Monday, 2 May 2011

Hyderabad" City of "links" - connecting and missing

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad:  When Sultan Quli Qutub Shah laid the foundation of Hyderabad 400 years ago, little did he think he was founding the city of "connecting and missing links". All through these four centuries Hyderabad has been associated with things, both good and bad.
Right from the Golconda diamonds and the Hyderabadi pearls to multi-crore scams, illegal human trafficking and terror conspiracies, Hyderabad has always hogged the limelight. The Hyderabad name tag has always evoked international attention, whether it is for the biryani or the haleem, and bomb blasts, match-fixing or cocaine scandals.
Even in the fourth war of Mysore in 1799 it was Hyderabad that tilted the battle in favour of the British, who had lost earlier three wars with Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan. Hyderabad down the history had
been an "attracting force" to all and sundry - warriors and traders in the last 300 years, and scamsters, terrorists and schemers in the modern era. It was this "magical charm" of Hyderabad that attracted Emperor
Aurangzeb to attack the Quli Qutub Shahis in 1687, and a century and a half earlier, Sultan Quli Qutub-ul-Mulk to defeat the Golconda fort.
All through Hyderabad continues to be the "connecting" or the "missing" link in many incidents. Even in pure accidents elsewhere, a Hyderabad is sure to figure, either as a victim or an accused. A considerable number of Indian students attacked in the USA and Australia hail from Hyderabad.
Those who have watched Hyderabad and its history closely argue that it's wrong to attach the city name tag to everything bad happening around the globe. It has positive side too. It's perhaps the name "Hyderabad" sells in the world market that diamonds that are never mined in the city, and pearls that are never cultured here, are named after it. Incidentally, most of the terror links attached to Hyderabad have later turned out to be false.
"Ever since Independence Hyderabad has been treated with contempt. May be because the Nizam had not joined the Indian Union. The police action only fuelled it further. Hyderabadis have never been at the helm
of affairs in the city after Independence. The recent incidents have added the terror tag to the city," points out city historian Sajjad Shahid.
At least half a dozen factors including geographical, global, economic and demographical are said to be the reasons for the "Hyderabadi connection". It is the gateway of South India and has a high economic
growth rate with a number of multinational companies operating from the city. Hyderabad ranks 30th in terms of population among cities in the world. Though most of the victims or accused are said to be from
Hyderabad, they are not born Hyderabadis.
"It has a mixed population with people from practically every region and State living. The real estate boom has further made people economically stronger. The belief that Hyderabad airport can be breached easily is one of the factors, as many people prefer to travel by the city airport," said another city historian Dr Muhammad Safiullah.
If the real estate boom has triggered fake registration stamps scandal, the attraction for American education has created fake universities like Tri-Valley University. Registrations went up greatly after the real estate
boom and taking advantage, scamsters printed fake registration stamp papers. Hyderabadis figure in scams like Telgi fake stamps, common wealth games, Hasan Ali tax evasion, railway recruitment, bio-piracy
and smuggling of red-sanders and endangered animals, fake currency, Naxalism and Sohrabuddin case.
In many cases the scamsters or terror suspects are from outside Hyderabad, but they have selected the city to carry out their operations. Even politicians and police officials from other States have chosen Hyderabad as their safe haven for activities like illegal human trafficking and fake encounter killings.
The city police, however, does not want to blame Hyderabad. They argue that like any other city, Hyderabad has both good and bad people. "Hyderabad is a global city with a variety of people. It is one of the
fastest growing cities in the world. And with the growth comes troubles too. But it is wrong to blame Hyderabad alone. Other cities like Delhi and Mumbai too have their share of woes," argues DCP (central zone) Akun Sabharwal.

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