Saturday, 4 August 2012


I was wondering what Malay-Hindustani was so I clicked on a song in YouTube and got this song by Lata Mangeshkar: Sekuntum Mawar Merah. The lyrics are Malay but the melody is Hindustani.

This is another of her song but with Hindustani lyrics: Dil to pagal hai (The Heart is Crazy). It was sung in Hyderabad in 2002. It is a famous song, and I can sing along but I don't know the meaning at all. I heard the song in a Hindustani movie. Dil to pagal hai in Wikipedia.

From the time I grew up and attended school in Kedah and Kelantan, I listened to such songs. Indian grocery shops also tuned in to Hindustani songs. Even though I am a Sindhi descendant, I don't understand any of the lyrics. My Sindhi relatives all spoke their mother tongue (Urdu?) at a wedding. I could not make out what language my relatives used but they spoke to my mother in English.

Hyderabad is connected to Malaya because a few of the ancestors of the early Malay doctors were from Hyderabad. They include the ancestors of Dr Che Lah bin Md Joonos (Penang), Dr Abdul Karim bin Nawab Din (Taiping). The ancestors made their way from the Deccan plateau to the port of Madras, and then sailed from Madras to Malaya. There are no details of the voyages yet.

These ancestors were Muslims and they were originally from the northern provinces of undivided India. They were from the Sindh, now Pakistan. They were known as Sindhi (now Pakis or Pakistani). I don't have the details of the north-south transmigration from the Sindh down to Darjeeling highlands in the Deccan plateau. It seems that many migrants-to-be followed this route before eventually reaching Madras and finally sailing forth to Malaya. Even people from Surat on the west coast came to the Deccan plateau first and then travelled onward to Madras, before sailing to Malaya.

Madras is Chennai today.

Just recently, Hyderabad was featured in TV AlHijrah / OASIS (can't recall what it was) on ASTRO in August 2012, around Aidilfitri. It showed the important buildings/places in Hyderabad such as the Hyderabad Mosque and the biggest restaurant named Paradise.

Hyderabad Mosque is an intricate old mosque but it is important as over the ages, the Nizam of Hyderabad Mosque was specially picked from among noted and respected clergy or imams. One of the early Nizams of Hyderabad had also contributed a large piece of diamond to the British Queen for her wedding. Paintings of the British Queen featured this diamond piece from the Nizam of Hyderabad. Try look up the Kooh-i-Noor diamond.

Paradise is a special restaurant in that it started as a small eatery, then it expanded and today it is a multi-storey restaurant and caters for all castes of the Indian populace. There are different spaces and settings for the different castes and groups so everyone can eat without feeling awkward. It also has a take-away section. It seems from the documentary that the Indians loved to buy their food from the Paradise take-away section (for breaking the fast in Ramadan). The workers of Paradise are well-looked after in terms of staff welfare, even the families' insurance are paid by Paradise management. Paradise provides very good work opportunities for boys from poor families.