Documenting heritage for posterity
This blog celebrates India’s cultural diversity through lesser-known tales about the country’s food and history
Most Indian households have an unsaid afternoon ritual of all family members congregating (usually on the terrace) and chatting over several cups of tea while gorging on hot samosas with chutney. But how many of us know that samosa, the quintessential Indian street snack, was actually brought to India from the Middle East?
An array of similar facts and interesting stories from history have been uncovered and shared on ‘Tawarikh Khwani’, a heritage blog by Dr Rehan Asad that was launched in 2019. This blog (tawarikhkhwani.com) offers well-researched and informative insights into the many stories from India’s tangible and intangible heritage by focusing on aspects such as food, monuments, culture, among others. that do not feature in our history books. The inception of ‘Tawarikh Khwani’, stemmed from Asad’s ardent love for history and heritage. “Exploring heritage sites around the country has been my hobby since childhood and history has been my passion,” says the professor in anatomy who shuttles between Noida and Saudi Arabia.
Hailing from a small town called Pilibhit near Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, Asad was always interested in exploring monuments and towns, something he has translated in this blog that he co-runs with his friend, Khalid Bin Umar from Noida—he has been living in the Middle East for a few years. Umar, a management professional, Umar is a history buff and a polymath. The blog also has a presence on social media platforms—Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
The blog name, ‘Tawarikh Khwani’—Tawarikh is Arabic for history and Khwani is Persian for ‘recitation’—explains their works the best (the duo attempts to document history). Speaking about the inspiration behind their initiative, Umar shares, “Our motto, which propels us, has always been ‘If we know where we came from, we may better know where to go. If we know who we came from, we may better understand where to go’.” In that sense, through ‘Tawarikh Khwani’, Umar and Asad try to revive the Indian heritage as well as communicate the “value and significance of the heritage” to the present generation so it can shape the future.
A sense of community
Their content repository, which earlier featured write-ups by only Asad and Umar, currently has about 25 voluntary contributors from across India. The articles have been divided into different genres. “The history of the country is not just documented through monuments. It is also these intangible aspects that are equally a part of our culture,” mentions Asad. Along with the blog, they also have a YouTube channel (and a Spotify podcast) through which they frequently stream talks on various elements of the history and culture of India. Looking at Islamic history through Indic roots is a major part of their work—one can access videos on evolution of Urdu, the history of Ghurids, and more on their YouTube channel. With ‘Tawarikh Khwani’, Asad and his team seek to present honest narratives to the public without misinterpreting history