Wednesday, November 28, 2012

“Z” In Vehicle Registration Numbers stands for ZAHRA BEGUM!

Yes! The “Z” you see in the Vehicle Registration Number plates of all the vehicles owned by Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC), stands for Zahra Begum, mother of the last ruler of Hyderabad State, Mir Osman Ali Khan, Nizam VII.
The Nizam’s State Railway (N.S.R.) was established in the year 1879 but the State’s Road Transport came much later. It was in June 1932 that the Nizam’s Road Transport was established as a wing of N.S.R. with 27 buses and 166 employees. And the Nizam’s Rail Road department came to be known as Nizam’s State Rail and Road Transport Department (N.S.R.R.T.D.). Right from the first vehicle of N.S.R.R.T.D., the vehicle registration numbers contained the letter “Z” in honour of Zahra Begum. From a modest 27 buses in 1932 covering a distance of 450 kms, Nizam’s R.T.D., started operating 500 buses covering a distance of 7200 kms. by 1942, that is within a decade and the rapid growth continued. And on 17th September 1948 when the Nizam handed over his dominion to the Indian Government, one of the agreements he reached with Indian Government was that every bus registration number of the R.T.D. should continue to include the letter “Z”.
Immediately after takeover of Nizam’s Dominion in 1948, the Indian Government merged Nizam’s State Railway with Indian Railways and named it as Central Railway Zone. The Road Transport Department was handed over to the newly formed Hyderabad State Government. This bus transport department continued to be called as R.T.D. until 1958. It was on 11th January 1958 that R.T.D. was renamed as APSRTC. Today APSRTC has over 24,000 buses and other departmental vehicles. The registration number plates of all these vehicles contain the letter “Z”, as you can see in the attached pictures.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Muharram in Hyderabad.

Yesterday, 25th November was Muharram. Muharram is actually the name of the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and yesterday the 10th day of this month is called Ashura; however it is more commonly referred as the day of Muharram. It is a very sad occasion, the last day of 10 days of mourning for Shia Muslims and it is observed with great reverence at Hyderabad. This is the day in the year 680 AD when Hazrat Imam Hussain was martyred along with 72 of his companions in the battle of Karbala, in Iraq. The war was waged by Hazrat Hussain for upholding truth while his opponents led by Yazid wanted to usurp the kingdom. Hazrat Imam Hussain is an important person; he is the grandson of Prophet Mohammed. He is the son of Ali Ibn Abi Talib, ruler of the Islamic caliphate and Fatima Zahra who is the daughter of Prophet Mohammed.
With the commencement of the month of Muharram an atmosphere of grief envelops parts of Hyderabad City, specially the Old City as loudspeakers from various Ashurkhanas recite sermons in verse and poetry called Marsiye and Nohay expressing sorrow over the sacrifices and tragedy at Karbala.  As the sermons describing the events of Karbala are given by Shia clerics called Zakirs there is mass crying and beating of chests by the mourners creating a pall of gloom. Such atmosphere can be seen at various Ashurkhanas and to name a few they are at Purani Haveli, Darulshifa, Noor Khan Bazar and in many other localities. Ashurkhanas are places where Alams are kept and Alams are religious Islamic flags and signs, which you can see in the above pictures. Ashurkhanas derive their name from Ashura which as I explained above is the 10th day of Muharram when the mourning reaches its final phase. Muharram rituals are all aimed at commemorating the great sacrifice of Hazrat Imam Hussain and his companions who refused to surrender to the despotic and tyrannical evil rulers.
On the day of Muharram that is the 10th day of the month several Alam processions can be seen all over the Twin Cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. At Secunderabad all Alams are brought to an area called Karbala Maidan, about 2 kms. from our house. In Hyderabad a massive and historic Bibi Ka Alam procession is taken out with the Alam on an elephant. Bibi Ka Alam is installed in the name of Prophet Mohammed’s daughter Fatima at Darulshifa Ashurkhana. There is an ancient relic, a very significant wooden plank from Karbala, enclosed in this Alam.   Bibi Ka Alam procession passes through various parts of the old city and people in very large numbers irrespective of religion and caste stand along the road side to pay their respects. You can see a few pictures of the procession at the top of this article. Hindus refer to the Alams as Pheerlu and strongly believe that by sincerely offering prayers to Pheerlu their wishes would be fulfilled.
Muharram is a holiday not only in Hyderabad but all over India. This year however it coincided with a Sunday. As a child I took a lot of interest in watching Pheerlu but now I mostly see the live Television coverage. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

My Birthday Celebration - 2012!

The following pictures are of my birthday yesterday, 16th November 2012. As pictures speak more than words I do not wish to describe in writing about my birthday celebrations – first at home and then at a restaurant with all family members. You may see the pictures below:    

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

In affection, admiration and defence of family traditions.

The attached pictures of a Floral Rangoli at our house yesterday on the occasion of Diwali and the tradition of ‘Harathulu’ were posted on facebook by my wife with an apt status update in appreciation and admiration of perennial family traditions. I am portraying her facebook post here with the hope that my blog readers will find the contents interesting:
Lovely Diwali Rangoli!
An enchanting creation!
With such great devotion!
Very satisfying and delightful,
To see new generations,
Following our family traditions.
May our rich culture,
Last forever!
GOD! Richly bless our heirs,
Please fulfill all their desires!
-N. Lalitha Raghu. 

Monday, November 12, 2012


Dear All,
Wish you all a VERY HAPPY DEEPAVALI. Please be careful with Crackers and have a very safe Deepavali.
You may see my earlier exhaustive photo posts on Deepavali; covering traditions like ‘Harathulu’, ‘Bommala Koluvu’, ‘Crackers/Fireworks’ and ‘Festive Foods’, by clicking on the five links below. I hope you will find them interesting and informative.
Deepavali Harathulu:
Deepavali Bommala Koluvu:
The Joy of Crackers & Sparklers:
Deepavali Greetings:
Deepavali commentary and songs by our granddaughter, Sudhiksha:
You may click on the following link / URL to see a Greeting Card come to life with heavy animation of diyas, sparklers, crackers and the melodious commentary and songs by our granddaughter, Sudhiksha:
You may click on the ‘Pink Play/Pause Button’ available on the Greeting Card to listen to Sudhiksha once again.
N. Raghu.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

HAVE A NICE DAY! 10-11-12!!

Have A Nice Day! 10-11-12!! A very interesting date and I hope it is going to be a very good one for all of us!
We come across many such interesting dates. The recent most interesting date, not just the date but an event combining the clock occurred during my son, Ch. Srikanth’s Birthday, on 08.09.10. It occurred as the scientific clocks showed 12.34pm, 56.7 seconds and the date 8.9.10.  
This phenomenon, known as a Sequential Day, is very rare. In the last several decades it just occurred twice. Other than the one I mentioned above; in the year 2010, it earlier occurred at 12.34pm and 56.7 seconds, on 6.7.89. And the next will take place at 01.23am, on 4.5.67!

Incredible Coincidence!

784533 - This is a number known to our family since 1980. It is a number we all had to remember then and even today, with of cou...