Saturday, October 05, 2019

Qasbahs of Awadh: The uniqueness of Lucknow, strength of its culture, bonding with its satellite towns


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Lucknow's connect with its satellite towns is a unique cultural and social aspect.

These qasbahs or the towns have a historical bonding with the city and the culture of Lucknow was considered incomplete without them.

Malihabad, Kakori, Mohan, Nagraam, Juggaur, Satrikh, Bijnaur*, Mahmudabad, Dariyabad, Haidargarh, Rudauli, Safipur, even up to Dewa-Barabanki [*another Bijnaur, not West UP].

These are the most famous ones. They were always considered an extension of Lucknow and Lakhnawi culture. No other city I know has such a bonding or connect with towns around it. Neither Bhopal, nor Hyderabad or other major cities I personally know.

People in these towns had unique relations, apart from locals' sense of kinship, marriages, a strong cultural bond with Lucknow. And so were Lucknow people attached to these towns. This is the DIFFERENCE when it comes to Lucknow (Awadh) and other cities.

This combined feeling of a common culture and shared heritage, helped Lucknow. Even after the onslaught after 1947, when culturally Lucknow saw major changes, a lot ended but a lot survived. That's due to these towns too.

Qasbah or Kasba is a place that is much bigger than village, it is a bit urban but not as big as city. These historic qasbahs now mostly have population in the range of around 15,000-50,000, life has urban elements, while also retaining a rural charm & leisurely life.

No other city has such qasbahs around it. These qasbahs produced eminent personalities, litterateurs, writers and people who achieved prominence in diverse fields. When I wrote the names on Twitter, many others came up with names of the Qasbahs that haven't been mentioned.

Sandila is slightly far, isn't it! But it has strong cultural links with Lucknow. In fact, it is a phenomenon outside Awadh (Oudh) too. Towns like Bilgram, Khairabad, Masauli, Nehtaur, Safipur are other examples in UP, to name a few.