Tuesday, December 1, 1998

A Swami in Politics

Legends & Anecdotes of Hyderabad – 42

A Swami in Politics
By Narendra Luther

The original name of Swami Ramananda Tirtha was Venkatesh Bhavu Rao Khedgikar. He was born on 3rd October, 1903 in a jagir village of Gulbarga district. His father led a wandering life as an ascetic and so Venkatesh was educated on the charities of relatives. He had to do menial work in the school mess to earn his keep. His ambition at an early age was to renounce the world become a sanyasi.

As a schoolboy he came under the influence of Lokmanya Tilak. On the day of the latter's death, he resolved to remain a celibate and to dedicate his life to the service of the nation. He defied the ban on the wearing of the Gandhi cap in the school and left his studies during Mahatma Gandhi's non-cooperation movement. Then he joined the Congress in the then Bombay state (now Maharashtra) and toured many villages.

At the age of 21 he resumed his interrupted education and finished his M.A. from Poona. He thesis was on the evolution of democracy. When other students played games, he either read books or meditated.

Thereafter he joined the trade union movement under the renowned labour leader, N.M.Joshi at Bombay. That enabled him to study at close quarters the living conditions of the poor in the slums of Bombay. Thus he acquired first-hand acquaintance with poverty and exploitation, both in rural as well as urban areas. While on a visit to Delhi in connection with his trade union work in the winter of 1926, he was struck by paraplegia –paralysis of the lower part of the body. It took him 18 months to make a reasonable recovery to regain his body movements.

In 1928 he was arrested for the first time for his trade union activities in Mumbai. After his release he found that his lingering physical disability affected his arduous trade union work. So in 1929, with Joshi's permission he left that field and became a headmaster of a school in Osmanbad. There, he says in his memoirs, he became aware of the repression of Hindus in the Hyderabad state. The Hindus wanted to start a high school. That required the permission of the government and it was not given. Then somebody found a loophole. A middle school existed there and no permission was needed to upgrade it. So donations were collected and, despite opposition from the government, a high school came into being with Tirtha as the headmaster.

On 14th January, 1930 he formally took sanyas and took the name and appellation of Swami Ramananda Tirtha by which he became famous. He started subsisting only on alms and devoted himself fully to the cause of education.

In 1937, he was invited to the State Educational Conference in Hyderabad. Here he analysed the prevailing political conditions and came to the conclusion that what seemed to be a communal situation was in reality a two-fold phenomenon. It was a combination of feudal autocracy and British imperialism. He found that people were not yet prepared for waging a battle for freedom. When he was invited to address the Osmania University students on the occasion of the birthday of Lord Krishna, he found seething discontent amongst the Hindu students there.

The same year at the Maharashtra Conference held at Latur, he was urged to leave the field of education to join active politics. He did so on 9th June, 1938. The leaders felt the need of a statewide organization. Tirtha found that adequate popular enthusiasm was lacking in urban though it existed in rural areas. He felt that the members of the Provisional Committee of the banned State Congress going round in circles in their fruitless negotiations with the government.

Leaders of the banned State Congress under Mahatma Gandhi’s advice started Satyagraha on 24th October, 1938. It was conceived not as a mass agitation; but was to be conducted in small batches. Four to five determined and tested political workers were handpicked for each batch with a leader who was called a ‘dictator’. Two or three such satyagrahas were organized every week from different localities. Swami Ramananda Tirtha was appointed the dictator of the second batch of satyagrahis on 27th October.

Before embarking on the satyagraha he notified the Commissioner of Police of his intention to do so in the afternoon near the Putli Bowli Police Station. He addressed the Commissioner as "Dear Sweet Self" and closed his letter with "In Lord, with best regards".

In a long statement before undertaking the satyagraha, Ramananda Tirtha stated that “opposition to tyranny is the worship of God.” He and his colleagues were promptly arrested and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for 18 months. In jail, they were given three times the prescribed work-load for prisoners and because they could not complete it, were subjected to further punishment. During this spell in jail, he spent 111 days in solitary confinement.

The satyagraha continued for exactly two months. There were eighteen batches in all. The selected place was notified in advance. A crowd gathered there. If he could, the dictator made a speech before his arrest. The members carried the Congress flags, which were promptly snatched by the police, and the agitators were arrested. The Araya Samaj and the Hindu Mahasabha were also doing satyagraha at that time and the Congress leaders felt that their satyagraha was getting mixed up with them and was thus acquiring a communal tinge. If it continued, the allegation of communalism levelled by the government would start appearing to be correct. So the Congress decided to withdraw the agitation on 24th December, 1938.

Swami Ramananda Tirtha dominated the political scene in the State thereafter. With all his worldly possessions handy – a bowl, a blanket, a copy of the Gita and a staff -- he was ever ready for arrest and it did not seem to matter to him whether he was inside the jail or outside. Finally, he was able to achieve all his political and socio-economic goals. After the integration of Hyderabad with India, he fought the Communist hold over Telangana, got elected to the Parliament for two terms, was instrumental in introducing the tenancy and land reforms and the establishment of the new State of Andhra Pradesh. Thereafter he retired to his Ashram and devoted himself to education and meditation in the village of Tottapalle. He lived there till 1972 when, having been taken ill, he was brought to Hyderabad to breathe his last.

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Sunday, November 1, 1998

A Tahsildar and a Prime Minister

A Tahsildar and a Prime Minister
By Narendra Luther

From 1914 to 1919 the seventh Nizam did not have a prime minister or a ministry. He ruled all by himself. In 1919 he set up an executive council with a president who was equivalent to prime minister.

For that post he selected Sir Ali Imam who was a prominent barrister of Bihar. He had served as a member of the executive council of the Viceroy. At that time he was a member of the executive council of Bihar and Orissa.

A year before his appointment, as a barrister, Sir Ali Imam had occasion to visit Hyderabad in connection with a court case. When his train stopped at Veyjapur station he saw a huge fawning crowd gathered around a bulky, pompous fellow at the platform. While people were paying their respects to him, liveried servants were rushing in and out of the train loading the first-class compartment with suitcases, trunks, bedrolls, tiffin-carriers, fruit baskets, bouquets, spittoons, silver tumblers, towels and a small carpet for prayers and numerous other oddments.

