Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Hyderabad gets city museum: Hyderabad of yore - when musk (mishq) was sold for Rs 44 a litre (ser)

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Musk is indeed the costliest of all animal
products. Today it commands a price of Rs 37.50 lakh per kg. Just take
a stroll down the history of Hyderabad, and you will find merchants in
the famous markets of Golconda selling a ser (about a litre) of musk
for Rs 44. The price of musk has increased by about 85,000 times since
the Qutub Shahis, and so has the city of Hyderabad grown rapidly by
almost 400 times.

The City Museum, which was formally inaugurated here on Sunday, tells
the story of Hyderabad, giving glimpses of its culture, people, arts
and artisans, fabrics, coins, cuisine, gems and stones, education,
heritage, calligraphy, transport, stamps, arms, roads and buildings,
and palaces and bungalows from Madanna to Microsoft and Golconda to

“Many have asked me about the price a ser of musk commanded in the
17th century Golconda. You will find the answer in the City Museum,”
said Prince Muffakham Jah after inaugurating the museum. He said the
City Museum, first of its kind in the country, contains a vast
collection of measures used in old Hyderabad.

The museum traces the history of Hyderabad to 4000 years. The
Neolithic pots discovered at Patancheru, megalithic sites at
Gachibowli, Patancheru, Hashmatpet, Bowenpalli and Moula Ali, European
style terracotta figurines, Roman coins in Kondapur, and coins of the
Satavahana period confirm the evidence of continuous habitations
dating back to the times much earlier than the popular concept of the
foundation of Hyderabad city in 1591, Muffakham Jah said.

On display for the first time are seven specifically designed maps
that trace Hyderabad’s fascinating journey from the 13th century to
the present times. Also, a touch screen kiosk will revel to the
visitors a pictorial history of 50 of the city’s mohallahs in English,
Hindi, Telugu and Urdu. Models of diamonds and jewellery are also on

An exciting documentary on the City Museum by documentary filmmaker
Mohammad Ali Baig was shown on the occasion. The short film brings on
the centrestage the city's artisan and craftsmen, pallbearers and
soldiers, pearl makers and diamond cutters of the erstwhile state.

"Prince Muffakham Jah was very clear in his brief that this
documentary film should be about its people. He felt, any kingdom or
state should be about its people and not about the ruler", Baig added.

Earlier, High Court chief justice Madan Bhimrao Lokur released a
souvenir on the Nizam’s Museum.

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