I wrote this article for a collection of essays on the army-led merger of the princely state of Hyderabad State into the rest of India. This collection of essays was published by Omar Khalidi in 1989.  My essay is an attempt at Hyderabad’s post-1948 social history, based mostly on what I myself observed, and partly on the memoirs of Hafiza Jamal published in a book devoted to the life and works of Sughra Humayun Mirza, who was a leader in the state’s movement to educate girls, especially Muslim girls — Usama Khalidi

In the late afternoon of a beautiful spring day in 1936, Hafiza Jamal hurried through her make-up chores and thought of the people who would be there that evening at the tea party in honor of Sughra Begum, the celebrity from Hyderabad, a social reformer, writer and poetess, and above all a humanist. All members of Aurangabad’s small community of government officers transferred from Hyderabad were invited.

At 19 years of age, Hafiza had been married for a year or so and had recently moved to Aurangabad following her husband’s new posting. She had read about the work and message of Mrs. Sughra Humayun Mirza in the newspapers and in the leading magazines. She had known of her as a leader of the women’s education movement and an enlightened lady. To Hafiza and her friends, Sughra Begum represented a rare message of hope for women’s education, for the abolition of purdah, against child marriage, against unprincipled polygamy, and for the woman’s freedom to obtain employment.

It was a rare moment in the lives of all the upper crust ladies of Aurangabad. Their faces glowed with admiration for Sughra Begum as they were introduced to her one after another.  She spoke to each of them and lingered over the introductions. Toward the end of the party, Hafiza noticed that no one had said anything on behalf of the women of Aurangabad. That wasn’t right, she thought, and although she probably was the youngest in the crowd, she got up and thanked Sughra Begum for the visit. She mentioned that her trip was especially significant because the city had no organization serving women’s interests or concerns in any form. On the spot, Sughra Begum invited Hafiza to organize the local chapter of her Association of Deccan Women, and to become its secretary. This exchange marked the beginning of an extension of the crusade for women’s education into the provinces of the former Hyderabad state. Hafiza Jamal joined a devoted band of her followers and carriers of the message.

By the time of her Aurangabad visit, Sughra Begum had been in the middle years of her work, which she had begun in her early twenties and continued until her death at age 74 in 1958. She had formally launched her movement by setting up the association in 1917. It operated a skills training center for women, offered adult education classes and organized meetings for women to discuss the issues affecting their lives. Her organization and her work enjoyed the quiet support of the growing upper class of northern transplants in Hyderabad. This new elite was composed of administrators and educators who had flocked to the Nizam’s State when Prime Minister Salar Jang started reorganizing the administration on a modern footing. Since there was hardly a native college graduate available, almost all the top appointees were northerners.

This was equally true for Osmania University, which coincidentally started functioning in 1917. Thus, the year marks the beginning of modern times in the history of Hyderabad. The modernization of administration and the presence of a university set in motion a whole new set of ideas in the sleepy old world of Hyderabad, which was organized around the false kinship of the Nizam. Although he had a war of nerves at times with the British Residents over the appointment of his key ministers, he filled the top positions and generally lorded over a political system that rewarded high birth, sycophancy and patronage. Bribery of one kind of another lubricated the system.

Large numbers of families depended for their sustenance on serving the many “noblemen,” with the Nizam supporting a population of more than 5,000 hangers-on. The jagirdars and their families lived high off the blood and sweat of the poor peasants, with the higher caste Hindus serving as intermediaries between them and, of course, getting their cut.

The new immigrants from the North were the bearers of the new ideas about modern education, equality and industry. The newcomers wielded some power and displayed their wealth, which caused resentment among the native Deccanis. They revived the local vs. outsider issue—a centuries old standby in Deccani politics—but failed to stem the tide. On the other hand, the outsiders walked with a spring in their toes, displaying easy self-confidence and a sense of mastery over their world. This was one of the first generations of Muslims to feel equal to the British and the Indians in their worldly accomplishments. They were Sir Sayyid’s boys and girls, products of Aligarh and other colleges, out in the world to put things right, carrying a sense of mission to lead the Muslim society into the modern age. They were thoroughly comfortable with the wider world and aware of the challenges it posed to the Muslim community.

