HYDERABAD: Amjed Ullah Khan, the Azampura division corporator is unusually net-savvy, his emails on all things big and small dropping into the inboxes of many denizens, or Hyderabadis who he thinks matter. So the latest email from the corporator shows an immaculately dressed Akbaruddin Owaisi at a wedding function in 2006, sharing the stage with Mohammad Pahelwan, the alleged mastermind behind the attack on Owaisi last weekOn the same shelf:
In the picture, Pahelwan, dressed in the trademark lungi and a full-sleeve shirt has a half smile and so does Owaisi. What is significant in the picture is not the changed equation of the two parties but the social and political importance that Pahelwan enjoyed then.
... Old-timers recall that it was in the 70s when local pahelwans were first promoted politically, when Arab `pahelwans' Syeed Bin Ali (known as Syeed Pahelwan) and Syeed Baam were used to provide protection to partymen by a senior Congress leader. In the days to come, other `pahelwans' such as Chand Pahelwan also came into picture for settling land disputes. And by the 80s, they had moved from their `kachcha' houses to a `pucca' residence.
Their importance grew with almost all parties patronising them or using their services. If earlier they collected `mamools' from locals, now they allegedly give the same to the police so that they turn a blind eye to their deeds.
Locals say, politicians in the Old City owe their growth, both financially and politically, to the pahelwans. Clearly, political leaders have played a crucial role in making `pahelwans' bigger, stronger. And their spirited political backing continues even now.