Kalan Masjid
Kalan Masjid, Chandni Chowk

The Kalan Masjid lies close to Raziya Sultan’s Tomb. A rather quiet place, somewhere inside a very crowded Bazaar. Built in 1387 by Feroz Shah Tughlaq, it is one of the oldest Mosques in Delhi.

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This post is part of, what appears to be, a series of short, sometimes confusing, posts.

Writing Challenge : Just Do It
Photo Challenge : Reflections
The Unsung Hero

Miscellaneous Musings

The world ended a long time ago

There is a saying in Sanskrit:

यत्र नार्यस्तु पूज्यन्ते रमन्ते तत्र देवताः ।

Transliteration : Yatr Naaryastu Poojyante Ramante Tatr Devatah

Translation : Gods reside in those places where women are worshipped.

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This post began as a slightly longish rant, fuelled by immense rage. I let it rest for a couple of days. Today, I decided to cut out the harsh bits. I leave you, dear reader, to interpret the meaning, and context in which I write this post.


The Good, Bad, and the Incomplete!

One Confession

This year has been quite a roller coaster.  A year filled with lots of firsts. I attempted the Weekly Photo Challenges, Writing Challenges, and even the Daily Prompts. Truth be told, I got lucky with some of the topics. Perhaps some one at The Daily Post sneaked in to my head, and posted appropriate challenges (including this one)!!

Two Realisations

At the end of the previous year, I had one follower. (I’m not counting my friends and family members – who were forced to visit my blog after my constant nagging). This year, I have discovered, and learnt a lot from other bloggers. Thanks to the aforementioned lucky coincidences, I have more readers, and I kick myself for not participating in challenges often.

I cannot have my cake and it too. While I love to participate in all the challenges, and I do have things to say, real life also needs priority – hence, my posts will always come at irregular intervals.

Three unfinished works

I have two sketches, and an acrylic painting that are waiting for me to complete them. I am not including the sketch from last year, and the oil painting I started many many years ago! I would have shown them to you, but I’m just too lazy to photograph them. Also, the painting is in the art room of my institute, and I’m too cowardly to face my teacher (whom I am sure I have disappointed with this one).

Four projects

This year has been one in which I have little to show – At least not as much as I would have wished. Blogging has, to a certain extent, distracted me from my studies, and at the same time, has encouraged me to create something, with the sole intention of posting it here.

I learnt a lot this year, especially about 3D animation, and spent a major part of the year on two projects – a character, which I built from scratch, and a short film, in which I rigged a character, and oversaw other member’s work. These are quite amateurish, and hence I haven’t posted much about them. The sheer effort involved in creating a 60 second 3D animated clip, was overwhelming. I can only wonder what magic must be required to produced full length feature films in this medium.

My best creation to date, and one I hold close to my heart is ‘Mr Paper’. It was made in the early part of the year, and has made me a bit of a celebrity 😀

And finally, dear reader, if you found most of this article vague and has left you confused, it is probably because I am currently working on my fourth project – capping one of the busiest years of my life.

Many Memories

I’ll leave you with a small collage of stills – which visually represent what I have been up to this year – the things I’ve made, the places that I have seen… Here’s wishing the entire blogging community a very happy and prosperous New Year.


The Unsung Hero

Crumbling Haveli
Crumbling Haveli

The city of Delhi is often referred to, as a burial ground – of emperors and nobles, princes and princesses, saints and warriors. After visiting a few tombs, one gets the feeling that all the tombs are alike. That might be true for most, but there are exceptions.

This past week, I tagged along with a group of heritage-hunters, and headed towards Chandini Chowk. A friendly local offered to guide us through the uneven paths, deep within the bazaar. We went down narrow and dark lanes, past crumbling havelis and butcher shops, and even hopped over a sleeping goat! We approached a sharp turn in the path, which revealed perhaps the smallest, and the saddest tomb in Delhi.

The only three women who were ever elected to the throne in the Mohammedan East, reigned in the thirteenth century.
– Lane-Poole

Raziya Sultan was the daughter of Iltutmish*, and the only woman to have ruled over Delhi. Her father had chosen Raziya as his successor to the throne. This was obviously not welcomed by her brother, as well as the majority of noblemen.

Iltutmish claimed that his daughter was better than many sons. And it did not take long for the citizens of the kingdom, to realise this. Raziya was appointed ruler by the common people.

