“A Hy­der­abadi coined Jai Hind,” by Naren­dra Luther

India Today - - INSIDE -

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.

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