan, around 1642, he was soon enough deposed by his youngest son, Aurangzeb, but not before he built the Jama Masjid in 1656. This Masjid is the seat of Islam in India.
Aurangzeb spent much of his reign outside Delhi, and after his death, the Mughal Empire started to implode. The Mughal Emperor became a vassal of the Marathas, and then after they were defeated at the third battle of Panipat, he became a vassal of the East India Company. After the Great Mutiny of 1857, the British Crown took over India, started to divide the Hindus and Muslims, in a bid to continue their rule. In 1858, this part of Delhi was like a city of the dead. The divide and rule tactics of the British were to find their full expression in the division of India, and the creation of India, Pakistan and, ultimately, Bangladesh. In 1947, at the hour of freedom, this part of Delhi once again was like a city of the dead.
Yet, despite it's crumbling infrastructure and the almost forgotten glory of the Red Fort, this part of the world is vibrant.
The Khari Baoli, one of the step-wells of Delhi, has disappeared into the dust of history, yet the name lives on.
People come from all over to sell, buy, do business, to live and sleep on the streets. They also come to die on these streets. The streets are vibrant, full of life, yet they are unforgiving.
When I walked on these streets, I shed my old corporate wardrobe, and started to rediscover my city.
That is what these walks are about.