When the train started the beefy official looked at Sir Ali Imam condescendingly and introduced himself. “I am Zain-ul-Abidin, tahsildar of the taluk. I am popularly known as ‘Chunnu Nawab’. I am going to Hyderabad on leave”. He then asked Sir Ali his name. Ali Imam? He had never heard of the name before and concluded that obviously he was a man of no consequence. “ What he did for a living? Sir Ali Imam, not too keen to engage in a conversation replied matter of factly that he was a barrister.

“What is a balishter?”
“It is a sort of an advocate – a vakil.”
“Oh, vakil! Many vakils appear in my court? Have you ever appeared in the court of a tahsildar?”

On receiving a negative reply, he invited Sir Ali Imam to witness the glory of his court and to appear there someday. While jabbering away without a pause, he was chewing pan and using the spittoon.

Chunnu Nawab then asked Ali Imam how much he earned. Sir Ali Imam replied modestly that he earned well enough to provide for his daal and roti. Chunnu Nawab remarked contemptuously that dal and roti were for the poor poor. He should have higher ambitions – for chicken and fish, which are the proper meal for the well to do. He then proceeded to advise him to give up barristership and take up the job of tahsildar. He told him proudly that though his salary was only 200 rupees a month, it was just his pocket money. He earned a lot ‘from above’. “A tahsildar is the uncrowned king of the taluk, you know. He had to have the knack for making money.

At the next station a bearer of the Brandon Catering Company came to take orders for lunch. Sir Ali Imam was about to order when the tahsildar prevented him from doing so and said that he had enough to feed the whole compartment and he would take it as an insult if the ‘balishter saab’ did not break bread with him. However, he asked the bearer to bring half-a-dozen lemonades and sodas. Sir Ali Imam asked him why he was ordering so many sodas and lemonades for just the two of them. Chunnu Nawab said that it was a matter of status. A tahsildar could not order just one or two sodas. Whatever was left would be consumed by the servants. At every station wherever the train stopped, some people came and made their offerings to the worthy official. It was very amusing and educative for Sir Ali Imam to see the fuss which people made about the tahsildar and how tahsildars battened themselves on the people.

A year later Sir Ali Imam came to Hyderabad as president of the Nizam’s executive council. The memory of his earlier encounter with the great tahsildar was etched in his mind and so he sent for him. The tahsildar, ‘the uncrowned king of the taluk’ was produced before him. He came dressed formally in sherwani and bugloos. He made four nervous floor- salaams and stood erect before the Prime Minister like a statue, his eyes riveted on the carpet.

Sir Ali Imam tried to put him at ease by asking him how he was doing. The tahsildar replied very stiffly that by the grace of Almighty and the kindness of His Excellency he was doing well. Sir Ali then referred to their meeting the previous year in the train. The tahsildar feigned surprise and promptly denied that he had ever had the great honour of meeting the dignitary before. Inspite of Sir Ali Imam’s numerous attempts at refreshing his memory; the flunkey resolutely refused to admit that they had ever met before. He said respectfully that it might have been a mix-up. However, it was his good luck to have the unique honour to have had an audience with the Prime Minister. He would never forget that rare privilege and would recount to his progeny his great luck

He then asked obsequiously if there were any orders for that speck of dust, that is, himself. Sir Ali Imam understood the reason for the tahsildar not to be identified. After all he was the tahsildar of the old school and had acquired a ‘knack’ of which he had boasted in the train. He had dealt with many rogues and to dispose of a mere prime minister was no big deal for him. Sir Ali Imam gave up in despair and wished him well.

Zain-ul-Abeddin alias Chunnu Nawab came out of the exalted office, wiped his perspiration, loosened his bugloos and sherwani and scooted for his life. After sometime and much thought, he decided to apply for premature retirement. It was prudent to forego a year of service than to risk confrontation with the Prime Minister. After all it would not be easy even for the ‘uncrowned king of a taluk’ to bluff a Prime Minister and survive.


Thursday, October 1, 1998


Legends and Anecdotes of Hyderabad- 40

By Narendra Luther

Hyderabad has always attracted Men of letters in Urdu who wanted to make a decent living—and a name. Amongst the famous ones is Shaukat Ali Khan ‘Fani’.

He was born in U.P. in 1879 in a well-to-do family and graduating in law, started practice half-heartedly. Spendthrift by nature, he lavished his patrimony on fair-weather friends and consequently was reduced to dire circumstances. Then, like many other men of letters before and after him, he looked towards Hyderabad in search of fortune. He visited the city first in 1926 and again in 1927. Maharaja Kishen Pershad, prime minister of the State gave him some financial help.

The famous poet Josh Malihabadi who was serving in the Bureau of Translation of the Osmania University at Hyderabad in 1925 was fond of summoning souls of deceased poets and others on planchette. Once he summoned the great Persian poet Hafiz Shirazi, and asked him if he should call his friend Fani who was in straitened circumstances, to Hyderabad? The planchette scribbled: "Yes. He will get a job here but will have to wait." Emboldened by that advice, Josh met Maharaja Kishen Pershad and with his blessings asked Fani to come to Hyderabad. On his arrival in 1932, the Maharaja sanctioned him a stipend of Rs.200 a month. Considering his background, it was proposed that he could be appointed in the judicial service. There were two hitches in that: firstly, he was a "non-mulki", that is, an outsider and there was a ban on the appointment of outsiders to jobs which did not call for a special qualification not locally available.

Secondly, he was over 50 while the maximum age for recruitment to government service was 30. Fani also did not want to join the judicial service, because that entailed an appointment outside the city which he did not relish. The Maharaja therefore proposed that he should be appointed as headmaster in the City High School. However, while the appointment was within his powers, a relaxation had to be obtained from the Nizam for the appointment of a `non-mulki'.

The Nizam rejected the proposal for the relaxation of the rule. After sometime, the Maharaja resubmitted the proposal dwelling on the poetic talents and attainments of Fani and recommended that the Nizam also might consider hearing his compositions. This time the Nizam relented as a special case and Fani was appointed headmaster of the Dar-ul-Shiffa High School on a salary scale of Rs.250-500 per month.

With that salary and the stipend of Rs.200 from the Maharaja, Fani was now well-off. But the spendthrift that he was, he took a loan for the purchase of a car. Because of the deduction for the repayment of the loan, expenses on petrol and the salary of the driver, his take-home income was not adequate for him.

