Courtyard of the beloved

The chaos is contained. The demarcations are envious. Oberoi swears of its presence. Babur with all his might can’t dwarf lure of Hazrat Nizzamudin.

The path is deviant, intertwined with a series of tunnels, questioning the purpose of existence and may be reminding of the ultimate demise. The dust moistened by the sweat of the believers sticks to the naked feet, clinging on as a mark of attendance. Banality ends with visibility just as darkness with light. The grave is tangled up in green with scores of sheets, some plain, others with calligraphy of all sorts proclaiming the greatness of divine. All this is enveloped with a structure of what seems like gold, glittering and glimmering with hope, faith and belief with little threads of despair and desire tied neatly on all sides.
Across the qawwals, very near to Hazrat lies buried the mureed. Khusro sings in praise of his murshid through the voice of qawwals whose symphony resonates in entire courtyard. These verses of joy, separation and longing mesmerize many but are truly understood by a few. The dressed dervishes are the only ones working, fanning the audience and their spirits. The energy flows out to possession section as well guiding the disturbed to normalcy that prevails in society otherwise.

Strikingly the crowd is largely composed of lower middle class and the poorer sections. The sense of strictness and adherence that is associated with Islam is absent. The people may seem Islamic in their attire but are estranged from its practices if not completely ignorant of them. Muizeen’s call for prayer breaks the congregation. The faithful head to taps for cleansing, the believers start the journey all over again, heading back to their homes.Not far from the dargah, situated in a similar street is the national office of Tableeghi Jamat. Its presence is marked by the beards and hijabs. It is a centre for gathering for the many volunteers heading out on expeditions ranging from a couple of days to months into alien villages preaching Islam, the one that they themselves know of. It reaffirms their own faith going through the pains of separation.
Both seek answers through different means. Discipline binds one to ground, while other seeks belief.

In discipline peace persists, in belief the world

Couldn’t stop myself from sharing this

In the Courtyard of the Beloved from Andreas Burgess on Vimeo.

(Report for Field trip. “Sociology of Religion”)


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