Sankranti greetings for the Nizam, from Indore

Letter from Tukoji Rao Holkar II of Indore to sixth Nizam Mir Mahbub Ali Khan.   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

It was 138 years ago on Til Sankrat, a once popular nomenclature of Sankranti, that Maharaja Tukojirao Holkar II, of the Holkar dynasty of Indore, sent a letter to the sixth Nizam Mir Mahbub Ali Khan, conveying warm greetings.

The letter, resplendent with gold inlays and in exquisite Persian, was accompanied by a bag each of kanjad-e-shireen and samsam-e-shakreen as a symbol of reaffirmation of the love and friendship between the two princely states and its people. The letter, now in safe custody of Telangana State Archives and Research Institute, according to its director Zareena Parveen, is dated January 15, 1883. “Kanjad-e-shireen and samsam-e-shakreen are bags of sweet sesame seeds and jaggery. It was tradition. Interestingly, the Maharaja wrote Til Sankrat, or the festival of Sankranti, is like Shab-e-Baraat which is observed by Muslim community,” she says.

The Maharaja’s letter wishes the Nizam well, and hopes that the mutual love and respect increases manifold on Sankranti, which he writes, is a festive occasion.

In turn, the Nizam signed a draft of a letter from Rahat Mahal in Purani Haveli complex, which was later finalised and despatched to the Maharaja stating the letter of love and friendship, the bags, and other gifts were received. He proceeded to describe Sankranti as a festival of colours and scents, which is celebrated with joy, and the coming of spring.

According to Sajjad Shahid, a chronicler of Hyderabad and its heritage, the equivalence between Sankranti and Shab-e-Baraat drawn in the Maharaja’s letter is interesting and reflects the Deccan’s composite culture. “Since the Qutb Shahi era, Sankranti and Shab-e-Barat were important. In fact, there used to be fireworks on Shab-e-Barat, as recorded in Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah’s poems in Kulliyat-e-Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah. And, of course, Sankranti or Til Sankrat, was a very important festival here. In folklore of the Deccan, it is called Til Sankrat because, it from this day that the temperature increases by a til (sesame seed) a day, meaning little by little,” he says.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 5:53:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/sankranti-greetings-for-the-nizam-from-indore/article33571291.ece

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