Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tales of Historic Delhi - A walk through its many cities

Talesof Historic Delhi- A walk through its many cities
Authorand Illustrator: Premola Ghose

As Delhi celebrates 100 years of its capitalhood, the animals of Janwar Dosti, a friendly animal association, travel through the city to discover the many cities that lay within. They travel from Suraj Kund to Qutb Minar to Siri Fort, unearthing the history that lies buried there. They visit the dargah of Nizammudin and try to find out what Sufism was all about. Going from gardens to villages to tombs to over crowded streets that can only set one thinking ofDelhi’s rich heritage, the animals have a delightful time. In their pursuit of discovery of the many cities of Delhi, they discover the quiet existence ofNizammudin, Tughlaqabad, Hauz Khas, Firozabad/Firoz Shah Kotla, Dinpanah, Shahjahanabad, Jaisinghpura- all of pre-British era, Civil Lines of the Britishtimes and the modern landscape marked by malls, metro stations, flyovers and much more.

Colourfully described using characters like Tunnu tiger (TT), Zero, the African giraffe, Bula bear, Pt. Ooo Lala, the wise owl, Lucky rabbit, Mayurdas, the pompous peacock and many other animals, the story emerges as a pretty tool for a quickglance into the history, the city of Delhi boasts of. From the time of Pandava kings to the modern age developments like malls and flyovers, the book tells it all.

Written in the prevailing lingo of ‘Gawd’ and ‘Whazzat’, the book is a must read for anyone who wants to know the charismatic history of our national capital. Though the story is interspersed by a number of grammatical errors, the beautiful illustrations take the reading experience to a new high and eventhose who are not particularly fond of history will find it fascinating.

Bridging the ancient ruins that still remain and the modern developments, there layssomething called memories. “Well” sighed Pinky again, “now there are only memories in the names: in the kuchas, whichwere, occupation specific zones; in the katras, which were the workplaces and homes of craftsmen; and in specific markets like the spice market of Khari Baoli, the glitter and gauze shops of Kinari Bazaar, or the paper market of Chawri Bazaar. But some famous eating placesare still around, of which the earliesare the Ghantewala Halwai, the parantha shops of Paranthewali Gali, and Karim’s, famous for its Mughal cuisine.”

1 comment:

  1. These days I am loving anything and everything written on the rich history of Delhi. I must thank William Dalrymple for having initiated this interest.