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July 2005
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Readers Right

Nawayaths of Hyderabad
By M.A.Bhatkali

In Hyderabad, the concentration of the community was in and around Troop Bazaar.

Long before the advent of Islam, the Arab traders came to India . The Sufis came to West coastal area and started preaching Islam and settled in Bhatkal and surrounding places like Shirool, Mudereshwar, Manki, Gangoli and Byandoor.

Nawayath means newcomer. The Tamil Nadu census report describes Nawayath or Nawayaties as Muslim tribes who originally settled in Bhatkal.

There are very few Nawayaths in Hyderabad as well as Hassan district of Karnataka and Chennai. A well known scholar, writer and former bureaucrat, Hameedudin Ahmed who is a Nawayath, says the term “Nawayath” has its origin from navigation and sailing. But late, Naseeruddin Hashmi in one of his books has mentioned that it could be the name of one of the main Nawayath ancestors from the Arabs. They arrived in India about 750 years ago. In Hyderabad, the concentration of the community was in and around Troop Bazaar. One of the most famous personality among the Nawayaths in recent times was Mohd. Hameedullah, a professor of Law who left Hyderabad in 1948 and lived in self-exile in France. Yet another person from the Nawayath community who bought fame to Hyderabad, was the cricketer Ghulam Ahmed. Habib-Ur-Rahman who worked all his life for the promotion of Urdu donated his properties in Himayatnagar, Hyderabad. On this stands the Urdu Arts College and Urdu hall.

Hasnuddin Ahmed, father of Allahuddin Ahmed was the City Police Commissioner of Hyderabad and later Director of Police Commissioner of Nizam state Hyderabad..

Nawayaths are a deeply religious community. Even the rich and famous among the Nawayaths know the holy Quran by heart. It seems the Nawayaths were close to the sea and they mingled harmoniously with the Hindus and Jains belonging to the costal and fishing communities. From here they imbibed some food habits too like boiled rice, fish curry and coconut milk which is used in all the dishes.

Before the arrival of Nawayaths, the Bhatkal area was predominantly occupied by Jains. There are Jain Maths in Bhatkal. There is a Jain temple here called Moni Basti.

Another fact that many do not know is that Nawayath community is free from the evil of the dowry system. Nawayaths have keen business sense and have excelled in the business of textiles and hotels throughout India especially ,Kerala, Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra and also different parts of the world like Britain, America, New Zealand, Dubai, Saudi Arabia and almost all Gulf countries.

The first Nawayath publication was Al-Nawayath in Nawayath language which discontinued after a few publications. The Naqshae Nawayath newspaper is going on for the past 20 years and is very popular in India and abroad. The Bhatkal Times, in Urdu has gained popularity in a short time since it was launched.