These people happened to be mostly Shia. That gave many Deccanis an excuse to dismiss all that they stood for in the secular world as so much hypocrisy. Although much of the Indian Muslim culture is suffused with Iranian/Shia customs and heritage, the Shias were the target of Deccani bias. Their adaptability was viwed as fickleness and their own obscurantism as a way of holding their ground in the face of opposition. One other stimulus to change was the marriage of one of the sons of the Nizam to Princess Nilufer, a Turkish woman of high birth, who refused to observe purdah and openly appeared in public. The marriage ended in divorce, which posed a challenge to the traditional way of thinking. The greatest opposition to change understandably came from the Mashaykhin, the large groups of people loosely organized around a holy man buried in a grand grave and his living successors.

In the late 40’s, Hyderabad State’s population was an estimated 16.4 million, of which Muslims were 3 million. Of the total Hindu population, 6 million were lower caste and 250,000 Brahmins; those in between were Lingayats, Marathas, and Telangana residents. Other minorities, such as Christian, Parsi and Sikhs, were estimated to be around 700,000.

In their ethnic composition, the largest segment of the Muslim Hyderabadis, 30 percent to 40 percent, were Deccanis descended from Turkish, Iranian and Arab fore-fathers. The rest were groups from all parts of the subcontinent and included communities of Bohras, Khojas, Mahdavi and non-Mahdavi Pathans and Hadhramauti Arabs.

 In terms of their practice of , or adherence to, Isam, the population differed widely. Namaze, then as now, was usually confined to the older, gray-haired generation. Large numbers of people of all classes were indifferent to the basic tenents of Islam, and many people, including Mahbub Ali Khan, the sixth Nizam, didn’t know that toddy was forbidden. The jagirdar/nawabi elites were equally ignorant of the Islamic code of conduct. The urs festivals, centered around the dead holy men, and other holy days were observed with great enthusiasm and played a big part in people’s lives. The urs at Pahadi Sharif and Maula Ali always drew thousands over a period of several days. Formal dress for the middle and upper classes was sherwani and fez (Rumi topi), the red or gray rimless felt hat with or without a black tassel.

Claiming the exclusive right to interpret religion, the Mashaykhin kept a sharp eye on the new trends that affected their self-interest. They railed against the move toward the abandonment of purdah, against the call for women’s education and against what they considered the inroads of materialism. Women of the more traditional middle-class homes read such conservative magazines as Ismat and Khatun.

Nevertheless, the enrollment of girls in schools kept expanding. The University Women’s College opened its doors to the first graduating class a few years after the mother institution, i.e., in 1919, which indicates that the first batch of school-leaving girls had entered school around 1909.

The full-fledged functioning of Osmania University with Urdu as its medium of instruction put Hyderabad on the subcontinent’s intellectual map as political winds of change continued to sweep through the region. In 1945, an all-Indian Progressive Urdu Writers Conference was held in Hyderabad. This meeting was attended by such luminaries as Sajjad Zahir and Krishan Chander. It sparked the imagination of the city’s intellectuals as it opened a new channel for social activism. The audience hall had a separate section for women. Many of the England-returned Hyderabad ladies sat in the women’s section. However, Jamalunnisa, a 26-year-old woman who had come to Hyderabad at an early age with her father from U.P., led a small group of women out of their section to sit with the men. At the time, this step came to be seen as an open declaration of women’s aspirations. Jamalunnisa went on to become a leading social activist and was associated with the communist party, and later with the cause of women’s employment. The eldest of four daughters, she got her own sisters enrolled in schools and saw one of them achieve academic distinction as a professor of Farsi at Osmania.

Understandably, the decade of the 40’s was one of great uncertainty. There was a huge question mark on the future of the Nizam’s State. World War II was ending and there was talk of creation of Pakistan. No one knew where the boundaries of the new state would be drawn. For many families, it was more than a matter of economic survival. It meant changing one’s identity. For others, it was a question of religious significance. They could not bear to think they might not be living in an Islamic state.

When the dust settled down after the upheaval of the Police Action, entire families packed up their bags and left for Pakistan. Many did so in expectation of greater economic opportunities in Pakistan. Many of the families who had some members among the emigrants had their homes confiscated by the new government of Hyderabad, although the rule was that only the title-holder’s property could be taken if he or she had moved to the new country. Soon there wasn’t a family in Hyderabad that didn’t have some or most of its members moving to Pakistan.

The decade of the 50’s opened with the Hyderabadis barely recovering from the great upheaval. The impact on the people’s psyche apparently was much greater than on their economic status. Although the effects of the economic boycott imposed by India in the pre-Police Action days were still being felt, with fuel shortages and grain rationing, people by and large did not lose their means of livelihood. The worst sufferers were the clase of hangers-on whose patron lord had fallen on well-deserved hard times. People continued in their jobs or with their businesses, but worried about the new political order. The government was headed by Chief Minister B. Rama Krishan Rao, a Telengana man with no particular anti-Muslim bias. The Nizam assumed the new title of Raj Pramukh, the equivalent of the nominal governor.

