A Song of Hyderabad: Memories of a World Gone By

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9780195473490: A Song of Hyderabad: Memories of a World Gone By
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This is a remarkably honest and unabashed account of a life that begins during the fading days of the wealthiest of India's princely states. Bilquis Jehan was born in 1930 into a family with ties to the court of the Nizam of Hyderabad and enjoyed the privilege and luxury of a way of life that no longer exists. Her tale takes us through her childhood and her marriage at the age of 16, just at the birth of modern India and Pakistan. Her new life in Pakistan as the wife of an executive (himself half-European), working for a multi-national corporation, is recounted with insight and delight. She and her family join the cosmopolitan world of the elite in what is now the mega-city of Karachi, travels and experiences the world, far beyond what her own childhood would have predicted. Through all the changes she preserves her heritage in her own way, transmitting it through her books, Mughal Cuisine and Khush Ziaka, of Mughal and Hyderabadi cuisine.

This is also a personal account of her spiritual journey based on the Sufi teachings of her pir and her father of the Chishtiya and Qadria silsilas in India. She opens a window onto a life that incorporates both modernity and religion, in contrast to the increasingly strident and politicized Islam that has gained a foothold in Pakistan. Bilquis Jehan's life mirrors the monumental changes in her time through the quotidian. Her life is described in these pages with candour, and an abiding love for the world she left behind and the new world she grew to love.

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About the Author:


Born in 1930 in Hyderabad Deccan, India, Bilquis Jehan is the author of two cookbooks in Urdu, Khush Zaiqa (1971), for which she was awarded a Bronze Medal at the book fair in Leipzig. It was revised and reissued as Naya Khush Zaiqa (1990). Her second book Mughal Cuisine (1982) was published in Malaysia. She has travelled widely and established a vocational school for poor girls in Karachi, which she continues to supervise.

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Bilquis Jehan Khan
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