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Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Virender Sehwag ~ Nawab of Najafgarh ~ Najafgarh jheel in trouble

Virender Sehwag stoked with passion in WC 2011 and sure we are missing a batsman of his calibre.  India reached the Semifinals in WC 2015 at Australia winning 7 matches in a row – the opening stand was few and far between and Rohit Sharma was a disappointment in someways.   Touted as one unorthodox, Viru has had greater success in Tests having more than 7600 runs with two three hundreds to his credit.  Virender Sehwag was  the most destructive batsman on his day - holds multiple records including the highest score made by an Indian in Test cricket (319), the fastest triple century in the history of international cricket (reached 300 off only 278 balls); the fastest 250 by any batsman (in 207 balls against Sri Lanka on 3 December 2009 at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai); one of four batsmen in the world to have ever surpassed 300 twice in Test cricket. In March 2009, Sehwag smashed the fastest century ever scored by an Indian in ODI cricket, from 60 balls. On 8 December 2011, he hit his maiden double century in ODI cricket, against West Indies, becoming the second batsman after Sachin Tendulkar to reach the landmark.

Viru is known as Nawab of Najafgarh.   Najafgarh is located at the outskirts of the southwestern part of Delhi. It is the Biggest District of Delhi and has a mixture of rural and urban population from Delhi and Haryana.  Delhi Police Training Centre is located in vicinity. It is one of major training centre for all the recruitment of delhi police's constable, Sub-Inspector and other ranks. This place has a rich history.

Najafgarh was named after the Kiledar (Fort Administrator) Mirza Najaf Khan Baloch (1733–1782) of the Mughal Dynasty. During the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and part of the Siege of Delhi, the Battle of Najafgarh took place on 25 August 1857 between Indian rebels and British Raj soldiers. Approximately 800 people were killed.  In the 1st war of Indian independence, sepoys at Meerut rose inrevolt against the British and marched to Delhi. They captured the held the city too.  Eventually lack of coordination, being outnumbered by sophisticated arms wielding army of British ensured their defeat and suppression of the mutiny.  A large contingent led by  Brigadier John Nicholson was the spearhead of British army.   The mutineers of the Nimach troops suffered heavy casualties from artillery fire as they tried to cross or skirt the Najafgarh swamp.  That is some history of the place from where Virender Sehwag hailed ...

A newsitem reads that the future seems to be bleak for the Najafgarh jheel, and it’s all because of governmental apathy. The Delhi government and the Haryana government are apparently not much bothered about the restoration of the lake — a wetland vital for the revival of the water table in Gurgaon and South Delhi.  While the Delhi government plainly says that the lake does not exist anymore within the boundary of the Capital, the Haryana government is completely indifferent to the matter.  About seven months back the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) had filed a petition before the National Green Tribal, seeking direction to the governments of Delhi and Haryana to take necessary steps for the lake’s revival.    The lake was eventually drained after Delhi’s flood control department kept widening the Najafgarh drain to save the Capital from floods. The lake has a huge eco-tourism potential.

About half of the jheel once existed within Delhi’s boundary. But replying to the petition, the Delhi government said, “no such water body exists” at the marked location now. On its part, the Haryana government did not even bother to send a counsel to represent itself in six successive hearings before the National Green Tribunal.  Najafgarh jheel, another name for Sahibi river, tributary of river Yamuna, once occupied more than 300 square kilometres of area in southwest Delhi.  It finds a mention in the Delhi Gazetteer of 1883, and the Survey of India Map of 1911. Before Independence it used to be a rich habitat for birds and other wildlife, often visited by the British parties for hunting.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

6th April 2015.

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