Surprisingly, the jagirdar class came through the change of fortunes much better than they probably deserved to. The Indian government in one of its most generous and honorable acts eased the jagirdari class’s transition from its privileged position to ordinary status by granting an allowance in proportion to their former entitlements. Still, in the mid-50’s, they were not content with their lot. Some of them organized themselves as a political group and had an educational encounter with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru during one of his visits to Hyderabad. This group of people along with their wives and children went to the prime minister’s residence to draw attention to their plight by shouting slogans as Nehru’s limousine drove by. The children shouted “Nehru Chacha Zindabad.” That drew the prime minister’s attention. He stopped his entourage and asked to speak t the group’s leader, a thoroughly old-style Hyderabadi raja albeit a Hindu. This man raved and ranted about the good old days, and denounced the Indian government to the prime minister’s face. Nehru graciously told the man “it’s your deeds, sir,” that brought the hard times upon people of this kind.

As they picked up the prices of their disrupted lives, people debated whether or not to migrate, and evaluated the news of those who had left. The picture of conditions in Pakistan was far from tempting. The situation at home, though not intolerable, was far from settled. To turn their thoughts away from their immediate situation, people found some relief by going to the movie houses that were playing big-time films. Songs from these films were on everybody’s lips. This was the time when the film industry had exploded in a burst of creativity and put on the market movies that depicted on the screens stories that were part of the Urdu and Hindi-speaking people’s consciousness for generations. Urdu poets and writers found a new outlet for their works and gained wide popularity. Biju Bawara, starring Bharat Bhushan, was one of the first blockbuster movies to catch the people’s imagination.

Dilip Kumar burst on the scene with his leading role in the first Indian film in Technicolor, Aan, another blockbuster. In its footsteps followed such big hits as Anarkali, Azad and Uran Khatola. Again, songs from tehse movies filled the air as they blared from radios out of Irani “hotels” on every street. By 1960, the movie industry had shown signs of some maturity when it produced its most ambitious film to date, Moghal-e Azam, and offered films that attempted to address social issues. The end of the 50’s decade appeared to mark the end of the Indo-Iranian cast in the Indian culture as shown in the movies.

An Urdu monthly, Shamaa, gained widespread popularity with its extensive coverage of news about films and film personalities. The magazine reaped huge profits by dangling prizes worth thousands of rupees in crossword puzzle contests. Another publication that found a large audience in Hyderabad as well as in other Urdu-speaking areas of the country was the serialized detective novel. The genre was pioneered by the Jasoosi Duniya, with Colonel Faridi as the hero and Captain Hamid as his side-kick. The author was Ibne Safi, who lived in Karachi. The serial novels published each month clearly were copies of American detective stories. Not only was the plot borrowed, but the technological society the novel depicted bore little resemblance to India and Pakistan. The characters, however, bore Indian and Pakistani names and exhibited values and behavior normal for the subcontinent. This anomaly, however, did not seem to bother the readers. They apparently enjoyed a mental picture of a technological society such as America, of which they were hearing more and more.

Another publication that gained popularity was the Rumani Duniya, a romantic novel published monthly between its covers. This publication had no serial characters. Each story was complete, but the common theme was romance between two personas and the problems they faced. Although such novels had no serious or literary content, they served to raise the self-awareness of the Muslims as a society with their peculiar social evils. Strangely, many of these novels contained major characters that were prostitutes with the title of tawaifs. This phenomenon apparently was related to the nineteenth-century fascination with the singer-dancer ladies of the night, so romanticized in Urdu ghazals, and presented with sympathy in Umrao Jan Ada.

Aeena was a more serious and literary magazine that appeared on the scene during the 50s and gained much respect. But it folded within months of establishing itself because of poor labor relations. During the year or so that it operated, it had attracted the works of top Urdu literary figures of the subcontinent and had helped to give the Muslims a sense of the modern, secular world that was taking shape. After Aeena, no general circulation magazine like it appeared to take its place.

