Urdu writer, historian Anand Raj Verma passes away; tributes pour in

Many recognize Anand Raj as the brand ambassador of the Hyderabad Metro Rail project

By Anoushka Caroline Williams  Published on  16 March 2023 6:42 AM GMT
Urdu writer, historian Anand Raj Verma passes away; tributes pour in

Dr. Anand Raj Verma (file photo)

Hyderabad: Dr. Anand Raj Verma, a great Urdu writer, historian, presenter, HRM brand ambassador, and theater artist passed away due to a cardiac arrest in the early hours of March 16.

Most people recognize Varma as the former Principal of Anwar Ul Uloom College. Many others recognize him as the brand ambassador of the Hyderabad Metro Rail project.

Even those who may not recollect his face may recall his voice and diction from Quizline, which broadcasted on Etv Urdu for seven years. Most of these opportunities stemmed from his interest in Urdu for which he also received the Andhra Pradesh Urdu University's lifetime achievement award.

Varma found his love for Urdu during his childhood. It was a language he studied in school and grew very fond of. He considered knowing languages as a mark of education and experience. As he would often say, he imbibed his flair for Urdu from his forefathers. He would keenly watch as three teachers would visit his home to teach his father English, Urdu, and Hindi.

"Anand Raj Varma sahab, a true epitome of Hyderabadi culture symbolised a quintessential personality. Having known him for many years, I wish to bring out some facets of him that I came to know about during my several interactions with him. He spoke to me regularly and visited me from time to time at my office at the university. Sometimes he would ask me about some historical nuggets of Hyderabad, especially about the medieval terms used in Deccan's administration. But more often he would give me a lot of information through old stories about the city. He once presented me with his Urdu book on the mohallas of Hyderabad which lists out all the small localities of the city and gives their history" said Salma Farooqui, head of the history department in MANUU.

"Not everyone would be knowing about the work he was engaged in for a few years. He had completed a meticulous record of all the mandirs in Hyderabad and even visited all these places personally. The last I met him was just two months ago at the Hyderabad Book Fair where we were invited by Veda Kumar sahab for a book launch on Hyderabad's epigraphic history. It was a happy occasion where Veda Kumar sahab, Anand Raj Varma sahab, Ar Yeshwant Ramamurty sahab, Prof Anjaiah of Osmania university, and I shared some good moments together. What I will never forget is the way Anand Raj Varma sahab introduced me as the great-granddaughter of Shahzor Jung Bahadur on this occasion. People always know me as an academic or a historian but this kind of introduction could come only from a person who knew the pulse of Hyderabad. His soft-spoken and well-mannered nature and abundance of knowledge about Hyderabad made him a well-respected and well-loved Hyderabadi" she added.

Varma pursued his BSc and MSc in Botany at Osmania University after finishing his intermediate at City College, where he made sure to take an interest in the "finer things in life."

Varma has given over a hundred presentations on All India Radio, some general and most of them science-related; he has also actively written for science periodicals.

Even as he grew older he had the same zest for intellectual and cultural endeavors as a young college student. In 2004, he produced a series of pieces for Swatantra Vartha, a Hindi daily, combining his recollections of the city and enthusiasm for preserving history with his love of language. It was these articles that led to the penning of his book.

“He was a towering figure and a thorough Gentleman,” said Syed Taruj, senior Hyderabad resident and dear friend of Varma.

“He was a living example of the Syncretic Culture of Hyderabad. Only the other day I had met him in the General body meeting of the Secunderabad urban Co-op bank and heard his Urdu, always better than all of us. We had a late lunch after the meeting. May God bless his soul. Thandi thi Jis ki Chaon, wo Deewar Gir Gayi,” said S. A. Huda, former DGP of Andhra Pradesh.

“Passing away of Dr. Anand Raj Varma is a great loss for Hyderabad. An orator par excellence, an eminent author in Urdu and Hindi, and a well-known historian. His efforts to document the oral/ modern history of Hyderabad were commendable,” said Dr.Mohammed Safiullah, Honorary Managing Trustee, Deccan Heritage Trust, Hyderabad.

Dr. Anand Raj Varma's last rites will be held at noon on March 16 behind the Marriott courtyard of Kavalguda Crematorium.

Next Story
Share it