|Hindu queen Bhagmati. The Flowers of Indus Valley|
|Hindu queen Bhagmati and the Sultan. Sulekha.com|
Rani Bhagmati, the Hindu queen of Muslim ruler Quli Qutb Shah, the Golconda Sultan of the erstwhile Qutb Shahi Dynasty was popular for her beauty, excellence in fine arts and wisdom.
It is believed that Quli Qutb Shah, founder of Hyderabad city was so fond of her, he named the city as Bhagyanagar after his charming queen Bhagmati. Upon religious conversion to Islam, her name got changed to Hydermahal, so was Bhagyanagar into Hyderabad. This change of name of Hyderabad is confirmed by the works of many Hindu and Muslim writers from the 16th century A.D and one being mentioned by viceroy of Akbar, named Faizi. However, the subject of the old names of the city shown variously as Bhagnagar or Bhagyanagar related to Bhagmati is a debatable one. She was more often tagged as a fairly-tale queen. However, after the death of Quli Qutb Shah's death, we do not hear much about her. Though she has become an obscure figure, the Sultan's romantic escapade with her is immortalized in folklore by some writers.
Among then Hindus, in the bygone days there exited a community whose girls were dedicated to the Hindu temples as temple dancers, in the service of god. The community was called Devadasi community. Bhagmati it is believed, was born in Chichlam (around Yakutpura) in a Hindu Devadasi family and as per the tradition of that period, used to perform dance at temples. She was a very good dancer and had a charming look. It so happened that the king Quli Qutb Shah met her accidentally at the Nagamalleshvara temple and later on a few occasions met her whenever he went on a hunting trip through her place. Muhammed Quli Qutub Shah madly fell in love with her and finally married Bhagmati with her consent in the year 1589 CE. She came to be called Mishtari or Hydermahal after marriage. As for the Sultan, he remained with her as her husband until his death in 1611 CE.
|Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah of Golconda (r.1580-1612) controappuntoblog.org|
There are innumerable portraits and paintings of Bhagmati in the Andhra Pradesh Museum of Art in Hyderabad and there is a fine painting of the queen done in the 18th century AD.
Queen Bhagmati died in 1611AD and unfortunately no tomb was built over her last remains. On the other hand, the mortal remains of courtesans Taramati and Premamati lie buried at Qutb_Shahi_Tombs. What was the reason for the denial of a burial place for this queen at Qutb_Shahi_Tombs? It was the Peshwa (prime minister) of Mohammed Quli who was responsible for obscuring Bhagmati's character, according to Ziauddin Ahmed Shakeb, an expert on Indian and Islamic art.
01. Some historians dub that Bhagmati is a fictional character created by some writers. According to Mr. Safiullah of Deccan Heritage Trust: “There is no inscription, miniature or coin of that period mentioning her name. There is no trace of her grave either. Even Chichalam, the place where she was supposedly born, has not been identified yet,” Mr. Safiullah said.
02. According to the old records with the Royal families of Qutb_Shahi, Bhagmati was not a fictional one. Nor was she a dancer or a courtesan in a temple as depicted in many works. She was a beautiful girl of Chichelum village (now in Rein Bazar limits) belonging to a Hindu family.
|scene from the ballet. www.thehindu.com|
|The Purana Pul, the oldest bridge on the Musi. A 1908 photo www.thehindu.com|