Saturday, February 23, 2008

Abdullah Hall

It would not be unfair to say that Aligarh has two old and historical forts namely, Aligarh Fort and Abdullah Hall (Fort). I can’t comment much about the first one but the second one fascinated the imagination of most aligs of my time.

Abdullah Hall is a miniature walled city in its own. It houses several astabals (hostels), granaries (Dining Halls), aslah-khanas (Warden Houses), arenas and training grounds (playgrounds). Replenishment and supplies for the residents of this fort are procured in a highly secure arrangement. Besides this, I have heard that punctuality and attendance are two important customs there. There is a bell (ghanti) before all the meal and tea timings. All the inmates are counted before putting them in well-guarded pavilions. There are only two gates: Lal Diggy Gate and Marris Road Gate. The whole fort has 2 feet wide wall painted in brick-red colour. One side of the Fort wall is exposed to a road leading to Marris Road crossroads. But, this doesn’t compromise the security of the fort as there is 8-10 feet wide Nallah between the road and the Fort wall. I always wondered that this nallah might be inhabited by some unseen crocodiles ;-) While riding my bicycle on that road which has Zia compound on the other side of it, I always fancied the world on the other side of fence, rather “the Great Wall of China”. I never knew how it was in there but was always curious. To tell you the truth, these were the thoughts of 90 percent of the Aligarian boys of my time.

Recently, I got to know that this dream can now be fulfilled and scores of people have already had an aerial view of the mysterious Abdullah Hall. Someone told me that this year Aligarh Numaish had a brand new item (tamasha). They were offering a Helicopter ride for 1200 rupees. The helicopter gave an aerial view of the entire Aligarh city and two rounds over Abdullah Hall. The popularity of this khel can be deliberated by the fact that the charges went up to Rs 1800/- towards the end of Numaish this year.

People from all parts of the country visit Aligarh to meet their relatives (especially the Aligarian cousins) based in the fort. I have also had a few chances of seeing the Provost’s office at Abdullah Hall on a few Sundays. I would love to share the uncommon but common experience. Obviously, uncommon only for non-aligs and common for all aligs.

8:45 AM IST Sunday
Gentlemen dressed smartly waiting at the main entrance on Marris Road for the gates to open for common public.

9:00 AM IST Sunday
The Gate opens. Motorbike riders zoom in their bikes along with their pillion accomplices. Bicycle riders, slowly and shyly, follow them.


Scene outside the Provost’s office and Hostel Main Gate
The visitors can be seen posing with their bikes. Some of them sporting designer sunglasses and watches. The air seems to be filled with concocted fragrance of perfumes and bodysprays. The bearers are ready with their respective Hostel Registers and bicycles. Well, because the Fort is so much spread out that they actually need bicycles to reach a hostel quickly. One can see them screaming the name of the hostel they are assigned to (Sultania Hostel, Waheedia Hostel, New Hostel, TW Hostel and MJ).
Visitors grab the registers quickly and make the entries.

A peek into the register makes everyone notice that the relationship column has maximum instances of "cousin" followed by a double quote indicationg ditto.

9:15 AM IST Sunday
The girls start coming out to meet the visitors or to go out for the “Outing (The official word!)”.
To describe this, I need help from our Tarana. “Har sham hai sham-e-misr yahan, har shab hai shab e sheeraz yahan...” I would love adding to this… “Har itwaar hai jaise Eid yahan” Dressed in their best outfits, some of the girls start coming out of the small side-door, next to main gate, as if the stage is all set and the ramp has been laid down for them.
While the visitors wait for the person they want to meet, they don’t mind observing and discussing other people around. This is the time when one comes to know that “The world is round and a very small place”. Everyone seems to everyone here. If you haven’t known them till today, it’s time you recognize them and add them to your list of knowns.
After a while, it becomes a sport to identify the “visitor” and the ‘visited’ by either their names or their relatives. In no time, it is Noon.

12:00 Noon IST Sunday
Closing time for visiting hours, first session. If you couldn’t meet the person you wanted to, please come back at 3:00 PM when the second session starts. If you have already met the person but aren’t done with your chat, kindly leave the premises. Milk Bar and Kwality could be where you are heading, now.


Fast forward to 5:00 PM IST Sunday
End of visiting hours for the day. Visitors sitting in the lawns, verandahs, near the fences, over the benches are disturbed by the guards of the Fort. Bibi…chaliye.. visiting ka time khatm hua….
One can hear the contesting voices: Abhi to paanch minute baaqi hain.. bhaeee… or Haan han, bas ja rahe hain….

That brings a visitor’s visit to an end. Only the privileged ones who are related to wardens get to catch the inside glimpse of Abdullah “Fort”. Others return contented after the meeting with their relatives and counterparts in Abdullah Hall.

~ Qais

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21 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

assalamalikum,
this piece of art "ABDULAH FORT" no doubt a real picture of that big fort .i myself an abdullahite ,but never mind its cool it seems this person has really spent some good time inside abdullah fort .I cant stop myself laugfhing after going through this...a true picture of abdullah ...i am afraid is it still the same or anythinghas changed there....
but its also true tht extra security has to b there....

Monday, February 25, 2008 3:13:00 PM  
Blogger Qais said...

Walekum as-salam
It's an honour to receive a comment from a person who has been inside those walls. Well, the writer has just been a visitor and never had the opportunity to live there ;-)

Thanks so much for your comments!

Monday, February 25, 2008 3:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Qais Sahab Salaams
Great effort by you. It bring back smiles on the faces of All Aligs.Bad news is that things have changed. The advent of mobile phones and Free Tata to Tata culture has changed the whole scenario. I have been told that its just a msg " Waiting at Snack Shoppe" !!! No more waste of time. The terminology has changed from visit to Date

Monday, February 25, 2008 7:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Qaisar sb, you have given the true picture but i suggest u may add this also.......