During the 50s, the one topic that was conspicuously absent from most Urdu journals in India was the trauma of Partition. Maybe the trauma hadn’t been fully absorbed, or it was too painful to express in any literary form, or maybe the political climate did not permit any such expression. Nevertheless the tragedy of Partition and the holocaust that accompanied it received overdue attention in the short stories published in a massive anthology by Nuqush in Pakistan. Perhaps, in Urdu, only the Punjabis could have handled this subject since they had the most direct experience of it. In any event, Nuqush’s Afsana Number was a great literary event, and it could only be outdone by another massive anthology, the Shahksiyat Number, which followed a short time later. This edition was published in three large volumes and contained biographical articles on all literary figures of note spanning several decades.

As the decade of the 50s wore on, Hyderabadi families frequently trooped to Nampally train station, loaded onto two or three covered rickshaws, to see husbands, brothers or uncles leave for Pakistan, their arms full of imam zamins. It was the same scene at the train station—women in burqas, little children milling around, and men in sherwanis putting on brave faces.

Large families with single breadwinners coped with the hard times, but spared no effort in seeing that their boys and girls got proper education. There were sill large numbers of families who didn’t send their daughters to school. These families sent the girls to private evening schools that arranged group trips to Aligarh, where the girls would take their high school matriculation exam, and usually pass it.

Beginning with the 1960s, young men who had secured good jobs or set up businesses in Pakistan started coming back to Hyderabad to get married and return to their new homes. The stories they brought back from Pakistan did not indicate an easy road to success, but, they said, it was a country they could call their own, one they would gladly make sacrifices for.

The 1962 India-China war did not directly affect Muslims much, but it brought home the fact of their common Indian nationality. Students attended National Cadet Corps parades, donning the khaki uniforms and berets, and went to annual camps.

Indo-Pak politics was avidly followed by people. The worsening India-Pakistan relations were reflected in the availability of visas for short visits, and in the reliability of mail, which was widely believed to have been censored. In early 1965, the political relations between India and Pakistan had worsened dangerously. Suddenly, war broke out with Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch. It was supposed to have been a military probe of Indian defenses. Still there was an air in the Gujarat area. The same year, in September, Pakistan armor clashed with Indian might in Kashmir and in the Punjab. Air war waged over the north for more than two weeks. On land, Indian forces occupied a large chunk of Pakistani territory and were within artillery range of Sialkot and Lahore. The mosque attendance all over Hyderabad rose sharply.

Everyone had the same prayer on his or her lips. Although loyalty to India was declared loudly by leaders of all kinds of organizations, people kept their thoughts to themselves and regularly listened to Pakistan Radio broadcasts. After the Tashkent agreement and the death of Prime Minister Shastri, a new wave of anti-Muslim carnage began in Jamshedpur and in parts of Bengal and Bihar where Hindu refugees from what was East Pakistan had settled. M.C. Chagla, the central minister of education, harangued and harassed the Muslims wih his calls for them to join the mainstream of Indian public life. The Muslims viewed Chagla as a shallow opportunist acting on behalf of an anti-Muslim leadership. Surprisingly, no Muslim of any stature cared to engage in any kind of debate as to what was mainstream, or why Muslims were perceived to be outside the so-called mainstream, or what would it take to get the Muslims to join such a mainstream.

The students of Madarsa-I Aliya, Mahbubiya and St. George’s Grammar schools not only reflected their elitist social background, but also the change in fortunes for some among them. The students of these schools came from families that were either part of the jagirdari system, the Nizam’s Sarf-I Khas population or the old administrative and professional classes. There was a good sprinkling of children of former nawabs among the students.

The Hyderabadis had a sharp and painful awareness of having lost power, both economic and political. The rules of the game had changed, and for the graduating classes of the 60s, there were no role models to follow, or clear-cut routes out of their bleak economic situation. Professional colleges were open and competition was severe for entrance. The rules of competition were fairly administered, which saw thousands of young Muslims, both boys and girls, entering medical and engineering schools. It was not uncommon to see Muslim girls in engineering or even veterinary schools. Many in this generation of college students saw their older brothers or cousins leaving for England on job vouchers or for America as doctors or as students.

A military build-up after the ’62 China war had opened up opportunities for officer rank commissions, and some young men found a way out of their problems by joining the services. There were a few instances where people had found well-paid jobs in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait, but not many. While students struggled through college, parents were growing old, sisters were growing up and getting anxious about their marriage prospects. Money was tight, and there weren’t many jobs to be had for anyone. Few people were getting married, at least outside their extended families, and there was not much to cheer about in private or public life. Young men congregated in neighborhood restaurants or at downtown teahouses, and talked their evenings away.