At this point another incident took place. He became a courtier of the Junior Prince Moazzam Jah. According to some, Josh pushed him into that while others say he himself was keen about it. Moazzam Jah used to hold his court at night and so all his courtiers had to keep awake the whole night. Fani attended the ‘nocturnal court’, went home at the crack of dawn, tried to make up for his lost sleep and then go to school. In the circumstances, he was not able to do justice to his duties in the school. But since he was a known favourite of the Maharaja, he could not be pulled up. However, his life-style was not only injurious to Fani's health, it also resulted in the neglect of his family, particularly his wife.

On his reaching the age of retirement, the Maharaja gave him an extension for five years. But after the latter ceased to be the prime minister in 1936, the authorities also became strict with Fani. He was transferred to a remote place in Nanded district. He went there for a week but came back and applied for sick leave on half-pay. The sanction took time and the disbursement of the amount was irregular. The courtiership of the Prince did not mean any monetary benefit for him. So his sole source of income was the stipend from the Maharaja.

Fani enjoyed his association with the mighty and the great in the State. But this was a hollow relationship. When his wife died, very few of them came to attend the funeral or sent any message of condolences. Fani did not even have enough money for her treatment and for her funeral.

Fani was a pessimist and fatalist all his life and the events of his life strengthened his belief that man was helpless and that the Fate determined everything. Man was free only outwardly. In reality he was a slave of circumstances. All his poetry is permeated by this dark mood of pessimism, morbidity and excessive self-pity. However, in portraying that he was unmatched. His style is firm and concentrated combining scholarship with austere simplicity. In one of his well known poems he says:

"Meri hayat hai mehroom-e-muddaai-e-hayat
Woh rahguzar hoon jise koi naqsh-e-pa na mila"

(I have no aim or object in life;
I am a wayfarer who could find no footsteps to guide me.)

Again, he says:
"Diyar-e-umr mein ab qahat-e-mehr hai Fani
koi ajal ke siva mehrban na mila"

"In the land of life there is a dearth of kindness,
I can't find any friend except death"

Fani also translated some of his own poems into English but they are not many and his command of English doesn't match that of Urdu.

His most famous and oft-quoted couplet is:

"Fani hum to jeete ji woh mayyat hain be gor-o-kafan
Ghurbat jis ko ras na aai aur watan bhi chhoot gaya"

(I am a living corpse sans coffin or grave
Exiled from native land it gained nothing from its new abode).

The late Prof. Sadiq Mohammad, and Prof. Mughani Tabassum, who did a doctoral thesis on Fani, categorize him with Ghalib. The latter extols him as a genius.

Heavily indebted, heart-broken and in poor health, Fani died in utter penury in 1941 and was laid to rest in Hyderabad. To-day the city is proud that he stayed and died here.

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Tuesday, September 1, 1998

Sarojini Naidu’s Father

Legends and Anecdotes of Hyderabad- 39

Sarojini Naidu’s Father
By Narendra Luther

Normally, individuals are identified by their parents. But in some cases the children become so renowned that their parents get to be known with reference to their children even if they have an eminence of their own. This is also what has happened in the case of Sarojini Naidu’s father, Dr. Aghornath Chattopadhyay.

Aghornath Chattopadhyay was born in 1851 in Brahmamnagar village of Dhaka, which is now the capital of Bangladesh. His father, Ram Charan was a Sanskrit scholar. Aghornath was a brilliant student and was awarded the Gilchrist scholarship to go to England. He won the Baxter Prize in Physics and the Hope Prize in Chemistry in the University of Edinburgh. He was the first Indian to obtain a degree of D.Sc. from a foreign university. He knew a number of languages like Sanskrit, Greek, Hebrew, French, German and Russian. Jagatguru Sankaracharya bestowed on him the award of 'Vidyaratna' for his learning in Sanskrit.

He married Varada Devi who was also a poet in Sanskrit.

First principal of Nizam College

Salar Jung I who became the Prime Minister of Hyderabad in 1853 was keen to modernize various aspects of the administration of the state. For that purpose he recruited a good number of persons from British India with western education. In 1877, on a visit to Europe, he invited Aghornath to Hyderabad to promote the spread of education through the English medium.

Arriving in Hyderabad in 1878, Dr.Chattopadhyay he started a school with English medium. In 1881 he established the Hyderabad College which later came to be known as the Nizam College. Aghornath was its first principal.

Social Reformer

Aghornath and his wife Varada Devi were also interested in female education and they were instrumental in setting up the first school for girls in Nampally. They championed the cause of emancipation of women and were against child marriage and in favour of widows’ remarriage. It was largely because of his efforts that the Special Marriage Act of Hyderabad was enacted. He also believed that the elementary education of the child should be imparted in its mother tongue. He therefore set up a society for teaching various subjects in Urdu. It conducted examinations, which were open to all Indians. On the basis of the certificates issued by it, students were able to get jobs easily.

He was also in favour of inter-communal marriages. This philosophy was implemented in an ironic manner by a number of his children -- including Sarojini Naidu. The famous Andhra reformer, Kandukuri Veerasailingam was a contemporary of Aghornath and solemnized the inter-caste marriage of Sarojini Devi at Madras.

The Chattopdhyays kept an open house. It was, according to his son, Harendranath Chattopadhyay “a museum of wisdom and culture, a zoo crowded with a medley of strange types – some even verging on the mystique”

Aghornath was also an alchemist. According to some he had acquired a capability of turning base metals into gold from some sadhu, and Mrinalini, his grand daughter says that she has seen one coin turned into gold by him. According to her, Aghornath’s plan was to make gold worth 40 crores rupees that way and to use them for free and compulsory universal education in India.

Though a government servant, he remained a social activist. When the Indian National Congress was established in 1885 he along with his friend, Mulla Abdul Qayyum joined it and strengthened the movement and its objectives.

Protest and Demotion

When the Chanda Railway Project was mooted and it was proposed to raise funds for it from England, Dr.Chattopadhyay opposed the move. For this he was banished from Hyderabad in 1882 and sent away to Calcutta. Later, on the intervention of the Viceroy he was recalled to Hyderabad but was demoted to professorship. He remained under a cloud for six years. Later he took premature retirement but inspite of adverse circumstances, continued his educational and political activities. When Bengal was divided into two in 1905, Dr.Chattopadhyay was in the forefront of the protest functions against that.

Aghornath was a person of liberal outlook. Though himself a Brahmin he extended his patronage to a number of young men and women of other communities, Jamaluddin, the famous wit of Hyderabad stayed with him when he first came from Madras to Hyderabad. He must have sharpened his sense of humour from that association.

