Man of many talents

Nawab Mahboob Ali Khan
Mahboob Ali once gifted blankets to howling hyenas during the winter season. Illustration: G Niranjan

Nawab Mahboob Ali Khan was a great hunter and an extraordinary shot. Very often he used to go hunting to the jungles, beyond the present Ramoji Film City. Upon his return, he stayed in the Mahboob Mansion, a beautiful palace in old Malakpet. One night in the palace, his sleep was disturbed by some strange sounds. On enquiry, he was informed that the hyenas are howling. “But why”? Mahboob asked. “Because they are shivering in intense cold” replied a servant. He instantly ordered blankets for the poor hyenas. Such acts were not uncommon among the simple hearted rulers.

The next night, he again woke up in the dead of the night and was surprised to listen to the same howling. He summoned his servants and asked whether the blankets were distributed to the hyenas. He was informed in the affirmative. “Then why are they howling”? asked the Nizam. The scheming and manoeuvring servant told him that the hyenas are not howling. As they were given the blankets, they were expressing their gratitude to their beloved king.

Extraordinary powers

Nawab Mir Mahboob Ali Khan, the seventh Nizam, was a multi-dimensional personality. He was an able administrator, a visionary, a good shot, a man of fine tastes and aesthetic sense, a dandy, messiah of the poor, immensely charitable and very kind hearted. He was greatly loved and respected by his subjects. Apart from these fine characteristics, he was also gifted with a magical power and incantation to cure victims of snake bite. He learnt this spell or exorcism from one of his courtiers, Nawab Muneeruddin Khan alias Sikandar Yar Jung who was bestowed with the charm (mantar) of snakebite. The charm acted as an antidote, relieving the victim of the poison. For this extraordinary quality, Muneeruddin Khan was famous all over the state. According to the rule of this magical charm, one can transfer the secrets and the spell to only one person, after which the person loses the power of healing. When Mahboob Ali acquired the magical power from Muneeruddin Khan, he issued a command order (Farman) on the 16th day of Ramzan, 1321 Hijri (1905 AD) informing all about this acquired power that those who are bitten by a poisonous snake have simply to say “Mahboob Pasha ki duhaai, zahar utar ja” (In the name of Mahboob Pasha, I order the poison to become ineffective).

It is recorded that this practice was common in the state and victims of snake bite were cured instantly by this magical spell. It may sound strange and even unbelievable but the records testify this.