Zakir Nagar: Serving the Emperors’ Food in a Ghetto

Cafe Dissensus Everyday

By Sadiq Zafar
After overpowering Ibrahim Lodi and Rana Sanga, Babur established the Mughal Empire in Delhi. Since Babur was busy fighting his rivals, his nomadic life of warfare necessitated all those things, which were required for a longer stay. The Mughals came to India with their distinctive tradition, culture, art, architecture, and culinary. As Mughals were here to stay, their cooks got trained in the tradition of sub-continental food, which produced a fusion  between Central Asia, the region of Babur’s origin, and North India, the region which Babur occupied. The taste of cuisine varied from mild to extremely spicy, with a distinctive aroma. These scrumptious delicacies are famous throughout the sub-continent and there are people who serve them even today. Being a politically important city, Delhi still carries much of the Mughal traces as part of their legacy.

Zakir Nagar in Delhi is a residential pocket, a Muslim ghetto…

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Four Poems

Happiness is to share your niece’s work who’s a budding poet/writer.

Cafe Dissensus Everyday

By Fatima Zehra


loving you came in
pieces; empty glances,
broken promises, and everything in

why me, you said and
I swear it cost me more
than my sanity to make you believe
that wrecked ships are not lost,

they’re kissing the depths of
the ocean of unending sorrow
and everlasting regrets until
they’re found, or rather
discovered, for anything so
beautifully broken deserves
to be healed, and ironically,
in the hands of those who broke it

and you said I was insane,
I said I’d rather be.


what a sinner you’ve made me
fingers dipped in honey
soul, draped in vanity
left me wobbly kneed
and home sick,
like it was none of your business
because you made it look
like loving you was a sin.
an irrevocable, unapologetic sin
so much that it seems
like I’ve overpowered satan
yet you manage to look like a…

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The spatial apartheid of marginalized sections in India

Cafe Dissensus Everyday

By Sadiq Zafar

A procession of Dalits was attacked by a group of upper caste men in Bhima-Koregaon, Maharashtra. In UP’s Muzaffarnagar, a Dalit was beaten and forced to chant ‘Jai Sri Ram’. On any given day, a few news anchors reveal a new geographical setting, where a Dalit has been subjected to violence, threat or abuse. Many a time, such incidents are filmed by the abusers and circulated over social media, which becomes the news later. In the diverse Indian society, crime against the marginalized and vulnerable section is also diverse in nature: from burning of houses to parading naked to mob lynching and rape, every humiliation faced by the oppressed section is heart-wrenching. The majoritarian ire is faced by the Dalits, adivasis, and religious minorities, who feel annihilated in India.

Though crime against the scheduled castes and religious minorities is not new and has a trail of torture and genocide, the…

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Delhi: The City and the Abuse of Power

Cafe Dissensus Everyday

By Sadiq Zafar

On a Sunday morning in Delhi, I took an auto rickshaw to visit a photographic exhibition on Sufi shrines of Delhi by Prof. Iqtedar Alam of Jamia Millia Islamia. The exhibition space within the Rabindra Bhawan, designed by the legendary architect Habib Rahman and located near the bureaucrats’ den in central Delhi, has seen much change in recent times, resulting in a loss of its originality. The design which became an embodiment of Nehruvian modern architecture, showcasing the liberation of architecture in India, has been revamped under the veil of functionality and modernity. It is now symptomatic of the skyline of Delhi and its NCR region, where commercialisation has resulted in glass-enveloped spaces.

Alterations in the building, which was designed in the memory of the legendary thinker, Rabindranath Tagore, make evident the disrespectful behaviour of decision makers towards an architectural entity. A recent plan is to redevelop…

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In The Name of Heritage and Culture

Cafe Dissensus Everyday

By Sadiq Zafar

In the name of heritage and culture, the Art of Living (AOL), Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s renowned spiritual organization, held a supposedly spiritual gathering – World Culture Festival in March, 2016 – with the help of the current government of a democratic nation, on the fragile floodplain of river Yamuna in the National Capital Territory of Delhi. When the federal government of a welfare state funds an obtrusive event on an ecologically sensitive floodplain of one of the most polluted rivers of a struggling nation, then, as a student who has worked on the betterment of that floodplain, has some questions to ask to the authorities and to the custodians of the nation.

In the guise of promoting Indian heritage and culture, a stage of a privately organized event was erected on the fragile floodplain of river Yamuna, which was shared by the Prime Minister of the…

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The Burning Lamp of the Synagogue in Cochin

Cafe Dissensus Everyday

By Sadiq Zafar

South Asia’s beautiful landscapes reveal the imprints of its diverse heritage and culture. While traveling through the Great Escarpment, one could see minimal presence of human interventions on the Western Ghats. Every turn uncovers layers after layers of natural beauty which has its own historicity. Exploring the south western tip of the Indian peninsula, one reaches the most urbanized state of India, Kerala, popularly known as God’s own country.

Kerala is a province that sits in the lap of nature. It’s known for the earnestness of its people, the scent of spices, and homemade chocolates. One important urban agglomeration in Kerala is Cochin, one of the largest port cities in India, having shipyards, container terminals, and witness to numerous sea activities.

The biennale event in the Jewish town The biennale event in the Jewish town

Historically Cochin has witnessed many foreign invasions including Portuguese, Dutch, and British. And to experience this cultural confluence, tourists…

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Vicious Flies Over Sparse Butterflies of Azamgarh

From the ruins of intellectual landscape to the witch hunt stories, Azamgarh is a perfect example of exclusion and discrimination in contemporary India.