"...The engagement of the local community from the earliest stages is imperative for success. Their progress can depend heavily on variable qualities of human nature, including the pride and confidence of the peoples involved. In any development effort, there will be a tipping point along the way when we see the glass as half full rather than half empty. But these tipping points are more likely to tip in the right direction when attention to local confidence has become an ingrained reflex."
- His Highness The Aga Khan
Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti is a custodian of 700 years of a living cultural heritage. That this legacy encompasses secular and inter-faith cultural traditions makes it even more valuable in today’s context. Awareness of the rich cultural heritage of the Humayun’s Tomb – Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti area amongst both residents of the area and school children and residents of Delhi has been one of the main objectives of the project.
Sair E Nizamuddin is a Self Help Group of comprising of Basti youth which was formed in 2010 to provide employment to the young boys from Nizamuddin and also promote heritage appreciation. Since then, the group has been regularly conducting heritage walks through the Hazrat Nizamuddin Area, which includes the World Heritage Site of Humayun’s Tomb, and Rahim’s Tomb for school children as well as visitors. Over the years the heritage awareness programme has been established with many government and private schools in Delhi and NCR.
The heritage walk programme at the project area led by the trained community members has proved successful in imparting the relevance of cultural heritage to the visitors in the present context and establishes a continued relationship with the past. The main characteristics of the walks by the volunteers is to put emphasis on anecdotes, description of social life, tradition and customs while giving equal importance to written history. The community volunteers with a sense of great pride represent the cultural identity of the area which allows the visitor a different experiential learning. Besides helping tourism, education and cultural sector such walks have also emerged as an alternate career option for youth volunteers from the community to earn a livelihood.
Sair E Nizamuddin conducts Free Walks on Saturday and Sunday to Humayun’s Tomb Complex, Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti, Sunder Nursery and Rahim’s Tomb from 8:00 am to 10:00 | 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm
In 2015, Sair e Nizamuddin group signed a Memorandum of Understanding with India City Walks (ICW), an organisation dealing with experiential walks and excursions for visitors in India. The ICW also promotes the Nizamuddin walk conducted by the volunteers through joint programmes with the SHG. A group of Hotel Concierge from reputed hotels in Delhi attended the heritage walk at Basti Hazrat Nizamuddin led by Sair-e-Nizamuddin group. Through this collaboration, they have linked the group with the itinerary of many hotels. The youth members have also been performing Dastangoi, traditional art form of Urdu Storytelling at various platforms including World Book Fair, Urdu Festival, Jamia Millia Islamia, India Habitat Centre, Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies.
The group also has tie-up for heritage walks with travel agencies and educational organisations like Sita Travels, INTACH, Quest Initiative of Indian Express Group, NIE (Times of India initiative), Kolam Travels (Chennai), Tushita Travels (Delhi), Discover India Tours, NDMC schools.
It is always fun and knowledge to be part of heritage walks conducted by Sair E Nizamuddin
It was well organized. The speakers were well informed and helpful.
The heritage walk was a wonderful experience. It gave detailed information about the history, architecture and countless stories associated with the place thereby creating awareness and interest among children.
It was a wonderful and an amazing experience indeed for children to know more about history.
Nice and wonderful experience of learning our history in a better way and with activities we are able to learn in an effective way.