Most of his eight children made a mark in different fields. His eldest daughter, Sarojini Naidu, the ‘Nightingale of India’ is well known. She became President of the Indian National Congress and later, governor of U.P.

His eldest son, Virendranath was a revolutionary. He started the Anti-imperialist League in Germany and spent all his life fighting against imperialism. Another son, Harindranath Chattopadhyaya was a well-known poet and interested in fine arts particularly music. He also acted in a number of films. He married Kamla Devi who did a lot of work for the revival of ancient and traditional crafts of India.

Sunalini Devi was a Kathak dancer and became a film actress. Another daughter, Suhashini Devi joined the Communist Party of India married a fellow Communist, R.M. Jambekar and started the New Work Centre in Bombay.

Dr. Aghornath was a many-splendoured personality and he jumped into national causes without hesitation. He ignited a spark of enlightenment in a feudal state in the 19th century and suffered for it. Sarojini Naidu, called him ‘a magnificent failure’.

Dr.Chattopadhyay expired in 1915. It is indeed a pity that a man who contributed so much to learning, social and cultural advancement and communal harmony is all but forgotten. One of his grandchildren, Mrinalini, daughter of Ranendra Nath and a spinster of 70, now lives in Hyderabad.

Saturday, August 1, 1998

Nawab Kazim Yar Jung

Legends and Anecdotes of Hyderabad - 37

Nawab Kazim Yar Jung
By Narendra Luther

Last month, I wrote about the legendary superintendent of the Public Garden, Jamaluddin. I also stated therein that he was married to the sister of Nawab Kazim Yar Jung who was the Minister in the Private Secretariat of the Nizam. It is therefore appropriate to introduce the readers to him.

The original name of Nawab Kazim Yar Jung was Syed Kazim Hussain. He traced his ancestry to Mir Asadullah Khan Bahadur, the Nawab of Arcot. His son, Syed Mohammed Khan Bahadur was, first the chief of the Bangalore Fort, and later minister of Tippu Sultan. After the defeat of Tippu, and the fall of Srirangapatnam, he rendered valuable services to the East India Company. Thus he was helpful in securing the speedy settlement of the area. The British acknowledged his services and as a mark of their appreciation sanctioned an unconditional pension of 2,400 Star Pagodas to him which was equal to half the salary he received from Tippu Sultan. He was the paternal great-grand father of Kazim Hussain.

On the maternal side, Kazim Hussain’s ancestry went back to Prophet Muhammad and Imam Ali Moosa Raza, the eighth Imam and the founder of the Razvi dynasty. His great-grand father, Maulvi Syed Abdur Razzak Sahib Bahadur was a distinguished scholar in Arabic. He was appointed the chief qazi of Bara Mahaul in 1810 and was given a jagir in the Salem district of Tamil Nadu. His son, Syed Abdul Khasim Razvi Sahib Bahadur, the grandfather of Kazim Hussain was also an eminent scholar and an eminent law officer.

During the insurrection of Coorg in 1837 he risked his life while rendering assistance to the British. When there was no ammunition left in the English camp, he succeeded in landing a cannon from a ship which had been sailing far away from the shore. While doing that he received what the official report described as “two honourable wounds” -- one in the left thigh and one in the left shoulder. In return for this, he was appointed a Special Commissioner of Coorg. He was the only Indian so honoured by the British. He died in 1848.

Kazim Hussain was born in Tamil Nadu in 1876 to Syed Khader Ahmed and Hazrat Begum. Syed Khader Ahmed was trained as a lawyer but did not practise or do any other work. The burden of running the house therefore fell on his wife. She taught Arabic to children to make both ends meet. The family belonged to a community called ‘Ghatala’. This term is explained as composed of ‘ghat’ which means strong and ‘ala’ which means able. In other words they were considered to be both strong and able, or, outstanding.
To help them improve their prospects, Nawab Sir Amin Jung, and was Minister of the Nizam’s Private Secretariat brought Syed Khader Ahmed and his wife to Hyderabad. Hazrat Begum became the principal of the Nampally Girls School. Sir Amin himself hailed from Tamil Nadu and was the first Muslim in that province to have done his M.A. He was specially recruited as a deputy collector in Hyderabad.
The relocation of Syed Khader Ahmed to Hyderabad improved the circumstances of the family. His son, Kazim Hussain was taken on by Sir Amin Jung and trained by him to serve the Nizam. In course of time and on the retirement of Sir Amin Jung, Kazim Yar Jung became first Secretary and later Minister in Nizam’s Secretariat. He was then given the title of ‘Yar Jung’.

Kazim Yar Jung had three wives. The first died one month after giving birth to a daughter. The second wife had one son and two daughters. One daughter was married to Dr.Raziuddin, There is an interesting story about that marriage. The latter was a professor in mathematics in the Osmania University and was considered a genius in the subject. It was widely believed in Hyderabad that he would get a Nobel Prize in Mathematics.

At the time of Police Action, he was the Vice Chancellor of the Osmania University. Later, he became V.C. of the Aligarh Muslim University and then migrated to Pakistan. There he became first the Vice Chancellor of Karachi University and, later, the first Vice Chancellor of Pakistan’s Agriculture University.

Kazim Yar Jung’s third wife came from Sanga Reddy District. He had one brother named Syed Ahmed Mohiuddin who retired as I.G. of Registration and Stamps, and one sister Ghousia Begum. She was one of the first women graduates of Hyderabad and first became principal of the Nampally Girls School and later an inspectress of schools. She was responsible for introducing the Montessori system of education in Hyderabad.

Nawab Kazim Yar Jung had a great hold over the Nizam. The Nawab of Chattari, Prime Minister of Hyderabad (1941-46) in his reminiscences “Yaad-e-ayyam” writes that the picture of Hyderabad would be incomplete without him. The British didn’t like him. The Nawab was very intelligent and knew where he should intervene. The Nawab of Chattari felt that it was unfortunate that Kazim Yar Jung had such great influence over the Nizam that even the Prime Minister had to keep him on his right side. Quite often he would delay the issue of orders passed by the Nizam on some ground or the other. He mentions the instance of Ghulam Mohammad, then Finance Minister of Hyderabad who wanted to use the ‘Dilkusha’ building (now a State Guest House next to the Raj Bhavan) for his residence. When the Prime Minister sent the proposal to that effect, the Nizam turned it down. Later, he told Nawab Kazim Yar Jung that this would hurt Ghulam Mohammad. The proposal was then reconsidered and the Nizam approved it. Incidentally, Ghulam Mohammad later, migrated to Pakistan where he rose to be the Governor General. Nawab Kazim Yar Jung remained a great power till he was over shadowed by Nawab Hoshair Jung in the last phase of the Hyderabad State.

