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The Nocturnal Court: Darbaar-e-Durbaar

Sidq Jaisi (Author) Narendra Luther (Translator)
Synopsis An eyewitness account of the court of the second son of the last ruling Nizam of Hyderabad, this book reveals the multiple facets of feudal life in the largest princely state of India, in its twilight years. The Nocturnal Court offers a vivid description of the courtly atmosphere the sycophancies, the intrigues, and the empty chatter of the courtiers. Also included in varying degrees of detail are sketches of the leading personalities of that period, such as Josh Maleehabadi and Fani, both renowned poets of the twentieth century. Najm Afandi, the poetic tutor of the Junior Prince, is shown falling from grace in a whimsical and aribitrary manner. The celebrated singer, Begum Akhtar is also presented in a vignette, in her early days when she was a guest of the Prince and known simply as Akhtari Bai Faizabadi. An example of the Prince's extraordinary magnanimity is the story of the appointment of Dagh as the poetic preceptor of the sixth Nizam, on a mere whim. Some of the characters arouse admiration, some scorn, others pity--but all of them evoke interest. The author also highlights the great contrast between the ornate and extravagant lifestyle of the Prince, and the austere court of his father, Nizam VII, reputedly the richest man of his times. This book evokes nostalgia for a city and a way of life, which no longer exist. But more importantly, the English translation of the Urdu text makes this fascinating account accessible to a wider readership. The translation is complemented by an introduction and notes aimed at situating the narrative in its historical context.
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About the authors

Sidq Jaisi

Sidq Jaisi was a poet, born in Jais, in bareilly Pradesh. He came to Hyderabad in 1923 and was appointed teacher in the city Government High School. In 1931, he became honorary courtier of the Junior Prince for seven years, where he enjoyed a reputation for his quick wit and keen sense of humour. He passed away in 1967 in Kanpur.

Narendra Luther

Narendra Luther is an authority on the history and culture of Hyderabad. His works include a commissioned biography of the founder of Hyderabad, a history of Hyderabad entitled Memoirs of a City, and a novel, Beyond the Full Circle. He has also written a large number of stories, articles and essays on a variety of topics. He has won several awards for his works, which have been translated into a number of Indian and foreign languages. His columns include the popular weekly ‘Between You & Me’ for the A.P. edition of India’s national daily, ‘The Hindu’. He scripted India’s first full-length animation bi-lingual film on the legend of Bhagmati, and scripted and co-produced a documentary on the rocks of hyderabad, which won two ‘Golden Aster’ awards at the Japan International Festival of Heritage Films held at Osaka in 1999.

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Bibliographic information

Title The Nocturnal Court: Darbaar-e-Durbaar
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2005
Edition 3rd ed.
Language: English
isbn 9780195666052
length lxiv+96p., Notes; Plates; Maps; 23cm.
Subjects History