As I’d mentioned earlier, we’d planned a ‘Muzaffar Jang Walk’ through parts of Shahjahanabad yesterday, December 11, 2011. It was organised by Habitat World and was led by my sister, Swapna Liddle. I won’t let the cat out of the bag by revealing what route we took or what Swapna told us, but I’ll say this: it was a very entertaining (and enlightening!) trip. We began at the Digamber Jain Lal Mandir, and with little detours in and out of the surrounding area, made our way right till the other end of Chandni Chowk, to the Fatehpuri Masjid. Swapna and I read a few very brief extracts from The Englishman’s Cameo and The Eighth Guest, always with reference to where we were at the moment.
How’s this different from merely reading the books for yourself? Or from simply going to Chandni Chowk yourself? Because it’s fun to have a historian beside you, who can point out how things have changed, and how they’ve remained alive. How a language evolved, a city expanded and shrank, or the role of an attaar changed, from Shahjahan’s time to Bahadur Shah Zafar’s?If you like history, you’ll almost certainly enjoy the experience.
Here are some photos from the walk. And, for those who missed this one: take heart. Swapna’s agreed, on public demand, to do an encore, possibly in January 2012. We’ll keep you posted.
(Note: Click on each image to see a larger version, and to learn more about what the photo shows).