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Light touch: 'The Holy Ray' by Vikramjit Singh Rooprai   | Photo Credit: 06dmcvikram1

“By looking at a picture, more people get interested in visiting the monument. It helps in creating awareness. They can click pictures and feel the place. That is when the footfall at the monument increases, thereby reducing its misuse. Also, the Government machinery comes into action as they realise that the place is getting popular and there is a need to keep it clean and in a better condition,” says photographer Vikramjit Singh Rooprai. An exhibition of his photographs, “Monuments of Delhi”, was recently mounted at the India Habitat Centre.

It’s hard to disagree with his view when one remembers that crowded places of the Capital are dotted with interesting heritage monuments. Take Daryaganj. On its crowded streets, with traffic crawling and residents scurrying about in the market, life goes on as usual. Amidst the hustle-bustle of everyday life, the Zeenat-ul-Masjid is barely noticed by passers-by. This place of worship was built by Aurangzeb’s daughter Zinat-ul Nissa and converted into a bakery after the 1857 War of Independence. Relic of a time long gone, the monument is one of the many neglected historical sites captured by Rooprai in his collection. The photograph of the masjid-turned-bakery is titled ‘Holy Bakery’. The idea behind the exhibition was to bring the people closer to their heritage

Rooprai adds that his pictures are taken more with a purpose of documentation and trying to capture every angle so that he can write about its architecture and unseen corners.

‘The Holy Ray’ is a picture showing a woman stepping into Sultanghari tomb to offer prayers, with sunlight illuminating the entrance and beyond. Rooprai explains: “Prince Nasiruddin Mahmud, son of Sultan Iltutmish, is buried here is and regarded as a peer baba. The lady hopes to reach the seer through the light showered on his resting place. This tomb attracts both Hindu and Muslim disciples and its walls are adorned with the Swastika and the Kalma.” The artist describes the photo as a “ray of hope for religious harmony and secularism.”

To pursue his cause, Rooprai runs a Delhi Heritage Photography Club with 6000 members stepping out on weekends for heritage photo walks. In the last four years of their heritage hunt, the club has covered more than 500 of Delhi’s monuments, says the photographer.

‘The Haunted Lodge’ shows the Bhooli Bhatiyari ka Mahal — appropriately in black and white as the monument has several spooky stories associated with it. Safdarjung’s Tomb, constructed for the Nawab of Awadh, clicked at dusk, is appropriately titled ‘The Last Flicker’. ‘The Lentil Marvel’ depicts Moth Ki Masjid built by Wazir Miyan Bhoiya, who took a lentil grain from the emperor and through repeated plantation of the yield, raised enough money to build this mosque.



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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 10:35:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/time-frames/article5541555.ece

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