The Biographical Dictionary of Delhi – Amir Khusro, b. Patiali, Uttar Pradesh, 1253-1325

The Biographical Dictionary of Delhi – Amir Khusro, b. Patiali, Uttar Pradesh, 1253-1325

The definitive directory of famous Delhiites. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] At 72, the maker of Hindustani classical music lost interest in the world. Poet Amir Khusro, the 14th century courtier to seven kings, was in mourning after…

The Biographical Dictionary of Delhi – Muhammad Shah Rangila, b. Fatehpur Sikri, 1702-1748

The Biographical Dictionary of Delhi – Muhammad Shah Rangila, b. Fatehpur Sikri, 1702-1748

The definitive directory of famous Delhiites. [Text by Mayank Austen Soofi; pictures given by Asia Society and British Library] He was born in Fatehpur Sikri, a former Mughal capital. Crowned at the age of 17 by the scheming Sayyid brothers,…

The Biographical Dictionary of Delhi – Homai Vyarawalla, b. Navsari, Gujarat, 1913-2012

The Biographical Dictionary of Delhi – Homai Vyarawalla, b. Navsari, Gujarat, 1913-2012

The definitive directory of famous Delhiites. [Text by Mayank Austen Soofi; pictures shared by Alkazi Collection of Photography] Like most of today’s generation, you must have been introduced to her photographs in history textbooks. Homai Vyarawalla, 97, originally a Bombay…

The Biographical Dictionary of Delhi – Dr Yunus Jaffery​, b. Old Delhi, 1930

The Biographical Dictionary of Delhi – Dr Yunus Jaffery​, b. Old Delhi, 1930

The immortal love of a Persian scholar. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] An heir of Old Delhi nobility, he speaks classical Persian as his first language. Dr Yunus Jaffery, a Persian scholar, was described as an “archetypal Delhi-wallah”…

The Biographical Dictionary of Delhi – Joseph Allen Stein​, b. Omaha, 1912-2001

The Biographical Dictionary of Delhi – Joseph Allen Stein​, b. Omaha, 1912-2001

The builder of Steinabad. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] The Delhi Walla is walking down Joseph Stein Lane, the only road in Delhi named after an architect. This is the heart of “Steinabad”, the nickname given to Lodhi…

The Biographical Dictionary of Delhi – Jahanara Begum, b. Ajmer, 1614-1681

The Biographical Dictionary of Delhi – Jahanara Begum, b. Ajmer, 1614-1681

The sufi princess. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] Razia Sultan, Nur Jahan, Princess Diana. The most famous women in history are usually caricatured as saints or sluts, or both. Their lives are reduced to tragedies or travesties. Jahanara…

The Biographical Dictionary of Delhi – Ruskin Bond, b. Kasauli, 1934

The Biographical Dictionary of Delhi – Ruskin Bond, b. Kasauli, 1934

Delhi’s mountain man. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] The world is, according to a saying, only the size of each man’s head. Deodar trees, misty hills, night trains, haunted spirits, leaping langurs, mountain air, unhappy women and lonely…

The Biographical Dictionary of Delhi – Simon Digby, b. Jabalpur, 1932-2010

The Biographical Dictionary of Delhi – Simon Digby, b. Jabalpur, 1932-2010

Delhi’s last eccentric. [Text by Mayank Austen Soofi; pictures given by Christie’s; Simon Digby’s photograph is courtesy of Robert Skelton] Born in Jabalpur to a colonial-era judge and a vagabond painter, British scholar Simon Everard Digby was a part-time Delhiwalla…

The Biographical Dictionary of Delhi – Mirza Ghalib, b. Agra, 1797-1869

The Biographical Dictionary of Delhi – Mirza Ghalib, b. Agra, 1797-1869

The definitive directory of famous Delhiites. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] Do we laugh or cry for Ghalib? Is it possible without writing a book-length biography to convey the contrasts of his low life and high career, and…

The Biographical Dictionary of Delhi – Ronald Vivian Smith, b. Agra, 1938

The Biographical Dictionary of Delhi – Ronald Vivian Smith, b. Agra, 1938

The definitive directory of famous Delhiites. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] Of all the authors who made Delhi the central theme of their literary lives, the case of Ronald Vivian Smith is the most intriguing. He has given…