Dear Mr. Raza,
Let me introduce myself. I am N. Jain. I am a Jain by religion and Baniya by caste. My Great Great Great Grandfather moved to Delhi from nearby Farrukhnagar town. I belong to the class of people whose family was not at all effected by Partition except being witness to it.
I have just finished reading your book Delhi by Heart and found it very nice and charming.
It was interesting to know so much about my city which I really did not know. But I would like to point out that your book has focused mostly on the so called Muslim Delhi but you have totally ignored the Baniya Delhi or for that matter there were many Delhi’s in the times of Mughals also which you might not be aware of.
I think this is due to the fact you are viewing Delhi through the eyes of the Muslim elite which moved to Pakistan. I am not sure when my forefathers moved to Delhi but I assume I would be just around the time of the rebellion. They came and settled in the area called Pahari Dhiraj/Sadar Bazar, just outside the walled city. This area existed even before the rebellion. Probably we were considered migrants then. Till recently I was living there only before moving to Hauz-e-Khas about an year back.
Maybe I am not aware of the history shared in your book as my family has been part of the Baniya Delhi which was a world apart from the walled city. maybe our area was a suburb of Delhi in those times.
I was totally enchanted with the way you have described the culture of the Shahjahanabad area and the Sufi culture of which I was totally and completely unaware of. I don’t think anyone in my family has ever been to a Sufi shrine accept out of curiosity. I will look at Delhi with a new outlook now thanks to your book.
At some places in your book I senses a lament which you or some people in Pakistan feel for having left so much behind, not merely money or wealth but something more maybe a part of your history, culture or feeling of belonging. In your book I sense your regret on the loss of Muslim and Sufi culture in Delhi. But I am afraid to say the torch bearers of those traditions left for Pakistan. Your reaction is somehow familiar to the reaction of Non Residents Indians who bring up their children on a regular dose of lecturing on their so called Indian Culture and decadent Western culture but when they come here they are shocked to see the change which India has gone through. I just want to say that it is natural. Things change over time they always do, I am sure Pakistan has changed too since partition.
While reading your book all sorts of thoughts were coming to my mind some I have written but I am sure I have forgotten some. Please don’t take my letter as a criticism at all but just the opposite. I am glad I picked up your book.