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Monday, December 29, 2014

~~Of Christmas and New Year Parties of Shehzadas and Nawabs

A very Happy New Year to all the readers...

This special post talks about how New Year was celebrated by some of the Royals of Hindustan, and later by common people when "Royalty ceased"....

New Year’s eve at Bombay House was a grand affair but the one at Old Pataudi House was no less memorable. It must have originally belonged to the Nawab but he left it when the new one was built in South Delhi. After that it was given on rent to mostly Christian families, who had earlier lived at Turkman Gate but moved into it as they found its location more suitable for attending Sunday service at St James’ Church in Kashmere Gate. Some, however, continued to go to the Turkman Gate Holy Trinity Church, built in 1904 after the site chosen near Ajmere Gate had to be abandoned after digging revealed that there was an underground reservoir there of Mughal days which supplied water to the Shahji lake that once covered what is now the Ramlila ground.

Christmas was a big celebration but New Year’s eve was no less spectacular. Naney Joseph had a large family with sons, grandsons and great-grandsons – all of whom were married and, together with their wives and kids, filled up many rooms in Pataudi House. The old man was 90 then but still active enough to take charge on festive occasions. His ancestors had been Tyagi Brahmins from Mewat who had migrated to Delhi in mid-19th Century and faced a tough time during the Revolt of 1857 as they were Christian converts. For this they were attacked by those who considered them stooges of the British, but though some perished, the rest managed to survive by declaring their allegiance to the Mughal emperor. Their dhoti-kurta dress and dehati lingo lent credibility to their claim that they had changed their religion but not customs, celebrating Diwali and Holi too, besides Christmas and the New Year.

When the British retook Delhi and Bahadur Shah Zafar was sent into exile in Rangoon, they repaid their debt of gratitude to the men who had spared their lives by proclaiming their innocence. After that the Tyagi Christians began to be regarded as friends, particularly by the inhabitants of Turkman Gate. In the changedcircumstances they were greatly sought after by those seeking favours from the new dispensation.

Now coming into their own, they celebrated Church festivities with greater fervour. At Christmas they sang bhajans of “Nanha Balak, Yesu” and at New Year’s “Naye-saal-ke-geet”. It was in the evening that the whole community congregated to bring the sun down with singing and dancing. There was typical rural “naach-gana” and also some ballroom dances learnt by the girls from English lady teachers.

New Year’s eve of 1947 became a glamorous event as it was the first time that it was being celebrated after Independence. Refugees from Punjab and Sindh did not quite understand what all the gaiety was about as they were not familiar with such celebrations but those were times when even old women danced at Pataudi House, which was gaily illuminated with diyas and bunting on Dec. 31. Andrew and his brother Philip, who were children then, used to talk about the post-Azadi Naya Saal. Bannu chachha, who had finished off half a bottle, decided that after the young people had enjoyed themselves, no woman would cook khana at home and stuff bought from the Jama Masjid dhabas could be eaten. The pulao-zarda arrived, along with tandoori rotis, korma and kababs. Some ate to their heart’s content while others were still on “liquid diet”. Their wives and mothers, following the old custom of eating after the males, passed the time singing to the beat of the dholak and the tunes of the harmonium. Perpetua Bua, Kali Mumani and Ganno Bhabhi clapped as they were too old to sing because of cracked voices, but Alloo Bua and Sanno Ba’s wife added to the fun by showing off their dance thumkas in imitation of the dancers of Chawri Bazar. Then William Sahib, line operator in a CP newspaper who had had one too many, took hold of the dholak and beckoning the others staged a qawwali until he swooned away midway and Keti Ba, taking off his turban, crowed like a cock to make the others realize that it was past midnight and the New Year had begun. Everybody then sang in unison, “Naya saal phir se aya hai, mubarak ho mubarak ho”, and the assembly broke up to sleep till dawn, when it was time to go to church but before that Chhinga Bhaiyya kissed his new bride and made her blush.

Names in the last paragraph are fictitious, only to tell that people of different faiths celebrated Christmas and New Year together with harmony, some not even knowing the meaning and "reason" of this celebration. ~~Such were the times..~~  :)

This article has been borrowed from the research of a chronicler. 
I do not claim any credit for the post.

This article has been posted under the Historical accounts and FolkLore section of history_geek's Blog.

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  1. Aha! a fun post to start the New Year, while the old year slowly fades away :) Beautiful, nostalgic, sentimental post that celebrates the innocence of that era gone by!

  2. happy new year abhay n all d lovely readers of 'tis blog. may 'tis blog grow by leaps n bounds. lovely post.

  3. radhika - happy new year 2 u nd ur family dear.