Amid the encircling gloom, a call for return to a simple and basic Islam made by Tablighi Jamaat struck a responsive chord among large numbers of people. Hundreds of young people congregated every Friday at the Mallapally Grand Mosque to hear students attending technical colleges preach to their peers and urge them to offer three days of their lives during the month to go on group trips to neighboring areas on missions to spread the word. The annual Tablighi Jamaat meeting at Barkas drew thousands of people, who heard sermons and prayed together for their salvation. The message was to return to Islam and be the ideal Muslim, and all would be well. The newspapers at the time reported that a similar annual meeting of the Jamaat drew 200,000 in Bhopal one year. The government was believed to have been keeping a close watch on the activities of the Jamaat, but had found nothing objectionable.

For several years after the India-Pakistan war, the Indian economy remained in the doldrums as it struggled with a severe drought and grain shortages. In ’69, people were caught in the political tug of war between Andhra and Telengana leaders. The new chief minister found a way to “retrench” many government employees and put a freeze on all new hiring, so he could fill the positions with people of Andhra origins. Even doctors could not find government jobs in the Hyderabad metropolitan area. For many engineers Pakistan offered their best hope and they became the last of the Indian Muslims to be allowed in.

The Bangladesh war of 1971 was as severe a psychological blow to Indian Muslims in general as was Partition. As the war raged, again the mosques in Hyderabad were filled with people praying for the unity of Pakistan. People cried as they discussed the imminent breakup of what they thought was the culmination of their hopes for a state built on Islamic solidarity. After the Pakistani atrocities against the poor Bengalis came to light, Muslims realized the jingoism, greed and racism that marked the mentality of Pakistan’s leaders.

There was no break in India’s bleak economic condition for several years after the ’71 war, or until Arab-Israeli war of 1973 started a process of transfer of wealth from the West to the Arab countries in the Persian Gulf. These Gulf countries’ need for skilled workers opened up job opportunities for thousands of young men from Hyderabad, as well as from all other parts of the subcontinent. By 1980, there were few middle-class families that didn’t have several members working overseas and regularly sending money. Young men worked as security guards, travel agents, mechanics, clerks and accountants at one end of economic scale to economists, professors, doctors and engineers at the other end in oil-rich countries. Also by 1980, a large number of doctors and engineers who had migrated to England and America in the 60’s had obtained their citizenship began sponsoring and arranging the emigration of their brothers and sisters and their families, with the result that sizable neighborhoods of Hyderabadis started coming up in Chicago, Southern California and elsewhere.

Back in Hyderabad, families at all economic levels were rolling in the money. Some neighborhoods, such as Barkas, were luckier than others in their share of the new affluence. In their economic behavior, the newly affluent were not as prudent as they should have been, and spent their money on lavish ceremonies, consumer luxuries and in other generally unproductive ways. Families remodeled and improved their properties, bought television sets and arranged the marriages of their sons and daughters in grand style.

Among the beneficiaries of the new wealth were the keepers of holy men’s graves, locally as well as in such far off places as Rahmatabad and Ajmer, where business picked up like never before. Generally, women visited these places and brought back handfuls of holy earth to be used in ceremonies to invoke the blessings of the holy men or their help in warding off evil. Although young men returned from Arab lands with ideas about the simplicity of Islamic beliefs that allowed no place for holy men, their influence did not extend to their womenfolk.

The infusion of new money and the dispersion of working men to the West and the Arab world created new social situations and problems that had never been experienced before. It was a common occurrence where girls would be married off to young men, back home for a short visit, within a week or less of making a selection. In another week they would be gone, leaving the young bride and her family hoping and praying for the day when the man would return to take her back with him or arrange for her passage to her new home. There were numerous cases where the young bride and her family were never to see or hear from the man. The dowry business, always a source of great pain, took on blatant and shameful forms. Those young men unable to make their way overseas on their own or to make a respectable living locally turn to marital alliances in which help with a visa was the dowry. Such marriages sooner or later fell apart, usually leaving the young brides in the lurch and their families in desperate situations.

There were situations where young man returns from overseas for a vacation; mother begs, bullies and pleas with her son to get married. The man agrees. Marriage is arranged. The man goes back overseas and is never heard from again. Then there was a regular business in finding young girls for marriage to Gulf men, ho would pay well to all concerned until the couple’s return to their Gulf country where the poor Indian woman would be reduced to a maid’s status in a strange land with a foreign tongue and culture. This business was finally curbed with the intervention of Indian government and in some instances of the Gulf countries.

