Remembering the man behind Charminar’s architecture
Even as the IT policy of the Telangana State was being unveiled on Monday, a few heritage activists and hardcore lovers of history were reflecting on the development of Hyderabad. A small group lit candles at Charminar in the evening to mark the 450th birth anniversary of Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah.
Even as the IT policy of the Telangana State was being unveiled on Monday, a few heritage activists and hardcore lovers of history were reflecting on the development of Hyderabad. A small group lit candles at Charminar in the evening to mark the 450th birth anniversary of Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah. Some also gave a thought to the man who first came up with the sketch of the city and Charminar: Mir Momin Astrabadi who is buried at Daira-e-Mir-Momin at Sultan Shahi.
Hailing from a family of eminent Moosavi Syeds of Astrabad, Gillian province in Iran, Mir Momin migrated to Telangana and within no time attained a reputation and went on to become the first Prime Minister during the reign of Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah. Dr Zareena Parveen, director, Telangana State Archives says, “He first joined as hawaldar and was posted at Inderkonda Fort. A man from a respectable Al-Hussaini and Syed family he went on to become a trusted Prime Minister.”
Daira-e-Mir Momin at Sultan Shahi is no ordinary graveyard. It is here that five prime ministers who ruled Hyderabad under the Nizam’s domain belonging to the Salar Jung family are buried. Mir Momin Astrabadi, the man who first came up with a sketch of the city with Charminar as the centre of attraction is also buried here. Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, the exponent of Hindustani classical music is also buried here
On the instance of Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah, Mir Momin designed a plan for constructing the monumental Charminar as a centre piece on the Indo-Islamic style incorporating certain Persian elements. “He modelled the city on Isfahan and called it his labour of love ‘Isfahan-I-Nou’. Originally spread over 3 sq miles on a triangular flat ground on the south of River Musi, the infrastructure was planned for five lakh people, but has stood the test of time and vagaries of nature. His contribution to the city is immeasurable,” says Mohammed Safiullah, historian and heritage activist.
The layout was based on regular grid filled with houses, palaces, monuments, bazaars, and squares around the central plaza with Charminar. Under Mir Momin, Isfahan-I-Nou (new Isfahan) became a reality in 1591, when Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah laid the foundation of the dream city. The population later shifted from Golconda Fort to North West of Charminar.
“The contribution of Mir Momin extends to many mosques and Ashoorkhanas, such as the Masjid-Sayeedabad in 1605 AD and Majid-e-Meerpet in 1610 AD,” says P Anuradha Reddy, co convenor INTACH Hyderabad chapter. She adds, “Hyderabad had a cosmopolitan culture even 400 years back as several prominent Iranians migrated to Golconda. Even today, there are quite a few Iranians in the city who have made Hyderabad their home.”
Another contribution of Mir Momin is the necropolis in Hyderabad. He felt the need for a large burial ground for the honourable disposal of dead bodies and purchased the site at Sultan Shahi. He sanctified the necropolis by sprinkling soil brought from Karbala.
- The Meerpet tank constructed in his name still exists
- Purani Haveli in the Old City was built by him for his residence
- He constructed a Masjid at Saidabad, quadrangular in shape like Dar-ul-Shifa and another one at Meerpet, which had 56 rooms used by travellers
- He invited Mir Abu Talib, Kamaluddin Shirazi and Shehryar from Persia to prepare a master plan and design a new city like Isfahan right here in Hyderabad. Shehryar was appointed as Chief Engineer for the project