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MAHBUB AND THE RIVER MUSI

MAHBUB AND THE RIVER MUSI

Hyderabadis still remember the reign of Mahbub Ali Pasha as a Golden age in the history of Telangana, 5 districts of Maharashtra and the 3 districts of Karnataka. Mahbub was beloved of his people, who ruled Hyderabad state at the turn of 20th century, became a legend in his lifetime for his generosity and benevolence for his subjects.

The Musi river was the cause of frequent flood devastation of Hyderabad city until the early decades of the 20th century. On Tuesday, 28 September 1909, Hyderabad city witnessed disastrous floods of the river Musi flowing through city. These floods caused huge devastation to Hyderabad and killed around 500 people. Then, some Hindu priests urged the Nizam to pray river with Arati and flowers in Hindu tradition, then only the fury of the river would be abated. Being a secular monarch, the Nizam offered prayers to the river in Hindu tradition. The Asaf Jahis’ contention with the Hindu Holies was apparent in the many Hindu traditions and customs observed in the palace. Beef was as taboo as pork was and festivals like Diwali and Holi were observed with great aplomb. The orthodox Muslims looked askance at the Asaf Jahis and they merited Poet Iqbal’s couplet:

Vaiz – tang nazar ne mujhe kafir jana
Aur kafir yeh samajtha hai mussalman hoon mein
(The orthodox preacher considers me an unbeliever and the unbeliever thinks I am a Muslim)

Mahbub Ali Pasha asserted that Mahbub did not go to the river and offer prayers but Mahbub Ali Pasha went to the river and offered prayers, for, he was the ruler of both Hindus and Muslims.

Another recondite information about the Nizam’s magnanimity towards the vanquished enemy: between the rivers Krishna and the Tungabhadra was the ‘fertile crescent’ of the Raichur Doab, which was the bone of contention between the Bahamanis / Qutubshahis and the Vijayanagara rulers during well – nigh two centuries. Few other tracts have been so much irrigated with the blood of Hindus and Muslims as this historic valley. However, after the decline of the Vijayanagara empire, the descendant of the old royal family was confined to Anaigoondi, Zamindari. Tippoo annexed this. However, after the third Mysore war it was restituted to Raja of Anegondi. The last Rajah died without any issue in 1786 and his widow subsequently adopted a boy, but the British government did not recognize the adoption, and the estate, together with political pension paid to the family was escheated, and it was made over to the Nizam. The Nizam was more liberal to the representative of their old enemy, recognized the adopted son and allowed him to remain in possession of the diminished estate.

(Captain Pandu Ranga Reddy is a renowned historian has done his Ph.D., F.R.A.S. (Lond.); F.R.N.S. (Eng.), M. R. Hist. S. (Lond.))