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.”
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