Muslim rulers used Telugu as second official language

Published Apr 21, 2017, 3:14 am IST
Updated Apr 21, 2017, 7:15 am IST
The Qutub Shahi gave Telugu the status of second official language.
Representational image
 Representational image

Hyderabad: Hyderabad was ruled by Muslim rulers — the Qutub Shahis and Asaf Jahis — for more than 400 years starting from 1512 till 1948, but they patronised Telugu language without bias.

Not only Dakkani and Urdu, these rulers, especially the Qutub Shahi kings, encouraged Telugu language and poets, a former professor of Osmania University said.


The Qutub Shahi gave Telugu the status of second official language. The rural administration at that time was conducted in Telugu and royal edicts were translated into the language. Even in the courts, the umra (elite) and magrabans (those close to the rulers) were mainly Telugus.

If the courts had people like Hazrat Momin, Mustafa Khan Astrabadi and Ameerul Mulk, they also had Asi Rao, Sayaji, Dhama Rao and Bhale Rao, former professor Ashraf Rafi. who retired from Osmania University in 1998, said. She continued research into the Telugu language under Muslim rule with help from Professors Dr Vasumathi Reddy and Dr Raj Lalitha, who worked in Vanita Mahavidyalaya.

Addanki Gangadhara was a major poet and traced the genelogy of Qutub Shahi dynasty. he wrote verse in praise of Ibrahim Qutub Shah. Rudrakavi, Marigunti Singacharyulu, Ponanaganti Telangana got name and fame for their works.

Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah bestowed the title of “Malik-u-Shura” on the famous Telugu poet Pattamitta Kavi and made him chief pandit, according to Dr Rafi.

Mohammed Qutub Shah rewarded the poet Kami Reddy with a palanquin, morchal (a fan made of peacock feathers) and precious stones.

The reign of his grandson Abdullah Qutub Shah saw enhanced intermingling of Hindus and Muslims, accompanied by a flurry of activity in Telugu poetry. The Telugu musician Chatrayya was rewarded with ashrafis (gold coins) and inams (reward), Prof. Rafi said.

During the reign of Abdullah Qutub Shah, brothers Akanna and Madanna rose to prominence.

Madanna started as a clerk and was appointed chief of the royal treasury through talent, guile and intrigue. The last and eighth Qutub Shahi ruler Abul Hasn Tana Shah made him Prime Minister in 1674.

Abul Hasn was a great admirer of Telugu. Shah Akbar, son of the spiritual teacher of Abul Hasn, translated the Alankara Shastra (a book written by Ranga Sai) into Sanskrit.

Kancherla Gopanna, the nephew of Akkanna and Madanna was hired as tahsildar of Paloncha taluk in Khammam. Gopanna, who was given title of “Ram Bhakth” by the king made major contributions to Bhakti literature in Telugu language.

The Asaf Jahis continued the practice. Prof. Rafi said that during Nizam rule, the population comprised people mainly speaking in Urdu, Telugu, Kannada and Marathi. Non-muslim population was nearly 60 per cent and the rulers had to give importance to these languages.

The contribution of these rulers to history, literature, linguistic synthesis, culture, architecture and music has much to do with social integration, unity and democracy seen in present times, she said.

Location: India, Telangana, Hyderabad