The rich lifestyle of Royal families has attracted interest among the youth since time immemorial. The elaborate rituals associated with every aspect of life are a mystery to the majority as there has not been enough documentation on the same. There are various Royal families but one particular Royal family has come forth to showcase their lifestyle to the world. Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) is hosting an exhibition, on the post-1857 lifestyle of the family that ruled the Ganga-fed plains of Rohilkhand.
The 22-day show began on Tuesday with the release of a book set in the same period (from the second half of the 19th century till early 20th). The novel, Gold Dust of Begum Sultans, is an English translation of acclaimed 1989 literary work Sunehri Rait in Hindi. “The book is a work of fiction. It is, however, based on historical facts and people,” pointed out Syeda Hameed, who, along with her sister Zakia Zaheer, did the translation of the novel by Zubeida Sultan.
The 218-page English novel, brought out by Rupa Books in association with IGNCA, was released by Urdu poet-theorist Shamsur Rahman Faruqi. The function was followed by a semi-classical Hindustani concert by Vidya Rao. While the vocalist sang compositions of late Rampur Nawab Raza Ali Khan Raja Pia and Mustafa Ali Khan Sharar, Ghazale Amin read out portions from the novel essaying intrigues of the durbar, impetuousness of the feudal lords, their indulgences, poetry, culture, clash with a new India following the first war of Independence. “The book essentially throws light on the old decrepit order of Rampur (presented as Mohammadpur in the novel) and will make particularly interesting read for the young generation keen to know about the fascinating subject,” said Prof DP Tripathi of the Abbas Memorial Trust.
The exhibition, titled- ‘Story of a Rampur Family’, which is on till May 10 at IGNCA Exhibition Hall, features clothes, jewels, wedding finery, mourning rites and rituals of the feudal state of Rampur (which is now in present-day northwest Uttar Pradesh).
Organised under IGNCA’s Janapada Sampada Division under its programme on ‘Confluence of Traditions and Composite Cultures’, the exhibition has close to 75 panels with pictures and texts giving nuggets of information as well as anecdotes about the Rampur family. The show, conceptualised by Ranesh Ray, also has audio-video records of the era designed by Iffat Fatima.