Achieving God: Sufism Way

– Neyaz Farooquee and Sumit Kumar

India is a country of many religions, faiths and ethnicities. Numerous sacred places dot the country, which has shown light to millions of people for centuries. In this intermix of ideologies, where at one end there are orthodoxies, we also have people for whom respect for humanity and love is prime.  69 year old Hari Krishna Babu, is one such example. “You will be surprised to hear my name”, he reveals hesitantly. Clad in a pristine white kurta pyjama and a skullcap, Hari Babu looks ‘stereotypically’ a Muslim, only to draw curiosity.

For the past 52 years, Hari Krishna Babu comes at Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah to clean lanterns and do odd jobs. He travels about 20 kms daily, from Pashchim Vihar in West Delhi to Hazrat Nizamuddin only to do his daily chore of cleaning and lighting up the lamps at the Dargah.

“People have asked me often, Hari Babu, how come you being a Hindu, serve at a Dargah? And I give them only one answer, i.e. Love for humanity” says Hari Babu, who also heads All India Sufi-Saint Council, formed by him in 1962 where he invited people from all religions and faiths. The assembly continues to function even today.

A retired employee of Delhi Development Authority, where he served for 39 years, Hari Babu, comes to the shrine everyday without fail and he wants to continue till Baba (Hazrat Nizamuddin) wants.

Lanterns at the Nizamuddin Dargah: In the words of Hari Babu, “I see them as different faiths of India which lighten up the entire world.”

Hari Babu, outside the mausoleum of a disciple of Hazarat Nizamuddin. The descendents of Hazarat Nizamuddin have been serving the devotees since the 14th century and call themselves “Nizami”.

There are many mausoleums in the courtyard of Hazarat Nizamuddin, including those of Amir Khusru and Jahan Ara Begum.

Hari Babu cleaning lanterns. He comes here daily at four in the evening to do his “work” and leaves at seven.

Thousands of people from different faiths visit the mausoleum daily. Hari Babu says, “Baba (Hazarat Nizamuddin) blesses all.”

Female devotees at the backside of shrine of Hazarat Nizamuddin. Hari Babu tells the reason, “Women are not allowed to visit graves in Islam.”

Devotees light up incenses and offer flowers at the Dargah. People give offerings to Khadims at the Shrine.

Besides the devotees, a large number of tourists visit the place from across the world.

A 71 year old devotee climbing the dome of the shrine to clean it, in order to thank the saint for granting his wishes (Mannat).

Devotees sitting in the corridor of the mausoleum, en-route to their visit to the mausoleum of Hazrat Moinuddin, Ajmer.

Besides paying tribute, devotees visit the dargah for miracle “treatments” by Khadims.

Rope of hope and tolerance: Shrine of Hazarat Nizamuddin and Jamaat Khana Masjid.

Hari Babu sits near the entrance of the shrine and helps visitors coming to the place.

Before sunset, there is a large influx of devotees at the Shrine, especially on Thursdays and Fridays.

After performing his daily routine, Hari Babu leaves. He changes two buses before he reaches his “temporary” home. He calls the shrine of Baba his permanent home.


~ by Niha on April 25, 2010.

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