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Unique Features of Hyderabad

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Posted: Posted Date – 11:23 PM, Mon – Aug 1, 22

Hyderabad: This article is a follow-up to the last article devoted to the Nizams and the modernization of the State of Hyderabad.

Most visitors to the state were struck by the unique feature of general community friendship in Hyderabad. Walter Monckton, a British politician, on his first visit to the city, remarked during a morning walk that “Muslim mosques and Hindu temples stood side by side and worshipers of both creeds seemed to co-exist in peace” . The situation was similar even under the Qutb Shahis. It continued and reached its peak under the sixth and seventh Nizams, Mir Mahbub Ali Khan and Mir Osman Ali Khan. It was not hard to see how Hindus and Muslims joined each other’s processions so easily, entering each other’s houses at a happy time and attacking each other without anything lethal only garlands of flowers, perfumes and colored water.

The life of the average citizen was also the same. Sarojini Naidu described life in Hyderabad in the following terms: “Hyderabad has a way of affixing the seal of its particular traditions to all its sons and daughters, investing them, regardless of their communities and creeds, with a particular kinship.” It was a land where graceful and beautiful women dressed in magnificent clothes, carrying filigree paan boxes in henna-stained hands bristling with laziness and serenity far from the stormy centers of the world.

Hyderabad under the Asaf Jahis consisted of different communities and classes and never projected itself as a Hindu or Muslim cultural center. It was a synthesis of all religions built on a sense of common nationality and culture for the progress of the state.

Until the end of the state in 1948, the state administration continued to fund and oversee important Hindu institutions and events, and it publicly proclaimed its role in the face of increasingly communal politics both inside and outside the state. In 1943, the State Information Bureau issued another publication highlighting photos and brief descriptions of two important places of worship, shrines and religious buildings in Hyderabad. In the city, the temple of Ramchandraji built in the time of the second Nizam by Baba Balak Das is included, with a photo of the birthplace donated to the temple by Nizam Ali Khan; the text mentions a jagir given to him by the fourth Nizam. Kishen Bagh Temple is included; his jagir of Rs 18,000 per year and his good relationship with the ‘Durgah of Kishen Bagh’ are mentioned. The Sitaram Bagh temple is included; its jagir of almost Rs 50,000 per year, its annual jatra and its government-supervised management committee are mentioned. The temple of Jham Singh in the locality of Kulsampura Karwan Sahu is included; its jagir of the third Nizam of Rs 8408 per year, its jatra and its management committee supervised by the Ecclesiastical Department are mentioned. Finally, the temple or math (monastery) of Baba Khaim Das is included; its grant of Rs 11,521 per year.

The founding and development of Hindu temples in Hyderabad, with the full support of Muslim rulers and the Nizam state, engaged nobles, officials and other key figures of the Nizam administration in the creative construction of a plural society. This plural society shared characteristics with the ancient Indian Hindu and Muslim kingdoms of the subcontinent. Similarly, the Nizams of Hyderabad employed Hindu as well as Muslim officials and institutions to expand and tame the urban borders of Hyderabad. Bansi Raja and the Keshavagiri temple best illustrate the mutual empowerment of state and religion. Social relations, infrastructure development, language and literature, education and learning both economically and socially represented the quintessence of the cultural traditions of his domain. Much of the credit goes to Mir Osman Ali Khan for raising the status of Hyderabad State.

Professor Adapa Satyanarayana

retired teacher
Department of History, Osmania University
Phone 9573405551