In a Delhi that is slowly forgetting its history, Karwaan, a student-led Heritage Exploration Initiative, aims to revive the love for Delhi’s heritage.

“We began our journey in September 2019, when we organized a heritage walk to Tughlaqabad Fort with one of the most famous history buffs in Delhi, Sohail Hashmi. Since then we have organized many walks and lectures by historians at heritage sites. Our basic aim behind this initiative is to promote historical sites among university students.” says Eshan Sharma, a second-year student of B.A. (Hons) History from Dyal Singh College of the University of Delhi (DU). Along with a team of five other students- Nishant Singh, Aditya, Abhigyaa Mittal, Mansi Rautela, Nandesh Yadav- they started the initiative. Since then, they have conducted several walks around Delhi, along with organizing lectures.

Eshan Sharma, the founder of Karwaan, said to DU Beat, “We saw that people do not remember their heritage; do not remember their origins. So, we started with discovering Delhi’s heritage along with one of the most renowned history buffs of Delhi and one of our mentors, Sohail Hashmi. We then conducted several other walks in the historical sites of Delhi.”

They noticed heritage walks in the city costs around INR 600 a walk, which is a tad bit pricey for students, they decided to keep the charges low- charging between INR 200-300 a walk, with the lectures being free of cost. 

Currently, stuck in quarantine, they have been organizing a series of online lectures on history. These Facebook Live Lecture Series, which started on 4th April and will likely continue till the 30th, are talks where they invite renowned historians and scholars. Running for almost an hour daily at 6 PM, this is also an attempt to promote #StayHomeStaySafe. 

“As we are all getting bored right now, we at Karwaan decided that we must do something to keep us engaged in these times. This is also when students can make the best use of their free time by listening to these great sessions. So, we decided to conduct a series of online lectures. So far, we’ve had speakers like Manimugdha Sharma, Sohail Hashmi, Rana Safvi and Vikramjit Singh Rooprai who’ve spoken on topics like decoding myths about Aurangzeb, Mughal Paintings and the fourth city of Delhi,” adds Sharma.

Operating mostly from Facebook, they choose only those historians who have garnered genuine interest in teaching students and indulging in a deep discourse about their chosen topic. Speaking of lockdown, Eshan says, “We might extend the online lecture series if the lockdown extends after May 3rd.” 

Karwaan Heritage Walks, via Social Media
Karwaan Heritage Walks, via Social Media

The diversity of Karwaan’s attendees comprises of curious professionals, other historians and students beyond the history background. Talking of Karwaan’s expedition to various historical parts of Delhi, Eshan counts Tughlaqabad Fort, Mehrauli, Qutub Complex, a walk to Chandni Chowk and Jama Masjid. Karwaan also conducted lectures on Delhi’s history which gained a huge response from the attendees. “They take great interest in exploring and discovering Delhi,” Eshan continues. 

They plan on taking Karwaan to a higher level by launching their own history company in the future. “We are learning from the experts right now, we are inviting historians to the walk, hoping that someday we’ll lead the walk too.” 

Concluding, Eshan reiterates, any student can join them irrespective of their educational background. “They can learn at Karwaan, suggest changes; if they want to hear a speaker, we are just a message away. This is a great way to make their lockdown worthwhile!”

Interested students can check their Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/karwaaninitiative or Instagram handle @karwaanheritage.

Featured Image Credits: Karwaan’s Social Media

Satviki Sanjay

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Anandi Sen

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‘Main akela hi chala tha janib-e-manzil magar, Log saath aate gaye aur karwaan banta gaya’(I started all alone towards the goal but people kept joining and it began to turn into a caravan.) These lines by Majrooh Sultanpuri, painted on the walls of Shaukat (Irrfan Khan)’s blue van speak a lot about what Akarsh Khurana’s Karwaan revolves around. The movie, released on 3rd August, has grossed over Rs. 12.50 crores till now. Its story revolves around the intricacies of human relationships and the complexities of our choices. The movie’s aesthetic revolves around an unconventional road trip, Prateek Kuhad’s soulful music, Shaukat’s blue van, a rebellious teenager right out of a hangover, the peril of human choices, and the backdrop of the most scenic places in the South of India. Avinash, played by Dulquuer Salmaan, is an unsatisfied employee at an IT firm in Bangalore, who gets a call about his father’s death in a bus accident. He travels with his companion, Shaukat (Irrfan Khan) from Bangalore to Kochi to retrieve his father’s corpse. On their way, they pick up Tanya (Mithila Palkar), a troubled teenager, full of character and rebellion, ready to take on the world in her own ways. Sometimes getting lost is the best way to find yourself. This lies at the heart of Karwaan, as three flawed, complex characters take on this journey, with bumps of its own, and find themselves along the way. This beautiful movie has a lot to offer, from realisations about the mortality and unpredictability of life to a closer look at the complexities of human emotions, and the courage required to embrace fresh starts.  A few lessons that a student should take away from this heart-warming tale are: Difference between rebellion and stupidity Tanya’s character, flawed in its own way,  reflects upon the millennials today. Avinash, though a little conservative in his personality (reflects the opinions of his father), does open her up to understanding the difference between bagaawat(rebellion) and bewaquoofi (stupidity). The former being a drive for change, and the latter only bringing destruction in its path. Always choose passion Avinash works in a dead-end job in an IT firm in Bangalore and shares a strained relationship with his father, blaming him for not letting him follow his dream of becoming a photographer. He resents his father for charting out a career path for him that leaves him unhappy and unsatisfied. The journey reminds him of his love for photography and makes him want to forgive his father for not understanding. Life is short, live it more often The movie begins with the untimely demise of Tanya’s grandmother and Avinash’s father. Avinash’s father dies with a heavy heart and a letter full of regrets. It makes you reflect on the unpredictability of life and how there are so many things we should say when we have the chance, and time to. Have more courage! Even though Irrfan Khan is struggling from a debilitating disease, he’s still the most vibrant, energetic and quick-witted Shaukat that the movie could have asked for. His convincing performance and humour bring life to the journey. If there is something that everyone should take away from this story, is how courage is grace under fire and the only way out is through. Feature Image Credits: The Indian Express Muskan Sethi [email protected]]]>