Hyderabad Knowledge Guide
According to John Everett-Heath, the author of Oxford Concise Dictionary of World Place Names, Hyderabad means "Haydar's city" or "lion city", from haydar (lion) and ābād (city), and was named to honour the Caliph Ali Ibn Abi Talib, who was also known as Haydar because of his lion-like valour in battles. Andrew Petersen, a scholar of Islamic architecture, says the city was originally called Baghnagar (city of gardens). One popular theory suggests that the founder of the city, Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah of the Golconda Sultanate, named it after Bhagmati, a local nautch (dancing) girl with whom he had fallen in love. She converted to Islam and adopted the title Hyder Mahal. The city was named as Hyderabad in her honour.According to German traveller Heinrich von Poser, whose travelogue of the Deccan was translated by Gita Dharampal-Frick of Heidelberg University, there were two names for the city: "On 3 December 1622, we reached the city of Bagneger or Hederabat, the seat of the king Sultan Mehemet Culi Cuttub Shah and the capital of the kingdom". French traveller Jean de Thévenot visited the Deccan region in 1666–1667 refers to the city in his book Travels in India as "Bagnagar and Aiderabad".
Early and medieval history
Archaeologists excavating near the city have unearthed Iron Age sites that may date from 500 BCE. The region comprising modern Hyderabad and its surroundings was ruled by the Chalukya dynasty from 624 CE to 1075 CE. Following the dissolution of the Chalukya empire into four parts in the 11th century, Golconda came under the control of the Kakatiya dynasty from 1158, whose seat of power was at Warangal, 148 km (92 mi) northeast of modern Hyderabad. The Kakatiya dynasty was reduced to a vassal of the Khalji dynasty in 1310 after its defeat by Sultan Alauddin Khalji of the Delhi Sultanate. This lasted until 1321, when the Kakatiya dynasty was annexed by Malik Kafur, Allaudin Khalji's general. During this period, Alauddin Khalji took the Koh-i-Noor diamond, which is said to have been mined from the Kollur Mines of Golconda, to Delhi. Muhammad bin Tughluq succeeded to the Delhi sultanate in 1325, bringing Warangal under the rule of the Tughlaq dynasty until 1347 when Ala-ud-Din Bahman Shah, a governor under bin Tughluq, rebelled against Delhi and established the Bahmani Sultanate in the Deccan Plateau, with Gulbarga, 200 km (124 mi) west of Hyderabad, as its capital. The Hyderabad area was under the control of the Musunuri Nayaks at this time, who, however, were forced to cede it to the Bahmani Sultanate in 1364. The Bahmani kings ruled the region until 1518 and were the first independent Muslim rulers of the Deccan.Sultan Quli, a governor of Golconda, revolted against the Bahmani Sultanate and established the Qutb Shahi dynasty in 1518; he rebuilt the mud-fort of Golconda and named the city "Muhammad nagar". The fifth sultan, Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, established Hyderabad on the banks of the Musi River in 1591, to avoid the water shortages experienced at Golconda. During his rule, he had the Charminar and Mecca Masjid built in the city. On 21 September 1687, the Golconda Sultanate came under the rule of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb after a year-long siege of the Golconda Fort. The annexed city "Hyderabad" was renamed Darul Jihad (House of War), whereas its state "Golconda" was renamed Deccan Suba (Deccan province) and the capital was moved from Golconda to Aurangabad, about 550 km (342 mi) northwest of Hyderabad.
In 1714 Farrukhsiyar, the Mughal emperor, appointed Asaf Jah I to be Viceroy of the Deccan, with the title Nizam-ul-Mulk (Administrator of the Realm). In 1724, Asaf Jah I defeated Mubariz Khan to establish autonomy over the Deccan Suba, named the region Hyderabad Deccan, and started what came to be known as the Asaf Jahi dynasty. Subsequent rulers retained the title Nizam ul-Mulk and were referred to as Asaf Jahi Nizams, or Nizams of Hyderabad. The death of Asaf Jah I in 1748 resulted in a period of political unrest as his sons, backed by opportunistic neighbouring states and colonial foreign forces, contended for the throne. The accession of Asaf Jah II, who reigned from 1762 to 1803, ended the instability. In 1768 he signed the treaty of Machilipatnam, surrendering the coastal region to the East India Company in return for a fixed annual rent.In 1769 Hyderabad city became the formal capital of the Nizams. In response to regular threats from Hyder Ali (Dalwai of Mysore), Baji Rao I (Peshwa of the Maratha Empire), and Basalath Jung (Asaf Jah II's elder brother, who was supported by the Marquis de Bussy-Castelnau), the Nizam signed a subsidiary alliance with the East India Company in 1798, allowing the British Indian Army to be stationed at Bolarum (modern Secunderabad) to protect the state's capital, for which the Nizams paid an annual maintenance to the British.Until 1874 there were no modern industries in Hyderabad. With the introduction of railways in the 1880s, four factories were built to the south and east of Hussain Sagar Lake, and during the early 20th century, Hyderabad was transformed into a modern city with the establishment of transport services, underground drainage, running water, electricity, telecommunications, universities, industries, and Begumpet Airport. The Nizams ruled their princely state from Hyderabad during the British Raj.After India gained independence, the Nizam declared his intention to remain independent rather than become part of the Indian Union. The Hyderabad State Congress, with the support of the Indian National Congress and the Communist Party of India, began agitating against Nizam VII in 1948. On 17 September that year, the Indian Army took control of Hyderabad State after an invasion codenamed Operation Polo. With the defeat of his forces, Nizam VII capitulated to the Indian Union by signing an Instrument of Accession, which made him the Rajpramukh (Princely Governor) of the state until 31 October 1956.
