India’s rich multi-culture identity has several traces of Arabs, Turks, Persians and Afghans, that filtered down to the State of Hyderabad, which was once the melting pot of several cultures.
SYED QAMAR HASAN | Caravan Daily
THE other day, Adnan Altay Altinors, Consul–General of the Republic of Turkey, Hyderabad called for joint efforts to research the shared history, culture and traditions of Turkey and Hyderabad. In a formal “meet the press”, held at the Consulate, to explain his country’s humanitarian efforts and stand on curbing terrorism. Mr Adnan stressed upon the potential for joint pogramme to this end.
Indeed, there is certain unexplained eccentricity about the history of Osmanli Turks (Anglicised- Ottoman Turks by Europe) and the erstwhile Dominion of the State of Hyderabad, under the Nizams, more outstandingly related to the last Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, (no blood ties with Osmanali’s) who got his two sons married to Osmanli princessess. His eldest son Azam Jah married Princess Durreshvar, daughter of the deposed Caliph, Sultan Abdul Majeed and his second son, Moazzam Jah to Durreshvars’ niece princess Nilofur.
Azam Jah and Dureshvars’ eldest son Mukkaram Jah who holds the titular title of 8th Nizam of Hyderabad wife, princess Esra is also Turkish, she is now the trustee and manages the crumbling remains of large palatial properties of the Nizam bequeathed to Mukkram jah. His younger sibling Muqqafam Jah’s is also married to a Turkish princess Esin. The octogenarian Mukkram Jah, once heir to the worlds’ richest man, now lives in a two bedroom apartment in Ankara.
That Osmanalis were the longest reigning dynasty in history. They ruled over worlds’ most fertile and culturally rich lands stretching into three continents, and after taking the Islamic territories into their control, it assumed the Islamic Caliphate. However, the empire came to end after a glorious reign of over 600 years in 1923, when occupying forces were defeated and the Republic of Turkey was founded under the leadership of Mustafa Kamal Pasha, known favourably to the Turks as AtaTurk, father of the nation.
Had history been kind to Abdul Majeed and Osman Ali Khan, it would have been a legendry and rich relationship between Turkey and erstwhile State of Hyderabad, that share several common cultural and social aspects of each others’ history, culture, traditions, arts and fine arts. Princess Durreshvar, would have had the unique singular honour of being the daughter of a king, daughter-in-law of a king, wife of a king and mother to a king. But it did not happen, for good or bad. However, there is scope far beyond the royals relationships to search and establish the strong cultural, social and religious influences of Turkish culture on Hyderabad and its elite and gentry.
India’s rich multi-culture identity has several traces of Arabs, Turks, Persians and Afghans, that filtered down to the State of Hyderabad, which was once the melting pot of several cultures. Traces of Turkish sartorial, food, and poetry shades are still in Tarbush (Romi topi), the Sherwani, Yahin Pilaf ( pulao) AKA Indianised Yakhni Pilaf. Not to mention the juicy, meaty Dorner Kebab which is fast becoming a much liked delicacy among Hydrabadis.
Syed Qamar Hasan is a senior Indian journalist who has worked with popular English dailies, Khaleej Times and Gulf News, published from Dubai, for a number of years. The views expressed here are personal.