He died in 1954 at the age of 78.

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Wednesday, July 1, 1998

A Laughing Legend

Legends & Anecdotes of Hyderabad : 36

A Laughing Legend
by Narendra Luther

Today Hyderabad is known as the Humour capital of India. Every year a largely attended function is held in the city and writers, poets and narrators of jokes comes from all over the country and even from abroad to attend that. It is therefore appropriate to recall the legend of Jamaluddin. He was a great wit who not only made jokes, but whose name also generated many jokes even after his death.

He was born in 1881 in Chennai into a family related to Tippu Sultan. He came to Hyderabad as a student, became a ward of Sarojini Naidu’s father and studied up to matriculation.

Jamaluddin married Ghousia Begum, a sister of Nawab Kazim Yar Jung who was a favourite of Nizam VII and his minister-in-waiting for many years. Ghousia Begum, a remarkable woman became one of the first women graduates of the state. She took keen interest in education and was one of the persons responsible for the introduction of the Montessori system of education for children in the State. For that she underwent training in England.

Due to his relationship with Nawab Kazim Yar Jung, Jamaluddin also came close to the Nizam. He was appointed to the Horticulture Department and became superintendent of the Public Gardens.

After training in gardening in Japan, Jamaluddin prepared a project for setting up a Chinese Section in the Public Garden. He promised to Nizam VII that it would cost Rs.1 lakh and take a year to complete. Exactly after a year, the Nizam came to inspect the progress. The garden was far from ready and so Jamaluddin hurriedly put some plants to give it the semblance of a garden. The Nizam pulled him up for not sticking to his commitment. Jamaluddin replied : “Exalted Highness, it is all ready except for one thing. Only volcanoes have to be imported from Japan!” The Nizam smiled and went away. Nobody else could ever fob off the Nizam like that.

Later, the Chinese Section became the best part of the Public Garden. During the period of the late N.T.R. as chief minister, this garden was turned into an open-air theatre. Part of it is now occupied by the Telugu University.

Jamaluddin’s sense of humour brought him close to many high personages including the Prince of Berar and the Junior Prince. The Prince of Berar and the Junior Prince had their own set of courtiers and nobody could be a member of both. Jamaluddin was the only exception. He dined with the Junior Prince and the Prince of Berar often dropped in the Public Gardens during his riding to have a chat or even a cup of tea with him.

Jamaluddin built a house for himself in the Red Hills in 1940 and called it the ‘Fern Villa’. It had a hall built and decorated in the Japanese style.

After his death in 1942, Jamaluddin’s son decided to sell some unserviceable articles and so he issued an ad in the papers. That came to the notice of the Nizam. One day he descended at ‘Fern Villa’ along with Nawab Zain Yar Jung who was an architect and also his minister for public works. He asked Zain Yar Jung to estimate the value of the property. Zain Yar Jung was still making mental calculations, when the Nizam burst out and asked him why he was taking so much time ? The hustled Nawab gave an estimate of Rs.2 lakhs. The Nizam decided that he would give Rs.1 lakh for the house - inclusive of everything that it contained. The Nizam gave it to his second son, Prince Maozzam Jah who stayed in it for 20 years after the police Action. Now his widow, Anwari Begum and son Shahamat Jah stay there.

Because of his unrestrained wit, many jokes came to be attributed to him - some real and some apocryphal.

A favourite was that Jamaluddin used to wear his head dress with the front facing back wards. When someone asked him why, he replied : “Suppose the Nizam suddenly comes from behind.”

Once the driver of his car asked for a screwdriver. He asked him when a driver was there what was the need for a screwdriver !

Once his servant was trying to fix a nail on the wall. Jamaluddin noticed that the head of the nail was towards the wall while the pointed end was facing the hammer. He pulled up the servant and told him that the nail in his hand was the wrong one. It was meant for the opposite wall !

While on a drive, his driver suddenly applied brakes to the car. He asked the driver what the matter was. The driver said that he had noticed a pit on the road in front of him. “Then why didn’t you blow the horn ?” asked Jamaluddin angrily.

Jamaluddin is mentioned by Siddiq Jaisi, the Urdu poet in his book on the nocturnal court of the Junior Prince. K.P.S. Menon, the famous Indian diplomat in his autobiography : ‘Many Worlds Revisited’ narrates the incident of Jamaluddin’s opposition to the suggestion of sending his daughter for higher education to Delhi. He said that it was not safe to send young girls to such far-away places alone. ‘She might get involved with somebody there’. However, he was prevailed upon to let her go. After sometime his daughter wrote to him saying how much she liked the college and that she had picked up a number of friends. She added that she had become very fond of Ping-Pong. On reading this letter, Jamaluddin’s face became red and he said : “I warned you. Look. Now she has got involved with a Chinese”.

When he died in 1942, the Nizam himself composed his epitaph which also yielded the date of his death.

Over the years, as often happens, so many jokes got pasted on to him and he became known more for his wit than for his profession. Now his name is part of the legends of Hyderabad.

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Friday, May 1, 1998

The ‘Nightingale’ of India

Legends and Anecdotes of Hyderabad: 34

The ‘Nightingale’ of India
By Narendra Luther

Sarojini Devi was born on 13th February 1879 at Hyderabad. Her father was Dr.Aghornath Chattopadhyay, the first principal of the Nizam College and a well-known social reformer of the last century in Hyderabad. She was so precocious that she finished matriculation at the age of 12 standing first in the Madras University. She wrote her first poem at 13 while struggling with a problem of Algebra.

At the age of 14, she fell in love with Dr. Govindrajulu Naidu, an army doctor. He was a widower and ten years older than her. Her parents naturally objected to such a match. She was sent to England on a scholarship and the parents hoped that she would overcome her juvenile infatuation.

There poet and critic, Edmund Gosse noticed her talent. However, advised her to abjure ‘western in feeling and in imagery’ and instead adopt the Indian idiom. She took that advice and thenceforth wrote on the variegated sights, sounds and smells of India.

Three years in London and Cambridge did not cure he of her love for Dr. Naidu. She suddenly returned to marry him. The great Andhra social reformer, Kandukuri Veerasalingam, solemnized the marriage in 1898 at Madras. Both the parties declared that hey did not belong to any religion.