  4. Firstly, a very Happy New Year to Abhay, Radhika and all the lovely readers!
    A really beautiful post Abhay! Loved reading it!
    There was obviously a large difference as to how New Year's was celebrated then and how it is done now :)
    And it was lovely to read how people came together, irrespective of the differences in religion and culture :)
    I hope this year was great and pray that the new year will bring happiness and success to all!
    Happy New Year once again and enjoy! :)

  5. Thank you for an entertaining and pleasant post Abhay.

    Wishing you and all readers a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year.

  6. Thanks Abhay A very Happy and prosperous New Year to you and all bloggers

  7. Sunram,

    Thanks and wish you a very happy and prosperous new year too :)

  8. Charu

    Thanks so much! Wishing you also a very happy and prosperous new year :)

  9. Samanika

    Thanks a lot! Wishing you also a beautiful year ahead :) Happy New Year!

  10. My dear Iqra

    Thank you :) Wishing you and your family a wonderful new year!

  11. Sorry, Radhika. Goofed up thinking that Abhay had made the post. I need to be more attentive. Pardon me.
    Wishing you and your family a Healthy, Happy, Cheerful, Prosperous New Year.

  12. Charu! Now you confused me!! What made you think you goofed up - this post is by Abhay only :) I was only thanking you for your lovely wishes for the new year :)

  13. A very happy new year to all our friends on the blog.!:) May there be prosperity, development, peace n harmony in our nation. May history-geek's blog unearth more n more historical events of different empires n enlighten largest section of humans.:)
    The post is very welltimed.:) It was fun to know how it all started. Thank u history-geek, fr bringing that smile.:)

  14. Abhay, On new Year Eve, Light +comfortable Post,

    So some hours remained, 2o14 have ready to Go, 2015, ready to Come.

    i am writing a poem;

    Kuch Too Badal Raha hee aaj,

    Deeme see, Chup kee dee Raha hee, Dastak Koi Aaj,

    Pakshiyo kaa Kalrav, Kah, Rah hee Aaj,

    Patto kee Sansnahat, suna Rahi, Hee Aaj,

    Surmai Surmai, Nadiyao Kaa Neer,

    Bajta Jaise Koi Sangget,Sangget

    Umad Rahi hee Sagar kee Lahar Aaj,

    Khusshi, kee Geet Gaa Rahi, Pawan bhee Aaj,

    Bhavere, kee, Ghu, Ghu, ,

    Chidya, kee chiu Chiu,

    Ghane Kohre Kee Chadar Kee Beech,

    Khila hee, Koi, dee Kee Lee Kee Rumaniyat see,Dastak See,

    Aree Ujaaval, Saa, Man mohak saa, Sunder saa,

    Nav, Varsh, Nav Varsh,

    Mangal hoo Mangal may hoo,

    Yahi Sandesh Laya Huu,

    Karmthta, Mahent, Sadbhav, Visvash Yahi Hee,

    Sidhant Mere, joo Maneta hee, Karta huu, Sapne Sakar Yahi Sakar Yahi,

    Happy new Year to All Friends.

  15. Ayushi

    So beautiful :)

    Wishing a Happy New Year to you and your family :)

  16. Keep smiling, Geeta :) Wishing you and your family a very Happy New Year!

  17. Everyone,

    Wishing you all a Healthy, Peaceful, Joyful, Successful New Year :) Hoping this blog family grows bigger in the coming year, as we discover newer truths about our past :)

  18. Happy New Year and wishes for a happy and healthy 2015 to all the wonderful blog readers. Hope this year brings even more prominence and success to this wonderful blog.

  19. Hi all,
    A very Happy New Year to all here.
    Thanks for all the wishes. May this year usher a new era in the lives of all. :)

  20. Thank u Radhika, n same to u.:) Wish that u continue to post pleasant, funny as well as thoroughly informative ones. :)

  21. New year ka pehla sawal. I don't know where to post it. Can anybody enlighten me regarding,
    1The history of Bandooks n Toafs, which country they were experimented first?
    2. How n when did they come to India?
    3.They r referred to as Aagneyastra in MP. Did Rajputana anytime started producing such weapons or they relied on primitive methods totally?.

  22. Hi Geeta,
    You can post it here. :)
    As, these questions are related to MP show. :D

    Or you can post on MP's post also. :)

  23. Radhika, Abhay, & all friends,

    Sharing some, today i attended a Get-together,& i spoke this poem, I write Many times, but spoke first time, I got First, Prize, So Abhay Your Blog, first insipred, me to write a poem, So credit, goes to your Blog also.

  24. Wonderful! Congrats, Ayushi :) You are, indeed, a beautiful poet.

  25. Ayushi,
    Congrats and thanks for sharing + kudos to your humility for giving the credit to this blog too. :)

  26. Thanks Radhika & Abhay, Actually, After so many times, i write to start, I when write only When my Heart Says Some,
    If thought comes, Then i write, Hand to your BLOG, created a space for me, Today Net was not coming, Morning ,But i wrote this poem Rough,also They announced, Last Lines giving, Unique, Message, so Award goes to me.