National Geographic : 1940 Dec
The National Geographic Magazine His Highness asked Peggy if there was any thing special that she would like the artist to sing. She mentioned a rather sad song she had liked because it had somewhat more harmony than the others. "But it is not time for that song yet," the Maharaja exclaimed. As Peggy looked puzzled, he explained: "Each piece of music has its time of day to be played. Certain are morning pieces, others for the afternoon, and still others for the evening. You have requested a morning piece, and it may not be played until after one o'clock." We were so enthralled with the en tertainment that we were still there at 1 a. m., and Peggy heard her song. The next day came the departure of the 16-year-old bride from the home of her fathers. The station was decked with flags, and its carpeted platforms were crowded with the sub jects of Bikaner come to say goodbye. All went well until the carefully hidden bride was put aboard her private car. She said farewell to her beloved grandfather and then dissolved in tears. She wanted, as a last favor, to be permitted to see her English "nannie" for the last time-her nurse, who was being left behind in Bikaner. The royal train was kept waiting over an hour while a car sped to the palace to fetch this faithful gray-haired retainer. As she emerged, red-eyed, from a 15-minute inter view with the princess, the band struck up the Bikaner and Udaipur anthems, and the train steamed slowly out of the station. It was all a spectacle such as few have been privileged to see, and, so far as we know, none given the marvelous facilities to photo graph. When will it be repeated, in our war torn era? We were exhausted, and the three day rest on the train journey back to Hydera bad was most welcome. Our two weeks' work in Hyderabad was de signed to register the vast progress the Nizam has made, in his reign of nearly a third of a century, in bettering the lot of his subjects by the judicious use of his wealth and resources. We photographed the great Osmania Univer sity, named after the Nizam and founded by him in 1918; the Osmania General Hospital, the most modern in South India; the mint, where all Hyderabad coins and stamps are made; the great fortress of Golconda, ancient capital of the Gutab Shahi kings. But the phases of Hyderabad life that the Nizam has fostered most are agriculture and cottage industries (page 759), in sharp con trast with hydroelectric power and centralized heavy industry fostered by his neighbor, My sore, in the south. Mr. and Mrs. Ali Hydari, son and daugh ter-in-law of Sir Akbar, invited us to go on a hunt, 125 miles northeast of Hyderabad City. It was our first experience with princely luxury on shikar, and with the driven game method of shooting (page 758). Our camp was in reality a small town. Tents that could have housed a circus were set up in a jungle clearing and a score of uni formed palace retainers given the job of tak ing care of five of us. When we hunted we were taken in motor cars to most comfortable, ready-built machans, and up to 1500 beaters drove the game toward us from several miles away. We each bagged a tiger. Unsung Heroine of Hyderabad At a country fair some thirty miles away we watched a baby contest. An Indian woman doctor, charming in a pale-green sari, trained the mothers in the proper technique by personally washing 24 babies. The healthiest was then selected and Peggy awarded the prize to the proud mother. The woman doctor told us of her battle to stay the ravages of tuberculosis, and in vited Peggy to visit the woman's hospital where she was doctor, surgeon, nurse, and guiding spirit. Miracles had been performed in the simple operating room without electric lights or running water. On our return to Hyderabad City we told Sir Akbar about this brave little doctor and her courageous fight in the jungles of north ern Hyderabad. He promised to send her assistance. What a remarkable old gentleman Sir Akbar is! Well over 70, he is the nearest approach to a human dynamo we saw in India. With all of the many threads of public affairs in the great State of Hyderabad in his hands, he is in no small part responsible for the remarkable efficiency with which the humani tarian ideas of His Exalted Highness are carried out. Upon him has been heaped every honor that Great Britain can bestow, yet he is quiet and unassuming. He took up boxing a year or so ago, his son told us, and was quite indignant when his physician advised him that this was a bit too strenuous a sport for a man of his years. As we moved south, through Bezwada and Madras to Madura, it got hot. It was the end of March and the monsoon season was approaching. It is not exactly cool in South India on the sea, even in the cold season. It is really unbearable in the eight weeks before the monsoon rains bring a welcome relief from the stifling, sticky heat.