Sultan Raziya was a great monarch. She was wise, just, and generous, a benefactor to her kingdom, a dispenser of justice, the protector of her subjects, and the leader of her armies. She was endowed with all the qualities befitting a king, but she was not born a man, and for that reason, in the estimation of men, all these virtues were worthless.
– Minhajas-Siraj

Raziya Sultan’s tenure as a ruler was a short one. A female monarch, appointed by common people did not go down well with the establishment. The fact that she showed her face in public, and was tolerant towards the Hindus, made her case weaker. She was assassinated after three years at the throne.

There is a conflict, regarding the actual site where she was buried. Claims include Chandini Chowk in Old Delhi, Siwan in Haryana, and Tonk in Rajasthan. The site at Chandini Chowk, was a jungle during the reign of Raziya Sultan, and there is no engraving to identify the souls resting there. A part of the mausoleum has been converted to a mosque.

Raziya was a person born well ahead of her time. Unfortunately, her story is overshadowed by others who came after her. A hero for all ages, may her soul rest in peace.

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* Iltutmish (alternate spelling Altamish) Full name : Shams-ud-din Iltutmish

The third ruler in the Slave Dynasty. The first was Qutb-ud-din Aibak, and the second, Aram Shah. The Slave (Mamluk) Dynasty was the first of five unrelated dynasties to rule over Delhi, in what is referred to, as Delhi Sultanate.

Sources and suggested reading:

Razia Sultan Was Far Better Than Her Brothers – Sunday Guardian
Chapter 5 – Raziya, The Mohammedan Empress of India, History of India – Volume 5 – The Mohammedan Period as Described by its Own Historians – Edited by A. V. Williams Jackson (Selected from the works of late Sir Henry Miers Elliot)

The Daily Post asks readers to write about their heros. I have paid a tribute to Unniyarcha before. Raziya Sultan is my answer to The Daily Post’s prompt.


The Scarf

The winter is upon us, and all the woollens are out. Amongst these, is one precious scarf.

Before I turned into an obnoxious and stubborn teenager, we wore sweaters knitted by my eldest aunt. Knitting, and crochet were like second nature to her. I used to admire her skills. It seemed almost magical, the things she could create with wool.

So when our crafts teacher asked us to bring wool and knitting needles to school, I was excited. I envisioned myself becoming very proficient in knitting. I was already imagining showing off!

I carefully followed instructions, and ensured I did a neat job of making the loops. After a couple of classes, we were told to finish it off at home, at our own convenience.

Little did I know, that it would turn out to be quite a disaster.

Under the watchful eyes of my mother and grandmother, I continued my knitting. My grandmother demonstrated a different type of loop. And so we decided to add a little design, alternating between different types of loops.

It wasn’t long, before I forgot about the design, and then it was just a mess of randomly placed loops. It didn’t bother me, though. I was knitting for the first time.

Twenty-two loops, is what I started with, and after a few rows, it somehow became twenty-eight. That was also fine by me. I was just a child. I allowed myself to goof-up.

Then one day, my mother pointed out that I had missed a loop. Before I knew it, she removed all the loops that I had knitted with my little hands.

Although I had to start from scratch, we no longer had the problem of mismatched styles and varying number of loops. All seemed to be well again.

And then I missed another loop. The loops were removed, and like the ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’, I began again. It seemed like I had entered a vicious cycle – one that continued for a long, really long time. I knitted, missed a loop, and then started all over again.

Days turned into months. I soldiered on for as long as I could. It was obvious that knitting was not something I could possibly do, and my persistence only made the wool weaker. It had been abused long enough. It was now much thinner, and was begging for mercy.

I abandoned my project, and my mother decided to finish what I had started. Needless to say, she went further than I had. But she did not complete it. She probably still hoped that I would complete it. It was shelved, and soon forgotten altogether.

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Several Years Later

We relocated, and came to live next door to a joint family. Four generations shared one apartment. Biji, as they all called her, was the eldest member of the house, a great grandmother. She took a liking to us, and we took a liking for her as well. My father’s mother had passed away only a few years before we moved, and the void that was left in the house, seemed to be filled by biji. It seemed like our grandmother had come back to us.

One winter afternoon, we saw biji sitting in the sun, knitting. My mother casually mentioned my abandoned project to her. We showed it to her, and she smiled and said, ‘I’ll finish it for you’. In a couple of days, she pressed a beautiful scarf into my hands.

She looked at my mother, and said, ‘I found a little problem with the loops, so I removed the whole thing, and knitted it from scratch!!’