By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, July 19: Eminent composer Zubin Mehta was wowed by the “eye-opening”
collection of arts and artifacts at the Salarjung Museum.
The director for life of Israel Philharmonic Orchestra was on a day’s private visit to
the city. Accompanied by his wife Nancy Kovack, Zubin had a whirlwind tour of the history
and culture of Hyderabad as he went round a few prominent historic places of the city.
Zubin, who stayed at Taj Falaknuma, checked out later in the afternoon.
“What an eye-opening impression and education into the enormous good taste of Salarjung.
World class collection and world class management,” Zubin Mehta wrote in the VIP
visitors’ book, after spending about 45 minutes in Salarjung Museum. He later visited
Purani Haveli and Chowmahalla Palace.
According to Salarjung Museum governing body member Zakir Hussain, Zubin Mehta was
particularly attracted by the statues of Rebecca, and of Mephistopheles and Margaretta.
The latter is a double statue with two different carving on either side. “Zubin sahib
appreciated the vast collection of jade, weaponry, European paintings, the knife used by
Queen Noorjahan and the swords of Aurangzeb and Shahjahan,” he said.
Zubin Mehta kept his visit in wraps and did not inform even the authorities at the
Salarjung and the Chowmahalla. “He visited the palace as a common tourist. He was
impressed by the architectural marvel of the palace,” G Kishen Rao, director of
Chowmahalla Palace said.
According to sources, Zubin had enquired whether his father Mehli Mehta, a violinist and
founding conductor of Bombay Symphony Orchestra, had performed before the Nizam. During
the regimes of Nizam VI Mir Mahboob Ali Khan and Nizam VII Mir Osman Ali Khan, the
Hyderabad State had a special department called, Arbab-e-Nisab, or the music wing.
“Mehli Mehta may have performed before the Nizam. The Arbab-e- Nisab had 108 employees
including prominent musicians like Pandit Motiram, Pandit Maniram, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan
and Aziz Ahmed Warsi. Though Mehli’s name did not figure in the list, he may have
performed on special occasion, as he was a prominent violinist of his times,” city
historian Dr Mohammad Safiullah said.
Officials of Taj Falaknuma accompanied Zubin and his wife to the historical places
including the Salarjung museum.
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