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Ghalib still waiting for an 'ashiana' in Agra


Sunday, December 27, 2009 10:14:42 PM, IANS

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Agra: Doyen of Urdu poetry Mirza Ghalib, whose 212th birth anniversary is being observed Sunday, still does not have a proper memorial, or a lane named after him in the city of his birth -- Agra.


This despite the fact that demands for a Mirza Ghalib chair at the Agra University and an auditorium with a research library have been hanging fire for decades.


"Former Uttar Pradesh governor Rajeshwar Rao had asked the Agra University to institute a Chair in Ghalib's name, and the Agra Municipal Corporation had passed a resolution renaming Bhagwan Talkies crossing as Mirza Ghalib circle. Decisions are pending on both," Surendra Sharma, president of Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society told IANS.


"The Taj city is identified with three pillars of Urdu Adab -- Mir Taqi Mir, Ghalib and Nazeer Akbarabadi, but unfortunately nothing has been done to perpetuate their memory. Stones alone do not make heritage. Literature, traditions, culture are all part of the heritage that we must preserve," said Sandeep Arora, former president of the Agra Hotels and Restaurants Association.


"When foreign tourists visit Agra, particularly from Pakistan and other West Asian countries, they ask us about Ghalib's house. We have been requesting the tourism and other departments to build a memorial to the great poet but so far our efforts have been futile," added Rakesh Chauhan, hotelier and the president of the Hotels Association.


Mirza Asad Ullah Khan 'Ghalib' is considered the Shakespeare of Urdu and was born in 1796 in Agra, once the capital of Mughal rulers. He died in Delhi in 1869, leaving behind a rich legacy of poetry that continues to inspire poets.


"The 'haveli' (palatial house) where Ghalib was born should be acquired by the state government and converted into a fitting memorial to Mirza Ghalib," a resolution passed at a meeting of experts said.


The 'haveli' is in Kala Mahal area, in the heart of the city and an educational institution run by a trust currently uses it. Agra's literary fraternity wants that the government should open a research academy at the site.






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