“It was during my stint with a national daily that I started to explore Hyderabad’s heritage and history. I was covering this subject and at the same time, I thought about the necessity to talk about preserving and also promoting it. Most people who are born and brought up here don’t know anything about their own city. For instance, what we today call Hyderabadi Hindi is originally Dakhini – a mix of Urdu, Kannada, Telugu and Hindi languages. That was the language of the city, much before independence and the formation of current-day India. These are just a couple of facts that are unknown.
I remember on the 50th death anniversary of Osman Ali Khan – the last Nizam of the princely state of Hyderabad – there was hardly any news or stories on him and his legacy. That was when I spoke to a few historians and wrote a long-form article on it that it clicked well. I realised that people are interested in this subject but nobody writes about it. I then quit my job and started to research and read more about the city’s history. I wanted to write about these lesser-known stories, especially after I observed that there’s a lot of misinformation even among media folks who cover these topics. I started with Secunderabad because that’s where I belong and felt ashamed that I didn’t know much about it. Of course, a lot of my research continues to be on the Qutb Shahis and Nizams. Interestingly, the Qutb Shahis are hardly spoken about when they really were more broadminded and the ruled the princely state well. But most of us are not aware of this because our textbooks never mentioned it. How many of us have read about Chityala Ailamma – an Indian revolutionary leader during the Telangana Rebellion? The Telangana Armed Struggle from 1946 – 1951 also has hardly any mention.
Post the British rule and Hyderabad merging with India, the rulers and politicians in power didn’t promote most of Telangana or Hyderabad’s heritage, even in our history syllabus. That’s one of the main reasons why nobody knows anything. In the last few months, I’ve started writing more stories and also conducting walks across the city. Fortunately, I have been receiving good response from the right crowd which is keen to learn about the city. The city’s heritage is much more than just Golconda fort or the museum. There are ancient churches and streets that narrate unique stories. However, the government has not taken interest in preserving and popularising these stories. There are no documents to substantiate the history, but there are stories and memories shared by people that deserve to be learnt and promoted.”
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