City Monument – President and First Lady’s Tomb, Prithviraj Road Christian Cemetery
The place of grace.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Perhaps the most fitting tribute to a long marriage, this is a memorial to a husband and wife. The tomb’s marble slab describes him as ‘A gentle colossus’ and her as the ‘First Lady of India’.
The Delhi Walla is at the Christian cemetery on Prithviraj Road, home to more than 2,000 graves. What makes this tombstone different from any other is the Ashoka seal at the top. India’s national emblem is not out of place here. Ashes of KR Narayanan, the nation’s tenth president, are buried here. His wife is also buried at the same place.
He died in 2005. She died three years later. They both were born in 1921. Usha Narayanan was from Burma. The grave is also inscribed with her original name, Ma Tint Tint.
It is slightly unnerving to come across such a modest grave for a head of state. Delhi is used to providing its rulers tombs and samadhis that are larger than life — Humayun tomb and Rajghat immediately come to mind. But there are no disappointments. A pomegranate tree leans over it, giving a sense of quiet dignity that is in some ways more impressive than large domes built over the city’s more elaborate resting places.