Sign In


The medieval city of Shahjahanabad/Old Delhi has a diversity of people, communities and cultures who are still engaged in occupations which can be termed as 'traditional', that is, belonging to the pre-industrial or pre-modern era. This project proposes to document people in Shahjahanabad who make a living by engaging in traditional occupations, some of which are on the brink of disappearance. These occupations were passed on to them as “family traditions”. They are dependent on physical labour, use minimal technology and their social relationships with their kinsfolk, employers and others around them are based on social networks. The medieval walled city is as important for these traditional occupations to survive as they are to the old city's survival.

The study will also map the skilled crafts around Shahjahanabad with in-depth analysis and study of the cost and sustainability of labour. The possibility of market support for these vanishing skills and crafts with the availability of institutionalised programmes will also be explore. would also be explored.

Research articles

The Last Calligrapher of Shahjahanabad

The Qalaigars of Shahjahanabad

Last Bhishtis of Shahjahanabad

Burden-carriers of Shahjahanabad

Embroidery Masters of Shahjahanabad



Uzma Azhar is a Ph.D. in Sociology and is currently teaching at the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.

She has years of teaching and research experience across institutes such as Jawaharal Nehru University (JNU), South Asian University (SAU), School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). She has published several academic books and is currently contributing course material for IGNOU’s UG and PG programmes. She has carried out an original study on Art Market and the Growth of the Private Galleries in Delhi for IFA. She has also written on issues of contemporary politics and culture for various journals and news media. She curated “Exploring Shahjahanabad in Old Delhi” an audio-visual module for Sahapedia (2018).

She is the President of Zameen Collective (a group of creative individuals from different fields) working actively in the fields of contemporary art practices, Performance Art, pedagogy and culture. Her work is around the issues of ethnic identity, culture, urbanism, minority politics, pedagogy, culture and Shahjahanabad.

Additional writing / Articles

Exploring Shahjahanabad in Old Delhi (2018)

Art market and the Growth of Galleries in Delhi (2017)

Issues in education among the Muslims of Delhi

Poets of Shahjahanabad (2018)

Triple Talaq (2017)

Jashn E Rekhta (2017)

Christians of Turkman Gate (2017)

> View Next: Online and offline livelihoods - An analysis of the impact of the gig economy on worker participation