“A Hyderabadi coined Jai Hind,” by Narendra Luther
Scholars walk through the highway of history while much of it lies scattered about in small bits in the lanes and bylanes. I have coined the term ‘Legendotes’ to connote an amalgam of legends and anecdotes. My thirteenth book in English, Legendotes of Hyderabad, launched recently is a collection of some well-known and some little-known stories collected by me in the course of my researches on Hyderabad. I subjected them to the test of historicity.
Based on that selection, I found that perhaps the most popular legend, that the Asaf Jahi flag carried the symbol of the kulcha in its centre is not factually correct. The legend goes back to the first Nizam (1724-1748). Once during a shikar on his journey from Delhi to the Deccan, he lost his way in the forest. Thirsty, hungry and woe-begone, he approached a hermit called Shah Inayat and asked him for something to eat and drink. The recluse holy man could offer only plain water and dry bread to the famished noble. Qamar–ud-Deen–that was the name of the first Nizam—could eat only seven loaves despite the host’s insistence. As the Nizam thanked his host and rose to depart, the hermit blessed him saying, ‘You have eaten seven loaves. Your dynasty will therefore rule for seven generations.’ The Nizam dismissed this popular story himself, stating that the circle represented the moon – his name Qamar meant moon in Persian – and not kulcha, as recorded by his chief secretary, Lala Mansaram.
Another interesting fact that many don’t know is that the slogan, ‘Jai Hind’ was coined by a Hyderabadi, Abid Hasan. He was the son of a collector and was sent to Germany for his engineering education. While there, he met Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and was so inspired by Bose that he gave up his studies midway and joined him as his secretary. When suggestions for a suitable national greeting were invited, Abid Hasan suggested ‘Hello’. Bose snubbed him for such a frivolous suggestion. After going back and forth on other proposed greetings, Hasan came up with ‘Jai Hind’. It was instantly approved and adopted.
The author is a writer, historian and former bureaucrat.