Inspired by Ahmedabad’s nomination to the UNESCO heritage list, the Ahmedabad Sunni Muslim Waqf Committee will be using the opportunity of city’s 605th foundation day, which falls on Friday, to chalk out a policy for promotion of Ahmedabad’s rich heritage, along with establishing an importance of this day.
Organising such an event for the first time at Juma Masjid, one of the earliest monuments that the city has today, as an effort to reclaim its shared past, nearly a dozen non-government organisations associated with preservation of city’s heritage would also come together and hold a discussion on ways to promote Ahmedabad’s heritage as well as its foundation day as one of the festivals.
“Today, the Kankaria festival in Ahmedabad is more popular than its foundation day. With such a thought, we have been receiving various suggestions from citizens and NGOs. So we decided to organise such an event on its foundation day. We want the people to celebrate it as one of the festivals, like Diwali and Eid,” said the chairman of Ahmedabad Sunni Muslim Waqf Committee Rizwan Qadri.
The discussions by citizens from all walks of life and communities would span on how the younger generation can be involved in this movement, collection and compilation of documents and facts both known and not so known among city residents sharing their knowledge of city’s past and their ideas for its future.
These will start at 7 pm and conclude with a “Chaadar Peshgi” at Sultan Ahmad Shah’s tomb. Sultan Ahmad Shah, along with three other religious people, laid the foundation stone of this thriving commercial capital in 1411 AD. A photography exhibition will also be put up on the sidelines within the precincts of the Juma Masjid on the occasion.
Bhavna Ramrakhiani, one of the participants at the event believes that the idea of congregating at Juma Masjid is to remind people that the city of Ahmedabad has a shared history and no one part can superimpose itself over this composite culture.
“Despite the city has grown much beyond its walls, it is the spirit of the city that we wish to revive through a shared interaction. As the city completes its 605th year of thriving existence, we as the concerned citizens have seen a lot of changes in the recent past. For instance, the emblem of Ahmadabad, the Sidi Saiyed Jali has been slowly getting replaced by the ‘Chabutra’.There has been a move to remain silent on the Islamic foundations of the city whether through the heritage walks being run by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation or the videos created by the state tourism department on the city,” she said.
Though the celebration is for the preservation and promotion of city’s heritage, the organisers are expecting least from the state government authorities. “Nothing has been done the in last 600 years. How can we expect them to act now? Even if we seek its support, politics would find its share in such a movement too,” added Qadri.