City Faith – Unknown Sufi, Zakir Hussain Marg
A roadside mystery.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Most of central Delhi used to be a jungle. Dacoits roamed between Mehrauli in the south and Shahjahanabad (aka Old Delhi) in the north. The forest was also home to Muslim ascetics who lived there to avoid the crowds. When such a holy man died, he was usually buried in the same place he had lived. Some of these memorials became famous Sufi shrines; most were lost with time.
However, a few graves have miraculously continued to survive.
One such piece of the past is an unknown person’s tombstone along Zakir Hussain Marg. Actually, Zakir Hussain Marg was built past it.
Today, the grave finds itself on a leaf-strewn footpath; with its gleaming green and white tiles, it is obviously a recently-built structure. On every Thursday evening when dargahs across the capital teem with pilgrims, this roadside tomb too is lit up with candles. In fact, there are many Sufi shrines in the area – the dargah of Hazrat Bibi Fatima is a 10-minute walk away.
One rainy afternoon a white Volkswagen was parked beside the shrine. There was no one around. Some devotee had left behind marigold garlands on the grave. An earthen lamp flickered weakly in the cold wind. The secular traffic rode on unconcernedly. Not a single car slowed. The shrine lay unseen, as if it were still in the jungle of the old days.
Where Zakir Hussain Marg Nearest Metro Station Jangpura