The first collections of her poems: ‘The Golden Threshold’ was published in England in1916 and earned rave reviews. She named her house on the Nampally Road ‘The Golden Threshold’ after her first anthology. Six more collections followed.

Sarojini Naidu was fond of dressing elegantly and was a gourmet. Her house became a haunt for what she described as ‘miscellaneous fellows of both sexes’.

She was a devoted social worker and a crusader for the rights of women. She organized relief work in Hyderabad during the great floods in the river Musi in 1908. For that she was awarded the ‘Kaisar-e-Hind’ gold medal by the British Government. She joined the freedom movement in 1915 on the exhortation of Gokhale whom she had met in England. She became a member of the All India Home Rule League, and in 1925, the first Indian woman president of the Congress. In 1930 she was arrested for participating in the Salt Satyagraha. In 1931 she accompanied Mahatma Gandhi to the Second Round Table Conference in London. She was arrested again in 1942 during the ‘Quit India Movement’.

A brilliant orator in public, her wit was irrepressible in any company. She nicknamed Mahatma Gandhi, ‘Mickey Mouse’. Mahatma Gandhi used to travel by third class and stay in the sweepers’ colony in Delhi and elsewhere. The authorities took pains to make the train compartment as well as the colony spick and span. That led Sarojini Naidu to remark that Mahatma Gandhi did not know how much it cost the nation to keep him in poverty!

When C.Rajagopalachari became the first Indian Governor- General of India and moved into the Viceregal Lodge, he showed her the sumptuous furnishings and pointing to a huge ornate bed, remarked, “What will a simple man like me do with this?” Sarojini Devi replied, “Look, Rajajee, I have helped you in many difficult situations earlier. But I am sorry, I can’t help you in this matter”.

She was particularly close to Jawahar Lal Nehru who admired her for infusing ‘artistry and poetry into the national struggle’.

Once the last Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan asked her what difference she found between him and his late father. Sarojini Devi replied: “His Highness was ruled by his heart; Your Exalted Highness by your mind.” The Nizam tapped his thigh in appreciation of her apt observation.

When India became independent, she was appointed governor of UP. The Government House in Lucknow was instantly transformed into a cultural centre.

She was a Hyderabadi to the core. When the news of the fall of Hyderabad in the Police Action was conveyed to her, she reacted: “I am sorry for my State, but happy for my country”.

In 1949 she fell ill. The physician came and gave her a sleeping pill and told her reassuringly that it would give her good sleep. Sarojini Naidu smiled mischievously and said, “Not eternal sleep, I hope!” She expired during her sleep that night.

She had four children. The eldest, a son, Jaisoorya was a M.D. in allopathy but became a nationally renowned homeopath. The second son, Ranadhira was an alcoholic and died young. The next two were daughters. The elder, Padmaja, was a social worker. She remained a spinster and served as the Governor of West Bengal for ten years. The last, Leelmani studied at Oxford, taught English in the Nizam and the Women’s College and then joined the External Affairs Ministry. Out of them only one, Jaisoorya married - first a German woman, and after her death, of cancer, Dr. Dwarkabai of Guntur.

After Sarojini’s death, the ‘Golden Threshold’ was rented out to a restaurant called the ‘Neo Mysore CafĂ©’. Padmaja Naidu, the sole survivor of the family, bequeathed it to the University of Hyderabad and the dedication was done on 17th November 1975 by Indira Gandhi. Appropriately, the School of Performing Arts, Fine Arts & Communication of the University named after Sarojini have been located in the ‘Golden Threshold’.

There is a road, an Eye Hospital and a Women’s College (Vanita Mahavidyala) named after her in Hyderabad. The Sarojini Naidu Memorial Trust Library and Museum was set up in 1981 in the house in which she was born on the Jawahar Lal Nehru Road. It presents a pitiable sight today. A workshop has allegedly encroached upon a part of the premises. The State Government has not released the annual grant of 100,000 rupees for some years. Properly maintained, it could be a proud monument and a tourist attraction for the city.

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The Rock-scape of Hyderabad

The Rock-scape of Hyderabad
By Narendra Luther

The 400 –year Old City of Hyderabad is known by its symbol - Charminar. A long -neglected feature is now beginning to get associated with the city—Rocks.

These rocks are part of the India Peninsular Gnessic (pronounced ‘nysic’) Complex spread over an area of approximately 20,000 square kilometers covering parts of A.P., Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. These rocks sprang from the Earth’s crust, which is 40 kilometers deep. The radius of the earth is 6300 kilometers out of which so far it has been possible to penetrate only 13 kilometers. These rocks are one of the oldest units of the world. They are older and more stable than the Himalayas.

It is estimated that they are some 2,500 million (25 crore) years old. Life started on this planet about 8 million years ago and man emerged only 2 million years ago. That gives us an idea about the antiquity of these rocks.
Around the city, they make a fascinating landscape. They have numerous shapes and sizes. One of them looks like a vulture, another like a ‘laddu’ for giants. Yet another has been named ‘club sandwich’ for the way in which rocks are piled one upon the other. Some rocks are so delicately poised that one fears that they might fall any time. But they won't. They have weathered physical and chemical action of nature for million of years. Some rocks look as if giant children were playing with them at house- building. Then suddenly they were summoned home by their mothers for their meals.

In 1820, Meadows Taylor, on his first visit to the city noted this beauty of the city environs.

The Imperial Gazetteer of 1909 observed that "around Hyderabad and stretching as far west as Lingampalli, 15 miles from the city, tors and boulders of fantastic shapes are seen everywhere, composed of basalt and granite piled up in picturesque confusion."

Rocks help form the natural drainage system of the area and are also responsible for the existence of many lakes. Over the years because of the destruction of these rocks many such lakes have disappeared. For example there was a lake on the bend of road no: 1,opposite the Dwarka Puri Lane. Similarly, Masab Tank was, as the name implies, a lake. The lake in front of the Taj Residency hotel has been polluted because of the construction of slums in the upper part of the valley and so the lake has now more of sewerage than springs water. The Durgam Cheruvu in Jubilee Hills used to be called the ‘Secret Lake’ because it was hidden from view. Now it is threatened by construction. Same is the case with the Dargah Shah Hussain Wali Cheruvu. Rocks also support rare fauna like lizards and bats.

Not long ago, Banjara Hills used to be a forbidding territory where people used to come only for shikar and picnics.

