Tandur, 21 January 1893

After a bad night spent in an unaccustomed way, the first thing I saw was the honor guard of the troops of the Nizam of Hyderabad which were receiving me in Wadi at the border of their „state“, more precisely a territory of a prince under British protection. Even though equipped with all the trappings of power and ruling an area of 214.000 km2 with 11.5 millions of inhabitants, the Nizam of Hyderabad or Golkonda is not really an independent but a tributary Maharaja, guarded by an English resident and a British occupation force under the pretense of protecting the Nizam.

I lay still in bed and could not leave it quickly and only watched through the window at the festively decorated station. The honor guard consisted of beautiful black people with twirled moustaches and sideburns.

The area we were driving through to Tandur was without charm, a large plain, only now and then broken by low ridges where cultivated areas alternate with large, bare and sterile areas on which barely a thorny bush grows and stone and where rock formations ad erratic blocks become visible. In the fields one can see the cultivation of flax, ricinus, jowari (a type of sorghum), cotton, maize and tobacco. Peculiar is the manner of plowing fields which still relies on very primitive plows, simple tree trunks with a root hook. The harrow is represented by tied brushwood and the fruit is simply uprooted by hand in places where scythes and sickles are unknown.

Everywhere one notices destroyed or decayed forts and other types of fortifications near the villages – as the houses of the natives are already built out of stone. These ruins are monuments to the time when the rajas and princes of the land were living in constant feud among themselves. Also there are Portuguese forts with round corner towers and crenellated walls still standing.

After a 22 hour train ride from Wadi with the Nizam’s Guaranteed State Railway we reached Tandur where a three day hunting expedition was planned. The Nawab Vicar ul-Umra, a cousin of the Nizam’s minister, followed by many Englishmen and shikaris, had come to welcome me at the station. Among those present was also the commander of the Nizam’s troops, Colonel Nevill1 who had entered our train already at Wadi and told me his life story in fine Viennese dialect even though he was born an Englishman. He had formerly served in our army and has been a captain of the Haller hussars, During the visit of His Majesty in Milan in the year 1857, Nevill served as an orderly of His Majesty. At the battle of Magenta, acting as adjutant to Gyulay, he had received the military honors cross with wartime service decoration. He retired honorably after that campaign and moved back to England from where he later went to India to enter into the service of the Nizam.  As Generalisso, he is said to occupy an important position at his court,

It took quite a long time until we were ready to go as the transfer of all the baggage necessary for the hunt required extensive time and the communication with the natives proved difficult. In their ardor they often picked the wrong pieces instead of the right ones. Finally, everything was ready. In a large golden coach drawn by four artillery horses we drove first through Tandur which still had walled enclosures and fortifications then some miles across the countryside to reach the hunting camp about 16 km distant which we were set to occupy during the next thee days. I was truly surprised to see a complete tent city in a large open square arrangement equipped with the highest possible level of comfort and luxury.

In the middle of the camp opposite its entrance stands the large dining hall tent. It offers room for a table for 20 persons and has a large parlor in front of it under a tent roof with the mo are the tents intended for us. Each one of us was allocated an individual tent with an excellent bed, a very elegant desk and some furniture and swell rugs. The tent for me had furthermore a flag pole with my standard on it and was remarkable by its size and has the appearance of a house. The 18 tents we occupied are surrounded by a separation wall outside of which stood 40 tents for the bands of servants, cooks, hunters and grooms. About 400 natives which were to serve as laborers and trackers are housed in leaf huts among which graze cows, buffaloes, goats and sheep in herds which would supply our daily meat as, to express it in military terms, the commissary requirements of our camp exceeded 500 men.

At the camp entrance stood a native honor guard of 30 men to which were added seven large elephants, intended for the coming hunting days, and 20 richly decorated majestic Arabian horses supervised by two equerries in green uniforms.

This hunting camp in a truly grand manner I owed to the Nizam of Hyderabad who had asked about my health by telegram and whether I was satisfied with the prepared accommodations,

After the arrival in the camp, the Nizam’s son was presented to me to whom I expressed with the help of an interpreter my pleasure about this grand reception in the Hyderabad territory.

Then we inspected the horses which were presented by the equerries of Nizam and the elephants whose long tusks were protected from splintering by thick, richly decorated iron rings,

As soon as our baggage had arrived, I changed into hunting dress and explored the surrounding area with Wurmbrand while other gentlemen went for a ride. During our short expedition I bagged many representatives of many new bird species unknown to me, among them tiny quails (Turnix dussumieri), — called „button-quail“ by the English — and doves, singing birds and chats.  On small tamarinds I found for the first time a large number of the artfully braided nests of weavers.

The flora was not very richly represented, only a bushlike Rosaceae with rich yellow flowers was noticed by me which found use as an offering in temples after the practical Indians found the gold sacrifices of former times too costly. Thus instead of yellow gold, they sacrifice yellow flowers  Who doesn’t remember the lamentations of Calchas about the decreasing propensity to sacrifice …

Very favorable news about the tigers arrived. It is said that they have seized a tied calf and were in a jungle nearby according to the shikaris. In the evening I received a telegram from Mr Jevers of Colombo which contained the good news that a large elephant probably the one I shot and wounded on 8th January. It was found dead about 1000 m from the place where I had shot it,

Links

  • Location: near Tandur, India
  • ANNO – on 21.01.1893 in Austria’s newspapers, On its front page, the Neue Freie Presse informs its readers that the former Serbian king and queen have reconciled themselves after an earlier scene in Biarritz. In Bornemouth, England, was arrested Cornelius Herz, one of the key operators responsible for the Panama scandal, He is expected to be rendered to France for prosecution. The newspaper reports that Franz Ferdinand spent his time in Bombay mostly by sightseeing.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the comedy „Die Welt in der man sich langweilt“, while the k.u.k Hof-Operntheater had a special honorary event for invited guests, a théâtre paré.

  1. Colonel Richard Nevill C.I.E.  entered the Nizam’s service in 1874 as Major, appointed Commander of the Indian Empire C.I.E. for services rendered to the Colonial and Indian exhibition in 1886 as representative of the Nizam. Died in 1896. 

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