Hyderabad built to be replica of heaven

Historian Narendra Luther regales audience with Nizams’ anecdotes at art festival.

Hyderabad: Noted historian and author Narendra Luther regaled a select audience with memorable incidents and anecdotes about Hyderabad on Tuesday.

“The fifth Nizam of Hyderabad issued a decree to build a new city which should be a replica of heaven (jannat), a garden city. In tune with the ruler’s desire, Hyderabad was built by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah. But the city was plundered in 1687 by the Mughal forces led by Aurangzeb. After a long period of neglect, it rose to be the capital of the expansive Deccan province,” he said.

Showing an age old plan of Hyderabad with Charminar in the background, he said, “While the garden near Charminar has vanished over time to pave way for traffic, the fountain still remains,” he said.

Luther gave an audio visual presentation titled Romance of Hyderabad — From the age old rocks, Mughal, British and Nizam rule to modern Cyberabad, at the 10th Edition of the five day Krishnakriti annual festival of art and culture in memory of Krishnachandra B. Lahoti at Kalakriti Art Gallery here on Tuesday.

This was followed by the screening of City of Photos, and interaction with noted film director Nishtha Jain, who has produced several documentaries including the award winning Gulabi Gang.

Prashant Lahoti, owner of Kalakriti, spelled out the programme. Referring to the famed Macca Masjid, the second largest mosque in the country after Jamma Masjid in New Delhi, he said work on the mosque had began in 1617 and it took 70 years to complete.

“Aurangzeb who conquered Golconda, initially denied funds, but later gave in. Though the mosque accommodates 10,000 people, politicians always boast its capacity as 50,000. Politicians never change,” he said amid laughter.

Luther also revealed how teachers of Mehboob Ali Khan, Nizam VI, who acceded the throne at the young age of two and half years, had a harrowing time teaching him English and local languages.

“Teachers used to run after him with folded hands to come to the makeshift class. If he did not study or was undisciplined, another student was punished on his behalf. It was punishment by proxy. The Nizam VI was a dandy. He never wore a dress twice,” he said.

Despite being a Muslim, the Nizam VI performed “harathi” as advised by a Hindu priest to appease Goddess Bhavani when floods hit Hyderabad, destroying one-fourth of the city.

Referring to Nizam VII, Mir Osman Ali Khan, he said when he shifted to King Kothi, palace built by Kamal Khan, he was shocked to find the letters KK (Kamal Khan’s initials) all over.

“Embarrassed, the Nizam told his aides that the time taken to remove all the KKs could be used for building a new palace. But a clever aide told the king that the mansion belonged to him and KK stood for King Kothi. KK was thus converted into King Kothi.

“He had a unique way of accumulating wealth and a penchant for taking nazars (gifts). He used to send a mango to the person of his choice and the poor guy had to shell out Rs 24 as nazar,” he revealed.

( Source : dc )
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