Mission Delhi – Ibrar Ahmad, Hazrat Nizamuddin’s Sufi Shrine
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Huddled within the folds of a white shawl, he is sitting as still as a rock.
One cold night The Delhi Walla walks upto a silent, brooding man in the Sufi shrine of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya.
The man looks at this unexpected intruder and mumbles, as if he talking to himself: “I’m looking for my child. He disappeared three months ago.”
The man takes out a piece of laminated paper from his wallet. It’s the government-issued identification card of his missing child.
The document gives the son’s name as Faish, born 11/02/2012.
“What’s your name?” I ask.
The man doesn’t utter a word. Instead, he produces his own government-issued identification card. It gives his name as Ibrar Ahmad, son of Rehman, born xx/xx/1990.
Mr Ahmad, it turns out, is from a village that is “a night-long train journey away from Delhi”, somewhere near Lucknow. “The ladka (boy) was lost in the village… We could not find him there… now I’m searching for him in other places.” He shows me small chits of paper, hand-scrawled in Hindi. These are names of towns and cities in which he has already searched for Faish.
One chit says:
From Jhansi to Bara Mau
From Bara Mau to Radhuar
Aladin Chirag Petrol Pump
On repeated prodding, Mr Ahmad finally utters a few words on his family: “My wife died one and a half months ago…. ”
After a few minutes of quietude, a flower-seller appears and Mr Ahmad asks him hesitantly if travelers are permitted to sleep in the Sufi shrine’s courtyard. The flower-seller says, “No, you cannot sleep there. But have you seen the public toilet, the one behind the Baoli Gate? There is a ren basera (homeless shelter) near to it. You could sleep there for free. You will also get a blanket.”
Mr Ahmad nods his head but he keeps sitting, still as a rock.
[This is the 126th portrait of Mission Delhi project]