Middle East

Hyderabad Christmas under Islamic rule

An interesting Christmas anecdote from Hyderabad in the late 17th century can be seen in Serish Nanisettty’s recent book Golconda / Bagnagar / Hyderabad – the rise and fall of the world’s largest cities in medieval India. This was a two-month pleasure trip to the East Coast (Machilipatnam), taking a break from court plots and the constant threat from the Mughal Empire. His aides, consisting of elephants, jeweled litters, and an army of soldiers and workers, were just in time for Christmas.

A Dutch merchant on the coast welcomed Abul Hasan into a church built in a two-story warehouse and placed the throne next to the altar for Christmas worship. Here is Hyderabad’s most culturally diverse sultan, smoking his water gisel pipe and listening to Christmas sermons. Fortunately for us, this once-in-a-lifetime scene stirs the artist’s imagination.

At the end of the sermon, Abul Hasan didn’t ask any questions, perhaps because the Christmas story was so familiar to him from Islamic sources. However, he wondered how Christians managed monogamy and wanted his aides to interact with Dutch women for cross-cultural experiences.

Due to the political and civilized differences between the Christian and Islamic worlds of Europe, the interaction between medieval Muslims and Christians in the state seems to have escaped the burden of hostility.

Gorkonda / Bag Nagar / Hyderabad –
Global Metropolis of Medieval India

A closer look at the early history of Christian-Islamic interactions reveals that there were at least some Islamic denominations / groups that observed the birth of Jesus. This practice can only be imagined to die due to the hostility mentioned above. This is an excerpt from the book “Jesus of Shiite Narration” by Mahdi Muntajil Caim.

“Abu Ibrahim [Imam Musa Kadhim (‘a)] (745-799 AD) said’As for Mary’s mother, her name was Mirsa, Wahiba (gift) in Arabic. The day Mary came up with was noon on Friday, the day when Lou al-Amin (the credible spirit) came down, and there is no better festival for Muslims. The blessed Almighty Allah expanded it, Muhammad (S) expanded it, and he ordered it to be a holiday, and it was Friday. “

Hyderabad’s oldest Christian shrine is reportedly dating back to the 17th century, built by the French and Dutch. Churches built after the 19th century are better documented in 1813 at the Church of St. John in Second Lavad, built for the British Army while preserving its original structure. The church is named after the Islamic and Christian prophets – Yahya as ibn Zachariah as (John the Baptist).

It is well known that the seventh Nizam, Osman Ali Khan, is very warm to minority religions, especially Shiite Muslims, Parsis and Christians. He attended the Midnight Mass of Christmas 1950 with 60 courtiers in suits. According to historian MAQayyum, he presented a clock, a European oil painting of Christ as a blessed mother and child, and a chandelier to the cathedral in 1953. He also laid the cornerstone of a unique octagonal architectural church in the “Temple of Our Lady of Health” in Kairatabad in 1954. That permission was given by his father, the Sixth Nizam.

Nizam’s Persian poem “Naved Masih” about Jesus begins with a Christmas story. The translation is done by Sir Nizamat Jung. This poem decorates the walls of Azakan-E-Zefra Ashurkana.

“I’m listening to the fun news right now.
About the arrival of spring
Look now!Cage is open
And each bird is on the wings

It changes to the height of heaven
Mysterious rapto, all flowers
When my mother greets the Prophet
HAILS MESSIAH’S NATAL HOUR! “

Naved Masih by HEH Osman Ali Khan

The Hyderabad census reports that the Christian population increased from 0.2% in 1901 to 1.6% in 1951, showing the largest surge in the decades of 1921-31 and 1901-11. rice field. Christians in 1901 were concentrated in urban areas, but by 1951, rural areas accounted for 74%. In terms of district, the most concentrated Christians in 1951 were Warangal, Medak, Hyderabad, Bibarel, Nalgonda, and Aurangabad.

The increase in the Christian population in Hyderabad is due to several centuries-old factors, including the work of American and British missionaries, migration from neighboring countries, and the anti-caste movement between Dalits and the younger classes. .. It is especially difficult to record the Christian population, as the constitutionally problematic Executive Order of 1950 prohibits non-Hindu SC Christians and Muslims from using SC’s government welfare programs.

Due to the very complex relationship, the history of Christianity in the two states of Telugu requires more research than is currently available in the public domain. Andhra Pradesh is considered by modern anti-caste scholars to be a Christian revolutionary nation, and there is some evidence available for its effect. With that real power, published in 2019, the dissertation turned into a monograph, “Christian Mission and Conversion.” A historical, sociological and anthropological study of the depressed caste of India from 1850 to 1950 by Santha Kumari Barikotigetti (focusing on the Andra coast).

We are waiting for a similar study to be done in Telangana.

Moses Tulasi is a Hyderabad-based filmmaker who occasionally writes about history and culture.

https://www.siasat.com/christmas-in-hyderabad-during-muslim-rule-2246609/ Hyderabad Christmas under Islamic rule

Back to top button