Described as a comprehensive site for noted Sufi poet and historian Amir Khusrau, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) on Wednesday launched
offering an insight into Khusrau’s scholarly work and his persona.
To prepare the website, extensive research work was done by the AKTC’s team. A museum in Rajasthan had priceless Mughal paintings in the archives which were scanned and digitised to be shown to the world.
An interactive kiosk with electronic displays has also been installed at Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti, which is known for its cultural heritage and Sufi music. Two books, “Jashne-e-Khusrau-2013” and “World of Khusrau: Catalogue of the travelling exhibition”, were released by Ministry of Culture Secretary Ravindra Singh as part of the exhibition, “Aalam-e-Khusrau: Celebrating Culture Ford Foundation Grants (2009-2014)”, at a function in the Capital.
Mr. Singh said: “Even after seven centuries, we evoke Khusrau as a symbol of social harmony and cultural plurality.”
Noting that the exhibits showcase Khusrau’s genius, Mr. Singh said: “I would like to stress that Khusrau had not immigrated to India to escape the swords of the Mongols or to seek fortune in the Delhi Sultanate’s courts like many others. He was born in India to an Indian mother and was proud of it. Through his work, he showed the world that the culture, arts, languages, and music here were far superior to those found in other countries.”
Shedding light on the project, Asif Ali, a AKTC staff, said when the project was initiated, the residents of Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti were apprehensive but later realised that it was for their own benefit.
“I translated the project into Urdu so that the locals could understand that the project was aimed at their socio-economic upliftment. Local artisans were able to earn better remuneration by working at the Humayun’s Tomb,” he pointed out.
Shakeel Hossain, a consultant with AKTC, said tourists visit places like Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti so that they get an insight into the synergy in Indian traditions.
“Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti is the place where two civilizations – Hinduism and Islam – meet. It is all about tameez and tehzeeb and is not limited to the Nizamuddin railway station. The kiosk at the basti will be quite informative for not only foreign tourists but also Delhiites.”
AKTC programme officer Archana Akhtar said cultural projects can act as a model for urban development. “We have undertaken multiple activities which act as a springboard for the socio-economic development of the people at the basti. We have twice hosted the Jashn-e-Khusrau festival,” she added.