Well, you might think that yesterday's post was a prelude to this. It didn't occur to me at the time I posted my take on Narendra Luther's book that I have a few recollections of Moazzam Jah myself, and my own little brush with royalty--inconsequential as it may have been.
I had just joined a Master's program in English in the year1980, when a friend's senior cousin, Rashid Qayyum, asked me if I'd be interested in helping Moazzam Jah's son--Shahamat Jah, with some English. In other words, was I willing to be his 'tuition master'? I agreed quite readily, because for one thing, it meant some extra bucks I could do with. For another, and more importantly, I'd be able to catch a glimpse of the legendary Moazzam Jah, the former junior prince of erstwhile Hyderabad. For the next few months I went quite religiously to 'Fern Villa' in Red Hills where I'd sit with Shahamat in his room trying to help him with the odd poem or essay. Once in a few days, Moazzam Jah Bahadur would ask for me and make small talk. He also invited me for dinner once and ensured that some very good vegetarian food was cooked. But, by then he was a shadow of his former self and could not move about freely.
As Hyder Ali Aatish of the Lucknow school tells us:
na gor*-e-Sikandar, na hai qabr-e-Daara
miTay naamiyoN ke nishaaN kaise kaise