Mere Ek dost gie abdullah hall , bilkul tinch hoker.............register mein naam likha.......aur idhar udhar ghoomne lage.............bar bar ghadi dekhe ja rehe the .........unki bhi 'so called cousin' appear nahin ho rehi thieen..........bearer ko thoda danta bhi , kya hua ........... jaldi jao ............bahut der ho rehi hai.................thoda dhons bhi jamaya................bearer bechara jaldi jaldi gaya.................aur laut kar aya ........to mere dost thoda peeche hat gaye ..........is intezar mein shayed wo aarehi hon............bearer ne status batana shru kiya ............fulan ka kamra band hai ................falan LG ke yahan gai hain ...................aur jab hare dost ke 'cousin' ka naam aya to usne keha ...........................ke...Bibi ji ne Milne se mana kar diya hai.

Dr.Ismaeelkhan 1996

Monday, February 25, 2008 11:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assalaamalaikum,I must congratulate you on your acute sense of observation. As a former resident of this 'fort' I am now challenged to take some time and send you a rebuttal to this piece......equally detailed and humurous..thanks for awakening oldmemories from AMU!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 1:39:00 AM  
Blogger CB said...

Excellent description. I was in AMU during 1954-58. We had during our time some "conquerers" of the Abdullah Fort who ventured to go inside from the wall in front of the then TALEEM Manzil... This was considered the height of chivalry at great risk.

SMHasan
MCom 1958

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 12:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ASAK

This peice is great. i was in abdullah from 02-05 so u can say one of the recent residents,and it revised my memory.thought i hav spent some of the most memorable moments there but this things still is very unique there.thaks for revising past

Wednesday, February 27, 2008 9:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is truly masterpiece work by you..everything written makes me feel so nostalgic..i was dere from 1996-2003....did engineering fron dere...ur blogs has put me in tears....too gud...and yeah even i was given a nickname...in my first year engineering....it was all fun....Cheers for our gr8 university....

Thursday, March 13, 2008 8:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is truly masterpiece work by you..everything written makes me feel so nostalgic..i was dere from 1996-2003....did engineering fron dere...ur blogs has put me in tears....too gud...and yeah even i was given a nickname...in my first year engineering....it was all fun....Cheers for our gr8 university....

Thursday, March 13, 2008 8:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asak
very vivid and true description. I have been an Abdullite from 2000-05 and this piece amused me a lot.
Despite being in a jail, the best part of my life was spent there.
The Saturday night preparations, the Much Awaited Sunday, everything was so exciting there.
Things have changed a lot there, but its still an enigma for the Visitors.

Monday, March 31, 2008 10:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Asad Ansari said...

Salaams Bhai
Your blogs are awesome! Came across by chance and since morning, I haven't done anything in the office accept read your blogs. Keep it up.

"Bibi Chaliye! Visiting ka time khatam ho gaya" Ha! Ha! Ha! The voice just resonated in my ears (I too used to visit my "cousin" LoL)

Saturday, January 03, 2009 5:37:00 PM  
Blogger Najam said...

Yaar, It was really fun, waiting there and meeting cousins and SO-CALLED "COUSINS". We used to wait for whole week for the friday and sunday to come. When, I first visited this fort in 1991, I was shocked to see, ALIGARH KI PARIYAAN, aur sab ke sab ek hi jagha pe. and then it become a tradition for me to visit there on every other alternate day. Nice yaar. I really miss my old days there.........

Thursday, January 22, 2009 5:49:00 PM  
Blogger Naaz iraqui said...

asak,

this is nodoubt awsome i wonder even if u have't visted inside how much you know.God i myself an abdullahite, and i know craze among the girls for sunday. they used to start prepearing frm sat only.. i was giggling while reading the blog. lovely witty work .. hmm.. wonder whn this idea stuk in your mind to write a blog on Abdullaha hall, hopefully not at the visiting place at a time of waiting for someone..

Saturday, March 28, 2009 4:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Shabnam Pakeeza said...

Interesting. The way you have summed up the things is adorable. I would like to give a link to your blog on mine so that readers may enjoy your posts too.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009 12:14:00 AM  
Anonymous henna...d most common name in abdullah hall said...

wah...ekdum classy.i'v posted d link 2 dis blog on my facebook account.....saara abdullah hall hai wahan.i wud say...beautiful...'coz u brought a smile 2 my face..dose were d days.

Saturday, October 24, 2009 7:58:00 PM  
Blogger Najam said...

Voh Jab Yaad Aaye Bahut Yaad Aaye.. Bhoole Nahi Abdullah Aur AMU ke Bhulaye. I really miss AMU.

Sunday, October 25, 2009 12:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Abdullah hall ki yaad aa gai ...
I was also an Abdullite 4m 2003-06, n those 3 yrs r da most memorable days of my lyf...

Saturday, November 21, 2009 9:09:00 PM  
Blogger sadaat said...

and among all, there were a few like me who really had cousin and real sister living there...but when you say this in there... hehehe..those sarcastic eyes!!!! haan mere bhai sab yehi kahte hain!!! lol...

Tuesday, January 05, 2010 2:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks

Thursday, June 30, 2011 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Fakhir said...

:) - fakhir

Thursday, June 30, 2011 4:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asak. . . . .i too hv been a part of abdullah hall 4rm 09-12..........i must say a gr8 wrk done by u sir :) :D

Wednesday, August 01, 2012 9:35:00 PM  

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