Nawab Mehdi Nawaz Jung is responsible for the colonization of Banjara Hills. In the 1920’s he bought some 500 acres of land. In 1930 in a jumble of rocks he built himself a house with minimal disturbance to the existing rock-scape.
He used to offer lots of 5-6 acres free to his friends and others for a song, if only they would come, build and stay there. Water and electricity was provided free for six months. Not many took his offer.

In 1933 the Nobel – laureate poet of India, Rabindranath Tagore came and stayed with him for some time. He was so fascinated by the place that he said if he didn't have his Viswa Bharati to care for, he would have liked to settle down here. He wrote a beautiful poem ‘Kohsar’ on the rocks.

After the formation of Andhra Pradesh in 1956, colonization of Banjara Hills picked up. Quarrying because rampant rocks were blasted recklessly. Now there is hardly any unbuilt land left in Banjara Hills.

In 1962 Jubilee Hill Cooperative Society was formed covering an area of 1400 acres. Now it is the turn of Jubilee Hills to suffer a frenzy of construction, particularly with the emergence of the NRI phenomenon.

Large-scale blasting and cutting of rocks have upset the ecology of the area. Many lakes have been filled up. Others have dried up.

The temperature, which used to be distinctly lower in Banjara, matches that of the city. Pollution is increasing. Banjara Hills is no longer the paradise it used to be.

A few people, following the example of Nawab Mehdi Nawaz Jung, have designed their houses with due deference to the original `inhabitants' of the place - granites. But the majority of houses have copied the patterns of the plains. They have killed the rocks.

These pre-historic rocks are as much a part of our heritage as our fauna and flora and our historic buildings. In a way they are even more precious because whereas fauna and flora can be made to grow again and buildings can be renovated and recreated, these massive and hard looking rocks once destroyed will never grow back again.

On 26th January, 1996, a Society to Save Rocks was set up by some people who were keen on preserving rocks. A movement has been started now to save and preserve the remaining rocks. One way would be to develop them into picnic and tourist resorts. Atleast one ‘Rock National Park can be created in order to preserve this valuable heritage. As a result of the efforts of the Society, the government has declared nine rock formations as protected as part of the heritage under the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority Zoning Regulations. It is hoped that effective action will be taken to enforce the decision. Considering the mission of the Society, the Income Tax Department has granted exemption from tax to donations made to it.

As a part of a the campaign to promote consciousness about the value of this great asset, an artists’ camp is being organized for leading painters and artists of the country in March, 1998. They will, in their own way capture the beauty of the rocks. These paintings will then be auctioned so that they adorn the offices and residences and thus spread the message. Also it will help raise funds for the activities of the Society.

Rocks constitute a very valuable heritage of ours. Unless their destruction is stopped, our grandchildren will not know what granite is. By saving them we can preserve our present - and the future at the same time.

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‘Kohsar’ – A poem on Banjara Hills
by Rabindra Nath Tagore

‘From the distance thou didst appear
barricaded in rocky aloofness
Timidly I crossed the rugged path
to find here all of a sudden
An open invitation in the sky
and friends embrace in the air
In an unknown land the voice that
seemed ever known
Revealed to me a shelter of loving intimacy’.

Sunday, February 1, 1998

Manik Prabhu and the Sixth Nizam

Legends & Anecdotes of Hyderabad : 30

Manik Prabhu and the Sixth Nizam
By Narendra Luther

Mir Mehboob Ali Khan was the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad. He was born in 1866 and became a ruler when he was not yet three years old. He was therefore led to the masnad by the then Prime Minister Salar Jung and the Paigah noble, Rafi-ud-Din who were, together, appointed the co-regents. He ruled for 41 years and died at the comparatively young age of 43.

He became a very popular ruler with the masses. His appeal transcended religious boundaries and both his Muslims and his Hindu subjects revered him equally. That was largely because he adopted many of the practices of the medieval rulers. He used to go about in the city incognito at night and appear at unexpected places. Sometimes he would play pranks with his unsuspecting subjects. He would thus get feedback about himself and his rule from them. In case he found some people in dire want, he would make an act of impulsive generosity. The stories about his large-heartedness spread all over the State and legends about him are still popular.

During the floods of 1908, on a suggestion by some people, he willingly performed an ‘arti’ to placate the goddess Bhavani who was believed to be responsible for the devastating floods in the river Musi. Having performed the pooja, he opened his palaces to all refugees and organized free kitchen for them.

He also acquired a reputation for curing snakebites. It was said that if anybody anywhere had been bitten by a snake, he or she could approach the ruler at any time of day and night. If the victim could not reach him in time, he could recite the name of Mehboob Ali Pasha and say ‘Mehboob Ali Pasha ki duhai’ and the snake poison would be dissipated. I have myself seen people some 90 years after his death at his grave in the compound of the Mecca Masjid to offer thanks for the snake bite which they claimed was cured merely by invoking his name.

The Muslims don’t believe in re-birth but his Hindu subjects believed that he was a reincarnation of Manik Prabhu (1817-1865) a saint from Humnabad in Bidar, a district of the former Hyderabad state, now in Karnatka. .

According to an incident recorded in the biography of the saint by Nagesh D. Sonde, Nizam V of Hyderabad, Afzal-ud-dowla (1857-1869) was childless. He was aware of Shri Manik Prabhu’s divine powers. His noblemen advised him that he should seek his blessings for getting a child. The Nizam sent one of his noblemen, Apparao Arab to Maniknagar with a gift of a jagir for Shri Manik Prabhu worth sixty thousand rupees for getting the ‘prasad’ (blessings) for a child. When Apparao Arab presented the papers of the Jagir to Shri Prabhu and requested for the prasad for the Nizam, Shri Prabhu smiled and said, “ I am a fakir. What will I do with this jagir? Why should I crave for such small gifts from mortal men. Tell your master that I am not interested in accepting this jagir. However, I shall give him prasad for progeny. He will be blessed with a son. Ask him to name the boy ‘Mehboob’”.

