ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

The City and the Samsthanas: Telugu Print in the Princely State of Hyderabad


Chintakunta Himabindu - University of Hyderabad, Department of Communication, Hyderabad, India


08 – Imagining the city: Literary and religious practices of urbanity in early modern and modern South Asia


 Princely State of Hyderabad is a multi-tiered, multilingual state with a distinct administrative structure. Urdu was the official language during the twentieth century with  Telugu, Kannada and Marathi as other dominant vernacular languages.

The paper documents the interactions and relationships between the Hyderabad City and the surrounding Samsthanas (are typically huge land holdings under the rule of nobility who claimed to draw their lineage from the older Kakatiya and Vijayanagara empires). The rulers of the Samsthanas patronised literary activity in Telugu and also wrote and published several books.

The paper therefore locates the print efforts of regional elite and their relationship with the Hyderabad city. In doing so it looks at the archives of Golconda Patrika, a Telugu bi-weekly and Hitabodhini (a monthly journal) that operated during the early twentieth century and Golconda Kavula Sanchika (A volume on the Poets from Golconda) which was published in 1934, to establish the presence of the regional elite in the city that reflected in the print and public activity. Along with supporting print ventures, they also were significant in establishing schools and literary institutions in the city that promoted education in Telugu medium. Ruling nobility’s networks of patronage to print and public activity which was happening with Hyderabad city as the base and their efforts to establish their presence in the public life of the city are of interest to the paper