In the past, Qutb Shahi rulers and Nizams attracted artists, architects and men of letters from different parts of the world through patronage. The resulting ethnic mix popularised cultural events such as mushairas (poetic symposia). The Qutb Shahi dynasty particularly encouraged the growth of Deccani Urdu literature leading to works such as the Deccani Masnavi and Diwan poetry, which are among the earliest available manuscripts in Urdu. Lazzat Un Nisa, a book compiled in the 15th century at Qutb Shahi courts, contains erotic paintings with diagrams for secret medicines and stimulants in the eastern form of ancient sexual arts. The reign of the Nizams saw many literary reforms and the introduction of Urdu as a language of court, administration and education. In 1824, a collection of Urdu Ghazal poetry, named Gulzar-e-Mahlaqa, authored by Mah Laqa Bai—the first female Urdu poet to produce a Diwan—was published in Hyderabad. Hyderabad has continued with these traditions in its annual Hyderabad Literary Festival, held since 2010, showcasing the city's literary and cultural creativity. Organisations engaged in the advancement of literature include the Sahitya Akademi, the Urdu Academy, the Telugu Academy, the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language, the Comparative Literature Association of India, and the Andhra Saraswata Parishad. Literary development is further aided by state institutions such as the State Central Library, the largest public library in the state which was established in 1891, and other major libraries including the Sri Krishna Devaraya Andhra Bhasha Nilayam, the British Library and the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram.
Music and films
South Indian music and dances such as the Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam styles are popular in the Deccan region. As a result of their culture policies, North Indian music and dance gained popularity during the rule of the Mughals and Nizams, and it was also during their reign that it became a tradition among the nobility to associate themselves with tawaif (courtesans). These courtesans were revered as the epitome of etiquette and culture, and were appointed to teach singing, poetry and classical dance to many children of the aristocracy. This gave rise to certain styles of court music, dance and poetry. Besides western and Indian popular music genres such as filmi music, the residents of Hyderabad play city-based marfa music, dholak ke geet (household songs based on local folklore), and qawwali, especially at weddings, festivals and other celebratory events. The state government organises the Golconda Music and Dance Festival, the Taramati Music Festival and the Premavathi Dance Festival to further encourage the development of music.Although the city is not particularly noted for theatre and drama, the state government promotes theatre with multiple programmes and festivals in such venues as the Ravindra Bharati, Shilpakala Vedika and Lalithakala Thoranam. Although not a purely music oriented event, Numaish, a popular annual exhibition of local and national consumer products, does feature some musical performances.The city is home to the Telugu film industry, popularly known as Tollywood and as of 2012, produces the second largest number of films in India behind Bollywood. Films in the local Hyderabadi dialect known as Deccani film industry, Deccanwood/Dollywood are also produced and have been gaining popularity since 2005. The city has hosted international film festivals such as the International Children's Film Festival and the Hyderabad International Film Festival. In 2005, Guinness World Records declared Ramoji Film City to be the world's largest film studio.
Art and handicrafts
The region is well known for its Golconda and Hyderabad painting styles which are branches of Deccan painting. Developed during the 16th century, the Golconda style is a native style blending foreign techniques and bears some similarity to the Vijayanagara paintings of neighbouring Mysore. A significant use of luminous gold and white colours is generally found in the Golconda style. The Hyderabad style originated in the 17th century under the Nizams. Highly influenced by Mughal painting, this style makes use of bright colours and mostly depicts regional landscape, culture, costumes and jewellery.Although not a centre for handicrafts itself, the patronage of the arts by the Mughals and Nizams attracted artisans from the region to Hyderabad. Such crafts include: Bidriware, a metalwork handicraft from neighbouring Karnataka, which was popularised during the 18th century and has since been granted a Geographical Indication (GI) tag under the auspices of the WTO act; and Zari and Zardozi, embroidery works on textile that involve making elaborate designs using gold, silver and other metal threads. Another example of a handicraft drawn to Hyderabad is Kalamkari, a hand-painted or block-printed cotton textile that comes from cities in Andhra Pradesh. This craft is distinguished in having both a Hindu style, known as Srikalahasti and entirely done by hand, and an Islamic style, known as Machilipatnam that uses both hand and block techniques. Examples of Hyderabad's arts and crafts are housed in various museums including the Salar Jung Museum (housing "one of the largest one-man-collections in the world"), the AP State Archaeology Museum, the Nizam Museum, the City Museum and the Birla Science Museum.
Hyderabadi cuisine comprises a broad repertoire of rice, wheat and meat dishes and the skilled use of various spices. Hyderabad is listed by UNESCO as a creative city of gastronomy.. The Hyderabadi biryani and Hyderabadi haleem with their blend of Mughlai and Arab cuisines, carry the national Geographical Indications tag. Hyderabadi cuisine is influenced to some extent by French, but more by Arabic, Turkish, Iranian and native Telugu and Marathwada cuisines. Popular native dishes include nihari, chakna, baghara baingan and the desserts qubani ka meetha, double ka meetha and kaddu ki kheer (a sweet porridge made with sweet gourd).