By Laxmi Devi Raj,
These are names of two rivers, yes! But in Hyderabad it is the cultural blend of its people. What is culture? Culture is universal- it is specific to a country, to a city and its people. Culture is the summit of a civilization. Hyderabad has an exemplary culture-culture rich in human values, art and architecture- a way of life complete in itself. A culture which flourished for over a period of 4 centuries, right from the Qutub Shahi’s to the Asif Jahi era. Amity and cordiality prevailed between people regardless of their religion. The rulers ensured that the people were content with the amenities provided – Life was laid back and languid person he day before or the day after for all Indians but not so far Hyderabadis. It can be an event which happened a month earlier or a year back. At weddings no one is in a hurry, so you spend a whole night enjoying yourself merry making. _(Jaldi kya he, rat apni he)_Next morning you set up late and you are like a zombie you want to sleep, not work, you can’t think straight.
Festivals like Dasera, Diwali, Id-ul-Fitr, and Id-ul-Zuha all were celebrated with verve by all communities alike. The 400 years old tradition rich city of Hyderabad is a melting pot of varied cultures, Hindu and Muslim traditions and customs are intricately interwoven into rich ethnicity of this city. Hospitality is the middle name of every true bred Hyderabadi, who takes great pride in discipline the graceful “Tehzeeb” at all rimes. This cosmopolitan city also toasts of a cuisine that is famous the world over. The synthesis of different cultures is still strong.
The terminology “communal harmony” was not heard of, it was not needed! People respected each other’s faiths and believe. Music, dance, literature, architecture flourished under the patronage of the rulers and the nobles. Hyderabad was always been a city of composite culture, a city which pulsated with literacy and culture activities. Hyderabadi culture ran deep relationship between families of different communities are still these to see, bonds are still very strong between families, peace and prosperity reigned supreme. Hyderabad was known as the heart of Indian, not because of its geographical location but because of its culture, an amalgamation of different communities living together (knit so closely). Language spoken was also “Deccani”, a combination of Persian, Telugu, Marathi; it was born during the Qutub Shahi rule. Literature, poetry etc all was patronized by the Qutub Shahi’s in fact Mohammed Qutub Shah was the first ‘Deccani’ poet with a compilation of his poetry. His count had Great Telugu poets who were patronized by the Qutub Shahis.
Hyderabad State comprised of Marathwada (Aurangabad, Osmanabad, jalna etc) Karnataka (Bridar, Zaheerabad, Humnabad, Raichur etc) and Telangana. Deccani was richer with inhibit words from all these languages. Hyderabad was rich blessed with a unique culture known for its prosperity, warmth and cordiality. The peace and property of Hyderabad was the outcome of the composite culture where people valued integrity and efficiency.
I was lucky to the born in the Asaf Jahi Hyderabad. I am a child of Hyderabad, Qutub Shahi culture and am proud of it. Certain values were attached and one had to strictly adhere to them. This value system was taught from childhood, respect for elders, graces, spoken language had to be soft and polite whether it was spoken with a family members or a servant, such was old Hyderabad, rich, diverse and dynamic, the mingling of Hindu and Muslim culture into a harmonious whole is very interesting and unique. I have had the good fortune of living through the unique way of life, it has a special place in my heart, I am sure the Qutub Shahi culture of Hyderabad is recorded or given a special mention in History for its unique qualities. I feel funny when people ask me whether I am a Hindu or a Muslim. Why can’t they just as us if we are Hyderabadis?
I grew up in a Hindu household where all pujas were performed, all fasts were kept, yes I am a Hindu, but religion is sacred, it has to be in your heart and not be exhibited. It is a way of life, it is so very private and personal, we had servants of different religions working together and we only knew these names, not their religion. My parents introduced me to so many of their friends, they were all uncles and aunts, and still are dear to me. I still keep up with their children as my cousins, religion was never mentioned. We were all fond of them and respected.
The late 7th Nizam of Hyderabad Mir Osman Ali Khan always said that Hindus and Muslims were his two eyes! The nobility and the ministers of his were apart from Muslims, Kayasthas, Maharastrians, Reddys, Tamilians, Marwaris, Kashtriyas, what a composition! Apart from celebrating festivals together inter-cast marriages was also quite welcome. Maharaja Sir Kishan Parshad, the Prime Minister of the 6th Nizam Mir Mahboob Ali Khan was great poet, I always repeat his verse:
I am a Hindu, I am a Muslim (Me hu Hindu, Me hu Musulman)
Every religion is my religion (Her mazhab he mera ima)
This is Hyderabad, Qutub Jahi Culture.