According to another interesting incident mentioned by Begum Bilkees Latif in her book: “Her India”, once the Nizam, Mehboob Ali Pasha had a terrible carbuncle on his back, just below his neck. It grew and grew and became very painful. He went to Maniknagar near Humnabad where he met a well-known and evolved sadhu called Shri Manik Prabhu Maharaj. Pandit Motiramji Sangeetkar who went with him, told me that this sadhu had earlier pointed to an area there and had said that a light coloured granite stone would be found there. When they started digging, they found the stone as he had said they would. Shri Manik Prabhu Maharaj, then built a temple there, of this stone. When the Nizam met him, they found themselves very much in harmony and discussed many things together amicably. The Nizam mentioned his carbuncle which was not healing. The sadhu said that his own soul would go into the Nizam’s body for a while and the Nizam’s soul would enter into his body. This they said took place somehow and the carbuncle just disappeared! When the Nizam returned to Hyderabad, he wore a gold chain across his chest like the sacred thread of the Brahmins and gave prasad to the sadhu’s followers as they said that after his temporary exchange of souls he had acquired special powers of healing. Often after this he was asked to heal those who had been bitten by snakes or were in great pain and was able to do so.

Shri Dnyanraj Prabhu, the present secretary of the Manik Prabhu Samasthan has reservation about the story. According to him, “Shri Manik Prabhu Maharaj had attained ‘jiwant samadhi’ (burying oneself alive in a pit to die) at Maniknagar on 29th November 1865, whereas Mehboob Ali Pasha was born in 1866. Hence Mehboob Ali Pasha’s contact with Shri Manik Prabhu is out of question. Shri Martand Manik Prabhu Maharaj the successor of Shri Manik Prabhu Maharaj was a contemporary of Mehboob Ali Pasha. There is every possibility that Nizam VI might have met Shri Martand Manik Prabhu who was equally qualified in spiritual wisdom as his predecessor”. He might have acquired the power from him.

Shri Samasthan Manik Prabhu is now doing research about the connections between Manik Prabhu and the Asaf Jahis and some more incidents, stories and anecdotes are likely to emerge out of that to supplement the existing lore.

Be that as it may, the legend speaks about the popularity of the sixth Nizam on the basis of his generosity and liberal outlook. It also indicates the reverence which people of the region have for the saint, Manik Prabhu.


Thursday, January 1, 1998

A Valet, a Shop, a Bazar

Legends and Anecdotes of Hyderabad: 35

A Valet, a Shop, a Bazar
By Narendra Luther

It is not only the rulers who make history. Sometime their humble servants also become legends.

One such person was Albert Abid. He was a Jew and a valet of Mir Mehboob Ali Khan, the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad (b: 1866, d: 1911). In course of time, he became quite rich and so he set up a shop where the present Palace Talkies and the Bank of Baroda are located. He called it ‘Abid & Company’. It was a big building in the Roman style. The central portion of the gallery which was semi-circular was supported by 29 twin-pillars. A number of steps led to the main building. It was the first shop – and for a long time – the only one in that area and so the place came to be known as Abid Shop. This shop was lit up in 1887 at the time of the jubilee celebrations of Queen Victoria’s reign. Gradually some more shops came to be built around it and in course of time the area from Chirag Ali Lane to the trijunction came to be known as Abid Road.

In course of time it became the most fashionable shopping mall of the city. It also came to be known variously as ‘Abid Shop’ or simply ‘Abids’. It is a road running from Gun Foundry to the Nehru Statue intersection. After the building of the Residency in early 19th century, it came to be considered part of the new emerging city. Some distance from the Gun Foundry is ‘St. George’s Church’ built in 1867. The Grammar school is also there.

Mir Osman Ali Khan, the seventh Nizam was the first to shift his residence from the old city close to the Abid area. His residence was called ‘King Kothi’. He used to visit his mother who stayed in the Purani Haveli every afternoon. He used to go via the Abid Road, take the road to Gowliguda and then proceed to the old city. That area was under the Residency which had its own police. The Residency police used to stop all traffic when the Resident’s car was passing. Once, when the Nizam was making his visit, his car was stopped by the Residency police. He got upset by this and in order not to cross the Resident’s territory, had a new road constructed. It went straight from Abid road to Afzalgunj. It is now called Jawaharlal Nehru Road. The Ramakrishna Theatre, Bachelors’ Quarters and many other buildings stand on this road today.

In course of time Abid Road became full of new fancy shops. People from distant parts of the city used to come for shopping there.

The road, which leads from Abid Road to the Nampally Railway Station called Nampally Road, had also the residence of Sarojini Naidu. It was called the ‘Golden Threshold’. Later on it was taken over by a restaurateur and run as the ‘Neo Mysore Cafe’. When the University of Hyderabad was established in 1980, this restaurant was taken over by the Government and after some restoration work the 'Golden Threshold' became the city office of the University of Hyderabad. It now houses the school of Performing Arts, Fine Arts and Communication of the University named after Sarojini Naidu.

After the integration of Hyderabad with India, a statue of Pandit Nehru was put up at the crossroad opposite the original Abid shop. It was made into a traffic island full of greenery around the statue. But due to increase in the traffic the island was removed and now only the statue remains. By the side of the statue there used to be the main post office of the old Hyderabad State. A new building was constructed in 1983 to house the General Post Office of the city. By the side of that the Municipal Corporation constructed a multi-storey parking lot. At the St. George’s Church and the Grammar School, the road bifurcates - one going to the ‘King Kothi’ – residence of the last Nizam. On the way is the Taj Hotel. At one time it used to be the tallest building in the area and one could have a special meal for Rs.2. Now the same meal costs over Rs.20 and the building is dwarfed by many other buildings close to it. The other road goes towards Fateh Maidan in Basheerbagh and from thereon to Secunderabad. On the Abid Road there also used to be an old-type restaurant called ‘Three Aces’ which has since been demolished.

Now Abids has undergone so much change and the traffic has become so congested that first it was declared one-way road and one had to pay for parking. Recently parking has been entirely prohibited and all vehicles are required to be parked in the Municipal parking lot.

Lately, a number of new shopping areas, even more glamorous than Abids have sprung up in various part of the city. But still the hangover of the old days remains and it has an attraction of its own. Abid Road is also been modernized and some of the old shops have been renovated or demolished and new shops have come into their places. However, the Abid shop, Abid Road or simply Abids remains one of the landmarks of the city and perhaps next to Charminar it has become a symbol of the ‘new’ city which is also now becoming old.

Abids also is a pointer to the changes overtaking the city and underlines the fact that nothing remains modern forever. Times changes and along with that fashions and areas which were once new and most fashionable gradually become old and decrepit. Abid Road now stands at that threshold and in two years will enter the second century of its existence. Like Connaught Place of Delhi, a number of people avoid going there and do their shopping in numerous other smaller markets and malls all over the city. But inspite of all that Abids still remains the ultimate shopping bazar of the city.

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