Hyderabad: Muslim rulers, be they Qutub Shahis or Asif Jahis, had no bias against Telugu, rather they encouraged Telugu language and poets.
Muslim rulers ruled Hyderabad for more than 400 years starting from 1512 till 1948. These rulers, especially the Qutub Shahi kings 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, revealed a former professor of Osmania University.
Former professor Ashraf Rafi, who retired from Osmania University in 1998, recalled that 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. Prof. Ashraf Rafi did research into the Telugu language under Muslim rule with help from Professors Dr Vasumathi Reddy and Dr Raj Lalitha.
Addanki Gangadhara was a major poet of Qutub Shahi dynasty. He wrote verse in praise of Ibrahim Qutub Shah. During the same era Rudrakavi, Marigunti Singacharyulu, Ponanaganti Telangana got name and fame for their works.
“Malik-u-Shura” was the title bestowed upon the famous Telugu poet Pattamitta Kavi by Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah. He was also made chief Pandit, disclosed Prof. Rafi.
Poet Kami Reddy was rewarded with a palanquin, morchal (a fan made of peacock feathers) and precious stones by Mohammed Qutub Shah.
During the rule of Abdullah Qutub Shah, grandson of Quli Qutub Shah, intermingling of Hindus and Muslims was enhanced. The Telugu musician Chatrayya was rewarded with ashrafis (gold coins) and inams (reward), by Abdullah Qutub Shah. During the same period brothers Akkanna and Madanna rose to prominence.
Madanna was made Prime Minister in 1674 during the reign of the last and eighth Qutub Shahi ruler Abul Hasan Tana Shah. Abul Hasan was a great admirer of Telugu. According to Prof. Rafi, Shah Akbar, son of the spiritual teacher of Abul Hasan, 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.
The same practice was continued by the Asif Jahis. Prof. Rafi said that during Nizam rule, Non-Muslim population was nearly 60 per cent and the rulers had to give importance to their languages namely Telugu, Kannada and Marathi.