The latest avatar of educationist in Zoology and Urdu, Dr Anand Raj Varma, is as author of a book, which is set to release on October 15. The books involve in-depth study of many unknown facets of their times in Hyderabad.
Says Varma, “I’m the seventh generation of the Jaiswal community that came to Hyderabad 200 years ago from Uttar Pradesh. My grandfather, Papa Lal, was the only Hindu, who worked as a Superintendent in the all-Arab private army regiment from Yemen (Jamiat Nizam Mahboob) of Mir Mehboob Ali Pasha, the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad. My interest in culture comes from my father Ganpat Lal, whose Geet and Drama aired on the All India Radio of Lahore (then a part of India), Lucknow and Delhi.
“The three volumes of my new book in Hindi, Daastan-E-Hyderabad, are about the time period, 1518-1687 Qutb Shahi, 1724-1948 Asaf Jahi, and the later period of Nawab Shahi.
These books give an insight into the culture, architecture, literature, and anecdotes during that period. Do you know that Maharaja Kishen Pershad never saw the face of the person whom he would donate money to? He would always keep his head down while donating. And, who says that Mir Osman Ali Khan, the last Nizam of Hyderabad, was a miser? Once, the Nizam gave some money to his servant to buy a blanket, but the servant came back as he fell short of three rupees.
The Nizam said he would use old blankets instead of putting in the additional money. After a few days, the head of Jama Masjid, New Delhi, came to seek the Nizam’s help for the renovation of the Masjid’s open area. He requested the Nizam to fund at least the one fourth area which would cost four lakh rupees.
The Nizam donated a total of sixteen lakh rupees! Then there was Fakhrul Mulk, one of the early nobles of Hyderabad, who was in the habit of waking up at 4 am and drinking tea. One day, a cat spilled the milk, and the servants decided to replace it. After the tea was served, Fakhrul Mulk said the tea smelt of horse perspiration. Also, once when Mir Mehboob Ali Pasha, the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad, heard animals howling at night.
The assistants explained that the animals were troubled due to the cold weather. He immediately ordered them to buy 100 blankets to cover the animals,” shares Dr Anand Raj Varma.
An expert in several languages, Varma adds, “The past generation of India got an opportunity to learn at least three languages. But today, computers have taken over and the language of business is more technical and software based. Hence, the youth is away from language and literature.”
— The writer is a musician, creator of ‘Jaywant Guitar’ and a freelance photographer