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New capital: Can Naidu play Quli?

Comments Off on New capital: Can Naidu play Quli?   |   March 12, 2014    12:58pm   |Contributed by manoja

HYDERABAD: With Telangana now a reality, control over Hyderabad remains the major contentious issue which is as yet unresolved. It is said that the infrastructure required for the new capital of residual Andhra Pradesh will be completed within 3-4 years. If so, then one wonders as to why Hyderabad needs to play host to Andhra administration for the coming decade? The only plausible explanation for this inordinate delay in parting ways stems undoubtedly from the desire to undertake an exhaustive evaluation of the options available before making the crucial move. The initial gloom which this ‘pockmarked dawn’ ushered in for the city, even while the rest of Telangana rejoiced at achieving its long cherished dream of emancipation, has given way to widespread consternation at the prospect of remaining subservient despite such a landmark victory. Being firm believers in the time tested adage of “kar bhala so hoga bhala; unt bhale ka bhala”, the resilient denizens of Hyderabad have taken upon themselves the task of providing all possible assistance in facilitating a swift selection and early shift.

Revisiting Deccan history provides us with some remarkable methods when it comes to choosing the site for a new capital. While mundane aspects like a salubrious climate, the availability of water and ease of access have often been cited by scholars as prime factors contributing to the establishment of settlements, romantics have concocted, nurtured and sustained far more appealing legends in justifying certain otherwise inexplicable selections. Feroz Shah, the Bahmani sultan, is said to have witnessed a fox being chased by a hare in the vicinity of Bidar and considered the spectacle profound enough to order an immediate shift of capital from Gulbarga. Unfortunately, medieval chroniclers are silent as to where the fox fled thereafter; for that bit of information would have proved vital in determining the perfect lair for the present generation of Vulpine to relocate from Hyderabad! However, with such earnest divinations ruled out on grounds of easily being misconstrued as frivolous, one has to seek alternative determinants in the quest for an appropriate location.

The expansion of the Qutub Shahi capital was necessitated because of the extreme congestion within the fortified citadel at Golconda. Mohammed Quli, it is said, chanced upon the perfect spot on the southern bank of the Musi after a chase while out hunting and ‘when the moon was in the constellation of Leo and Jupiter was in his own mansion, the Sultan ordered architects and masons to prepare the plans of a city which would be unequalled any the world over and would be replica of paradise itself’. The new city, with the Charminar establishing its focal point, was laid out on a gridiron plan with the arterial roads forming a giant double cross along which piazzas, palaces, markets and public buildings were laid out to a grand scale with gardens and fountains generously laid out to ensure Hyderabad’s eminence as a beautiful, healthy and efficient city, comparable to the best in the world. Emulating Mohammed Quli in locating and planning the new capital would then be the most appropriate recourse available.

Initiating the selection process, our very own modern day ‘Quli’ – Chandrababu Naidu – can be sent galloping into the Andhra countryside in search of the perfect locale. Eminent professors of Jyotisha and Vaastu at the Telugu University, most appropriately named after that ‘great martyr of Andhra’ Potti Sriramulu, can be tasked to replicate the commendable exploits of Qutub Shahi astrologers. As for a centre-piece to serve the purpose of a pivotal point for the new city; inspired by the Statue of Liberty, people of Hyderabad have resolved to request Naidu to dismantle and cart away the steel monstrosity with pretensions of being a modern day Charminar that he created at Hi-Tec City. This appropriate ‘parting gift’, it is believed, will go a long way in ensuring a true imitation of the ‘replica of heaven on earth’.

For centuries Telangana has been a passionate well-wisher of people from contiguous areas of the erstwhile Madras Presidency. Regular appeals for help, always requested on humanitarian grounds which could neither be ignored nor dodged, so impacted public perceptions in Hyderabad that the people started praying to the Almighty for the wellbeing of their neighbors more fervently than for their own self! “Allah Madras ku accha rakhe” (May God ensure that all is well in Madras), became a common refrain on the lips of every Hyderabadi. Given the recent developments, the ardent prayers have been renewed with a newfound zeal; albeit with Andhra supplanted for Madras.


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