In the mid-1980’s, when oil prices plummeted and the Gulf countries saw their revenues drop, they started cutting back on their economic projects, which resulted in layoffs of large numbers of migrant workers. In these layoffs Hyderabadis may have fared better than people from other areas because the returnees apparently did not become a noticeable problem back home. Those who did not return had saved enough money to invest it in small businesses, which in many cases were successful due to the favorable economic climate prevailing in India. The country’s economy for the first time in its history was operating with surpluses in consumer products such as motorcycles, TV and other electronic goods. Most middle-class homes, with or even without any help from family members living overseas had acquired TV’s, refrigerators and other consumer goods. Women’s employment had registered a sharp increase. Non-working young women were becoming a rarity. Two-paycheck families were becoming fairly common. With two or more members of the family holding jobs, many households were acquiring modern appliances and owning homes with help from home-purchase cooperative associations or from employers.

Another area of change was in the spread of Telugu among Hyderabadis, many of whom had no more than a smattering of the language. They started to acquire a taste for Telugu drama and even comedies aired on television. Their children were almost fluent in spoken Telugu, to the utter astonishment of their older overseas relatives returning home for short visits. While Urdu was declining in that the successive younger generations were growing up with hardly any knowledge of written Urdu and Urdu literature, although the decline was not quite noticeable in other ways. The number of Urdu poets, Mushairas, and published collections of poetry, novels and other works, all had shown marked increases from year to year.

Hyderabadi Muslims have made some gains in the spread of technical education, although the enrollment of Muslims in medical and engineering degree programs has not shown any increase over a 10-year period ending in 1987. The proportion of Muslims in the engineering degree program at Osmania University has remained at a dismal 3 percent of the student population, whereas in the medical college it has been around 10 percent. During the 1970’s and 1980’s, the city saw the establishment of several technical training schools, but the disturbing fact is that all Muslim training centers combined had a student population of no more than 700. Among the new technical schools were the Owaisi Industrial Training Institute, opened in 1972; the Mukarram Jah Institute for Oriental Studies and Vocational Training, opened 1972; the Madinah Technical College, opened 1980; the Sir Syed Industrial Training Institute, opened 1982, and the Omar Computer and Technical Training Institute and Data Processing Center, opened 1986.

In addition to these schools, there are several other technical training centers, such as the Nizam and Alladdin Technical Institute, established 1954, and a few modest operations such as the Deeni, Talimi waSanati Tanzim and the HUDA Tailoring Center. Of course, Muslims are also enrolled in the state-run training centers in substantial numbers. Overall, the Muslims have made some gains in taking advantage of technical education, but apparently not as much as they could have.

In politics, the phenomenon of Telugu Desam bewildered the Muslims at first, and their political party with a mass base, the Ittehadul Muslimin, made some costly mistakes in aligning itself with the late Indira Gandhi in a conspiracy against the Telugu Desam’s leader, N.T. Rama Rao. But gradually they came to accept it and made some tentative moves to embrace it.

Over the years, the inexorable growth and dominance of Andhra culture has inevitably changed the Muslim character of the city of Hyderabad. The physical signs of the change are visible in Birla Mandir dominating the view of the good old Naubat Pahad, and in the large numbers of residential neighborhoods coming up all over the metropolitan area. More subtle changes are noticeable in the disappearance of both Urdu and English from around government offices and even from the university and college campuses.

Still, Hyderabadis are far from identifying themselves as Andhras or Tenanganans. As in the rest of India, Muslims of Hyderabad suffer from a great deal of insecurity about their economic and political future. Discrimination in employment is as rampant in Hyderabad as elsewhere in the country. This insecurity has not only reinforced their Muslim identity, but also conservatism among them. When people face a threat to their survival, they have no choice but to hold on to everything they have got and not loosen their moorings.

Hyderabadis increasingly have shown awareness that their fate is linked to other Muslims across the country. Yet, there is a strong trend among them toward a secularization of both their outlook and their lifestyles. The degree of a person’s secularization, or assimilation into the majority culture, is largely related to his economic dependence on the system, or his immediate environment. Those with relative independence from the system have more options. Possibly this situation is peculiar to Hyderabad, and does not apply to Muslims in West Bengal, U.P. and Kerala. Be that as it may, Muslims are making various kinds of adjustments to their less than harmonious environment, and by and large, are not lagging behind other communities in economic and educational progress.

To most people under the age of 40, the culture of the Nizam’s Hyderabad is as unfamiliar as the way of life in, say, Indonesia, or Sri Lanka. The promise of equality, modernity, and prosperity in India is tantalizing—and all but within reach.

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