For Marathis, Hyderabad is not home away from home but an extended home. This community has given much to the City of pearls and has imbibed many cultural strains.
Maharashtrians have had their presence in the City for at least 300 years. Marathi organisations say the Maharashtrians living in Andhra Pradesh could be between 10-12 lakhs while the number of them living in Hyderabad could be around 3.5 lakh to 4 lakh. They are concentrated in Shalibanda, Gowliguda, Dhoolpet, Sultan Bazar, Kachiguda and Nallakunta. Many of them are doctors, educationists or lawyers. There are more than 25 Marathi organisations in the City .
Marathwada was part of the former Hyderabad state until May 1, 1960, when it was transferred to Bombay. “As Hyderabad was the capital of the Nizam’s Hyderabad since 1724, people from Marathwada came here for opportunities,” says DP Joshi, president of Marathi Sahitya Parishad. Old timers note that Maharashtrians were appointed in the Nizam’s army or revenue service. They were called Nawabi Marathas.
Pratik Manohar Bhosale had never heard of Hyderabad but was told by his friends in Kanerwadi, a small village in Osmanabad, that it was a land of opportunities. “He says that his life changed after coming here. He spent his entire life here despite not having any relatives here,” says Saroj Bhosale, Pratik’s daughter. There are many like Bhosale who came in search of livelihood.
For some like Malini Rajurkar (singer), Dr Pandit (CCMB scientist), Vilas Afzalpurkar (chief justice of High Court) life changed after shifting here.
Taking about festivals, Dr Vishwanath Gogate, a member of AP Chitpawan Sangha, a Maharashtrian association said, “On Gudi Padwa, we make the traditional Puranpoli at home.”
“We speak Marathi and Telugu and are fluent in Urdu. We don’t feel like outsiders,” says theatre personality Bhaskar Shewalkar.
When Satish Surve came to the City, he never knew it would become his home. After 48 years, he cannot think of living anywhere else. “I initially stayed on because of my work and my son’s education. But the City is so peaceful and people are accommodating. I cannot think of shifting base now,” he says.
Like many others from his community Satish Surve feels insecure because of the treatment being meted out to North Indians in Mumbai.“If Maharashtrians can ask people from other places to leave then why not the locals here?” Dr Vishwanath Gogate says the community has no problems. Some pinpricks, but nothing serious.