In 2004, it was realised that one of the largest mosques in India – Jama Masjid – was in urgent need of repair. The issue of its degradation was highlighted through a Public Interest Litigation, but the plan was approved only two years later by the High court.
However, to this day, the monument is surrounded by chaos – traffic jams on narrow roads, illegal parking, rampant constructions and encroachment and numerous hawkers surround the monument.
Its original beauty has gotten lost in the filth that now surrounds it, and the community living around the mosque has been affected by it.
Nonetheless, there is some hope now. Jama Masjid might soon get the treatment it really deserves. According to the Hindustan Times, the Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation (SRDC) has forwarded two plans for review to the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), which they prepared along with architect Pradeep Sachdeva.
This came after Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal issued directions to expedite the project, an official privy to the development told HT.
According to model one by Pradeep, the need of the hour is relocating Meena Bazaar. This will ensure a safe and clean environment and the monument’s “historic aesthetics in coherence with the iconic structure.” Recommendations have been made to decongest the area with the help of underground tunnels at the Nukkad Faiz Bazaar-Daryaganj crossing, Netaji Subhash Marg-Nishadraj Marg traffic signal, and Heritage Road Dharampura-Netaji Subhash Marg, reports HT.
He also suggests removing all boundary walls and building a low parapet wall along the precinct boundary and making it a pedestrian-only zone.
The SRDC’s plan has been prepared by its consultant (tourism project) Vijay Singh. He has suggested redeveloping Meena Bazaar instead of moving it to a new location. He wants to make it centrally air-conditioned. He wants to develop sporting facilities, community facilities, art and culture centre, and parking beneath the top level. He has also suggested redeveloping Subhash Park as a World Heritage Centre with an auditorium, museum and a library.
Whichever plan the SPA decides to go with, we hope the restoration of the Jama Masjid is done quickly, without any further delay. The glory of the monument should be immediately restored, keeping in mind the people who have been living around it for years, so that none suffer.