City Monument – Maulana Azad’s Mausoleum, Near Meena Bazaar

City Monument – Maulana Azad’s Tomb, Near Meena Bazaar

The tomb of secularism.

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]

It is circled by the sounds of Shahjahanabad’s beggars, pavement vendors, shopkeepers, shoppers, goats, and amateur cricketers. Yet, the garden-tomb of Abul Kalam Muhiyuddin Ahmed, aka Maulana Azad, remains tranquil.

A freedom fighter, Azad, like millions of his fellow Muslims, chose not to migrate to Pakistan following the Indian Partition. The first education minister of a free India, he died in 1958. His resting place lies close to the dargah of his beloved sufi saint, Sarmad Shahid; it also looks to the eastern gateway of the Jama Masjid.

It was on the stairs of this mosque in October 1947 that Azad famously exhorted the Muslims to “pledge that this country is ours, we belong to it and any fundamental decisions about its destiny will remain incomplete without our consent”.

In 1940, he had delivered a memorable speech on secularism in which he emphasized the necessity of the Muslim in the idea of India, saying:

“I am part of the indivisible unity that is Indian nationality. I am indispensable to this noble edifice and without me this splendid structure is incomplete. I am an essential element, which has gone to build India. I can never surrender this claim.”

Designed by architect Habib Rahman, Azad’s memorial is respectful to the Islamic architecture of the Mughal-era city. The tomb is marked by a white marble canopy. According to the book The Modern Architecture of New Delhi, the cross-barrel vault structure was derived from the central arch of the Jama Masjid.

There are pools on three sides of the garden-tomb. They are dry. The grass is watered daily. The views of the Jama Masjid spring out from above the trees. Grass grows on the grave.

At the memorial’s entrance, an inscription briefly describes Azad’s life. One phrase stands out:
“Maulana Azad opposed the Partition of India… “

Where Near Meena Bazaar Time 9 am to 5 pm Nearest Metro Station Chandni Chowk/Chawri Bazaar

Here lies Azad’s dream

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City Monument – Maulana Azad’s Tomb, Near Meena Bazaar

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City Monument – Maulana Azad’s Tomb, Near Meena Bazaar

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City Monument – Maulana Azad’s Tomb, Near Meena Bazaar

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City Monument – Maulana Azad’s Tomb, Near Meena Bazaar

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City Monument – Maulana Azad’s Tomb, Near Meena Bazaar

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City Monument – Maulana Azad’s Tomb, Near Meena Bazaar

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City Monument – Maulana Azad’s Tomb, Near Meena Bazaar

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City Monument – Maulana Azad’s Tomb, Near Meena Bazaar

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City Monument – Maulana Azad’s Tomb, Near Meena Bazaar


Post Author: The Delhi Walla

6 thoughts on “City Monument – Maulana Azad’s Mausoleum, Near Meena Bazaar

  • Naushirvan

    (September 30, 2012 - 9:56 AM)

    The Urdu section of the blue board featured at the very top spells Maulana Azad’s name incorrectly. It reads ‘Muinuddin’ instead of ‘Muhiuddin’. It is a pity that the city’s authorities pay little attention to the way Urdu words are spelled on official information-posters and sign-boards.

    • Matka

      (September 30, 2012 - 6:58 PM)

      Not to mention the dirty pools without water.

    • Naushirvan

      (September 30, 2012 - 9:34 PM)

      yes, the dirty,dried-up pools! And the hideous bathroom tiles…I think they should fill in these travesties with nice,friable earth( and perhaps transform them into a series of flowerbeds). Or they could build a gallery/museum with Maulana Azad as its theme.

    • Ehsan Mir Ali Jahan

      (October 5, 2012 - 7:56 AM)

      The Mazar needs to be maintained no doubt. It is in a shameful state! The Delhi authorities have a culture of ignoring Muslim neighbourhoods and shrines’ upkeep. Urdu, the only native language of Delhi, is recently beginning to be represented in the city’s signage after almost 70 years of independence! Just imagine if the partition had never occurred, it would have been the centre of Urdu culture, instead of Pakistan. The authorities here have been too busy pushing for Hindi as the city’s main lingua franca, which ironically has not worked and the layman on the streets of Delhi still speaks more Urdu than Hindi! Oh well, this is what happens in India. One step forward two steps back and one step back if we’re lucky! Sigh!

    • Naushirvan

      (October 7, 2012 - 8:13 PM)

      do not despair;all is not lost! Urdu sarkari sarparasti ki mohtaaj nahin.

      Sanskritised Hindi, though very beautiful in its own right,is indeed quite out of place when it comes to being the Lingua Franca of Delhi. Urdu and its ‘mushtarka tahzeeb’ are inextricably linked with my city- so much so, that any attempt to divorce the one from the other would result in a very skewed vision of Delhi’s history. It is time we gave up the narrow inheritance of the Partition era.

    • Ehsan Mir Ali Jahan

      (October 8, 2012 - 6:08 AM)

      Indeed I concur. No need to despair.

      dil naa-ummiid to nahiiN, naakaam hii to hai
      lambi hai Gham kii shaam magar shaam hii to hai

Comments are closed.