02 August, 2021

Desert Phoenix

The Mughal sire's grave has been roused from the cinders of war

Aunohita Mojumdar
Desert Phoenix
A few weeks ago, Kabul's Bagh-e-Babar, the resting place of the first Mughal emperor, hosted a sumptuous lunch. The invitees were the workmen on the site as well as the neighbours, residents of the adjoining hill. Sheep were slaughtered in the ritual manner, and kabab and pulau were feasted on. It was a traditional thanksgiving in the best Afghan tradition, offered by an Uzbek businessman who traces his lineage to Emperor Zahiruddin Mohammad Babar.

In a city bombed to smithereens, not a single historical monument remains intact, and restoration has to be only one of the many contending priorities in a country where people's very lives have been shattered. But the project for the restoration of the garden that Babar, a prince in exile, created for a sense of peace and belonging in a strange land is also one of the ways in which a war-ravaged city is now being restored to its people.

Even before the completion of the project, the gates of the garden are open to the people of Kabul. Families and groups of friends are...

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