Koka ki Tatti, Panchi Buraq, Kali Khabar, Behrupiya Galli, Jalalkutcha. Hold it, they are not tongue-twisters meant to test your pronunciation, they are just names of some of the city’s localities. Sure difficult to articulate, but not difficult to locate.
It is an endless list of funny, often outlandish names by which some of the areas in the old city are known. Interestingly, many of those who live here are not fully aware of how and why their ‘mohallas’ are known by such odd names.
Now, you need not struggle to find out. Just go through the book “Hyderabad – Mohalle, Gali aur Kooche” and the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle fall into place effortlessly.
Noted academic Anandraj Verma’s book, scheduled to be released shortly, is a collector’s issue. It is the only such book in Hindi and this makes it unique.
It not only tells the story behind the area names but also dwells at length on the historical structures, religious places, social customs and important families of each locality.
Not just this. Mr. Verma packs his book with interesting anecdotes, little known things and exciting couplets.
In all he covers 30 localities situated on the south of the Musi.
For this, he has made painstaking efforts to interact with 62 persons, who are well informed and have been part of the area all through. “While most families moved away, these people stayed put and know the place inside out,” says Mr. Verma, who retired as principal, Anwarul Uloom College.
Ever heard of ‘14 ghar ki galli’?
It is plonk in the midst of Char Mahal and it is called so as the serpentine lane passes through 14 houses.
You can find the history of the area and the people living here in some detail.
Bhole Maharaj, great grandson of Pandit Hardayal Tripathi, who was conferred the title of ‘Jotisha Surya’ by the 7 Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, still resides in Char Mahal. “He has the janampatri (horoscope) of the Nizam in Sanskrit on rolled paper which is 30 feet long,” says Mr. Verma.
He gives a vivid word picture of Kotla Alijah and says it is the only well maintained ‘deodhi’ in Hyderabad.
And do you know about Rajarayan Shamraj Bahadur and the clock tower at Shah Ali Banda which shows the time in different numerals -- English, Roman, Urdu and Hindi -- on its four sides. Mr. Verma mentions many such little known things about Hyderabad.
The city’s famous bangle street, Laad Bazar, is ‘Hyderabad ka suhag bazar’ for Mr. Verma. He sums up its history with Firaq Gorakpuri’s verses:
Bindi, jhumar, jhumka aur bazoo ke joshan
Missi, gaja, kajal aur paoon ke chan
Itni cheezen dekh kar lalchaye gori ka man
Gori ko bazaar dikha kar pachtaye sajan