Chiragh-e-Dilli, or the Lamp of Delhi, was a title given to the fourteenth-century Sufi poet Nasiruddin Dehlavi, from which a neighbourhood in Delhi derives its name, as does this blog. The blog explores, discovers and suggests ways of seeing and writing the city.

Delhi for us is not just a field, a backdrop, a grid or a context. We are located and invested in its ‘being and becoming’—it tells us how and what to see, feel and imagine. We can sometimes be found sitting across Bashiruddin Ahmad, drinking endless cups of chai with him, as he draws out meticulous observations on the city. Other times, we are walking through weekly bazaars and haggling for earrings, or catching a battery rickshaw, the metro or a mudrika across the endlessly circular city for a jalebi. We are forever looking for those tiny corners of comfort and conversations, through congested alleyways of life and living, which make the city possible.

You can reach us at chiraghdilli@gmail.com.

The Core Team

Samprati Pani is a social anthropologist working on the streets and bazaars of Delhi through intersections of urban informality, design and spatial practices. She is currently a postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Max Weber Forum for South Asian Studies, New Delhi, and is working on a project on repair and maintenance practices of marketplaces in north India. Samprati has previously worked in academic publishing for many years and was the co-founder of a design studio that specialises in book design. A walk in the crowded bazaars of Delhi, she believes, is a cure for migraine, heartache and any other ailment. She is the editor of the blog and can be contacted at samprati.pani@gmail.com.

Sarover Zaidi, a philosopher and social anthropologist, has worked on Indian Ocean architectures, urbanism and everyday life in Bombay. She has previously lived in a Buddhist nunnery, worked on issues of poverty, health and right to food across Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, and learnt how to centre clay pots. She obsessively collects images of Hindu goddesses and iconography in Islam and  Christianity. Sarover curates ‘Elementary Forms’, an interdisciplinary forum on art, architecture and anthropology, and currently teaches at School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, and Jindal School of Art & Architecture, Sonipat. She tweets at @bombaywalee and can be contacted at saroverzaidi@gmail.com.