The Untold Charminar: Writings on Hyderabad

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A dazzling collection that captures the essence of Hyderabad, offering glimpses of the various strands that go into its making fact and legend; old-world quaintness and the highest hi-tech; eccentricity and intrigue; the calm of genteelness and the fury of rebellion

Hyderabad is a city once ruled by the world s richest man who invested most lavishly in his state, most shabbily in his wardrobe; it holds stories of a courtesan who fought wars, counseled prime ministers, sang her own verse and enthralled luminaries who mattered; of a chief minister who transformed it into a hi-tech hub; and of a sports star who brought the young glamour of India to every tennis court in the world.

Home as much to the Golconda as to Jacob, the 187-carat diamond used as a paperweight by the Nizam, and to rock landscapes two and a half million years old, Hyderabad is a city that forever mixes cultures, cuisines, religions and languages. Here, Persian turned alloy with Telugu, Marathi and Arabic to yield a special version of Urdu, Dakhini. And here, as Andhra mingled with Telangana, a smiling mildness has survived, disarming at every turn, just as grace under pressure, regardless of gender, is unfailing.

In The Untold Charminar readers will discover a city they will want to explore, as Sarojini Naidu, Sir Mark Tully and William Dalrymple rub shoulders with Ian Austin, Meenakshi Mukherjee and Anees Jung, regaling you with their feast of hard facts and hearsay; as each foreign visitor shares his story through Narendra Luther; as the film-makers Shyam Benegal and Nagesh Kukunoor paint their vivid memories of home; as poets, not just the maverick Makhdoom and Gaddar, raise their voices in song; as statesmen, academics and aficionados hold forth on the completely different Hyderabad each experienced.

And when Tejaswini Niranjana profiles the vigilante Vijayasanthi and Dharmender Prasad picks out place names and explains their sometimes almost mystic origins, as Bachi Karkaria, Omkar Goswami and Harsha Bhogle share their typically offbeat views of a favorite city, readers will be persuaded to believe they have encountered not a city but the inner workings of a very complex character.


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