Persian quatrain celebrates Messiah Jesus in secret bosom of Shia shrine

Persian quatrain celebrates Messiah Jesus in secret bosom of Shia shrine ... 26/12/2016 Culture

Keywords:#Christ, #Christians, #Christmas, #Dynasty, #Hyderabad, #Jesus, #Jesus_Christ, #Khan, #Masih, #Messiah, #Mir, #Persian, #Shia, #Shiite,

CHARMINAR: The syncretism of the Deccan in general and the city of Hyderabad in particular is something which the scholars and residents swear by alike. And at a time when the Christmas spirit is pleasantly infectious, the majestic Aza Khana Zehra, a Shia shrine in the Old City, conceals in its bosom a secret: a Persian poem eulogising Jesus Christ which was composed by the seventh Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan.
Framed on the southern wall of the Aza Khana Zehra, the poem Naved Masih (Messiah of Glad Tidings), hangs. It is perhaps the city's best kept literary secret.
A translation of the last of the six quatrains goes thus:
"What was Jesu's mission, Osman? / Ask them whom he came to guide,/ Gave his life for their redemption,/ For his flock he gladly died"
The poem was translated by the Mir Osman Ali Khan's political secretary and first secretary of the City Improvement Board, Sir Nizamat Jung. His flair for poetry led to the founding of Poet's Society of Hyderabad.
Though scant details are available on how and when the poem found itself there, experts and heritage activists opined that it was the city's Ganga-Jamni tehzeeb and the Nizam's love for poetry which led to its composition. "The Nizam used to visit St Joseph's Cathedral, near Gunfoundry, on Christmas eve for midnight mass. He visited other churches as well. The point is that the Asaf Jahi rulers wanted to show that they were with all communities — Hindus, Christians, Muslims and Sikhs — in times of joy and sorrow. They were not the rulers of just one community," said heritage activist Sajjad Shahid.
Others like Syed Abbas Moosvi, an expert of Shiite places of worship and mutawalli (manager) of the historic Badshahi Ashoorkhana, said that it was unusual for the poem to have found its place at the Aza Khana Zehra. "There are a few poems composed by the Nizam which are housed at the Aza Khana. The others were presented to the Nizam on certain occasions. These were later sent to various places. Perhaps Naved Masih was sent here," Moosvi opined.
The document carries the royal seal of the Asaf Jahi Dynasty with the signature dastaar at the top.
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