With storytelling, heritage walks, movie screenings, plays and puppet shows, the Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti is all set to come alive from Thursday.
The Basti, one of the oldest in Delhi, is celebrating and showcasing seven centuries of its living and cultural legacy during a three-day “Apni Basti Mela”.
The mela will open with a heritage walk, conducted by the basti youth, on Thursday morning. It will be attended by Lt-Governor Tejendra Khanna, organisers said.
Apart from guiding visitors through the narrow lanes of the basti, the residents will also put on display a variety of craft products produced by them — from traditional embroidery and Mughal glazed tiles to traditional perfumes and calligraphy.
Local master chefs will also teach visitors how to cook food indigenous to the area. The basti children will perform plays and qawwali. The forecourt of the sixteenth century monument Chaunsath Khambha, located next to Mirza Ghalib’s tomb, will be the venue for a Sufiana Kalaam performance by the Niazi brothers.
It will also witness the unfolding of a Rajasthani folk tale in the Dastangoi tradition — the sixteenth century method of Urdu storytelling — with Mamood Farooqui and Danish Husain.
Keeping in mind the fact that the Sufi teachings of Nizamuddin Auliya — who espoused tolerance, love and pluralism — attracts pilgrims from across the world to the basti, a need for greater cleanliness in the streets has been felt.
Addressing this need, a cleanliness drive will be flagged off by the South Municipal Commissioner Manish Gupta.
The mela is being organized as part of the Aga Khan Development Network led Urban Renewal Initiative, which is supported by the Ministry of Culture, Archaeological Survey of India, Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the Delhi Development Authority.
Since July 2007, the initiative has involved landscaping and conservation measures, and improvement of school infrastructure. Efforts were also taken to provide employment opportunities for the basti residents.
Embroidery and tailoring centres were created for women while a computer education programme was initiated to train MCD school students and the youth. An English training programme was also launched last year.