“It will all be simple and elegant,” says Mohammad Shaheer, a landscape architect, of his latest charge — Ghalib’s tomb. The greatest flag bearer of Urdu poetry has been dead for 140 years, but his grave is at the centre of a revival plan, one that hopes to transport the visitor “to a pool of peace”, as Mr Shaheer puts it.
The tomb complex covers an area of 3,500 sq ft and is tucked away in Nizamuddin Basti, a densely populated 14th century Delhi village. Like other places of historical significance, it has seen far better days. But the makeover will be drastic.
“We are trying to restore the dignity of Ghalib’s tomb,” says Ratish Nanda of Aga Khan Trust for Culture, an international foundation that is doing the restoration in partnership with Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.