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Our Self-Written Obituaries – Raza Rumi, Not in Pakistan

The eighth death.

[Text and photo by Raza Rumi]

Raza Rumi was a wanderer who came to Delhi in his 30s and found another home in the city – in the shrines, lanes and by-lanes of the mythical Delhi. He wrote a book on the city called Delhi by Heart: Impressions of a Pakistani Traveller. His other books were about himself and finding his place in a cruel world. It was Delhi and its Sufi shrines that gave him comfort so he kept on visiting the city and became its honorary part-time resident.

Mr Rumi’s plural identity was not liked by some in his homeland, the neighbouring Pakistan, and they tried to kill him in 2014. He survived the attack but had to leave his country and the city of his birth for a long time. Even in his exile he kept on writing about the city in the footsteps of Ibn e Batuta, the medieval traveller who attempted to absorb all that this confusing city was.

In his later writings and art works, Mr Rumi continued to explore the lost Delhi and kept on reminding its residents and is compatriots that the lines dividing them were an act of politics and could be negotiated for peaceful existence. To honour his memory of peace he was given several awards but, sadly, peace between the two countries could not be achieved.

However, here lies a soul at peace. Mr Rumi has two graves: one in Lahore and the other in Delhi. In both places the epitaph reads: When we are dead, seek not our tomb in the earth, but find it in the hearts of men.

Our Obituaries invites Delhiites across the world to write their obituary in 200 words. The idea is to share with the world how you will like to be remembered after you are gone. (May you live a long life, of course!) Please mail me your self-obit at

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