“She wouldn’t tell me her name, and she was heavily veiled, so, I couldn’t see her face. When I tried to find out who she was, she warned me that if she didn’t speak to you guys, our country would be reduced to rubble. That’s when I came looking for you. Oh, and she spoke to me in Arabic.”

‘Sir, Jai Hind. Asaram is trying to deceive us! Sir, the man has asked his son to collect more of his supporters during the night and block his departure in the morning!’

As communal relations between Hindus and Muslims deteriorated and rioting became a recurrent feature of public life in many parts of India, the space for Hindu nationalism reopened. But it was a space that the Congress never vacated.

The architectural historian Percy Brown, writing in the 1940s, noted that the Sayyids lacked the resources to build forts, cities, palaces and mosques on the scale of their predecessors and that all that survives of their work is their tombs.

Two petite girls in revealing purple outfits were lurking under the sign. They smiled and made suggestive gestures at Raghu; fluttering their eyelashes, flashing him innocent I’ll- show-you-a good-time looks and shy glances, sticking out their chests.