Tomb of Hayat Bakshi Begum Mosque, Hyderabad - a great woman who protected the Qutb Shahi rule

The tomb of Hayat Bakshi Begum

It was Sultan Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the fifth ruler of Golconda  built the city of Hyderabad. The new city was located in a village called Chichlam had stood where he had met his his future  wife Bhagmati, then  a common girl who grew up there. It was a decade later the couple were blessed with a  baby girl whom they named Hayat Bakshi, or the giver of life. Both the ruler and Bagmati, unmindful of a legal heir to the throne brought up the girl in such a way as to face the world with confidence and courage, as if she were a prince. On sultan's orders there were celebrations in the royal prescient and in the kingdom when she was born  quite similar to those  when princes were born. Hayat Bakshi, with the knowledge gained in her earlier years under her parents guide, played  no less than a major role in the affairs of her land. 

Restored sarai around the Hayat Bakshi Begum Mosque
Unrestored sarai,Hayat Bakshi Begum Mosque

When Hayat Bakshi grew up into a beautiful young girl her father gave her in marriage to a young man Sultan Mohammad who later i went on to become the next ruler of Golconda after his death 
Sultan Mohammad Hayat Bakshi, being a loving husband and religious never failed to pay due attention to his wife matter regarding the affairs of his kingdom. Their  smooth and easy- going life had begun to change upon the birth of their son. That he was born in an inauspicious day became a subject of discussion and worry to the royal couple.  The royal astrologers strongly advised that the the father and son should avoid seeing each other’s faces for 12 long years. Unfortunately, it is believed, the Sultan died  after his accidental encounter with his son before the stipulated period. The next ruler of the kingdom was his twelve-year-old son Sultan Abdullah Qutb Shah. And Hayat Bakshi, who was only in her twenties, became the Queen Mother, or Ma Saheba, as she is known to this day.
The tomb of Hayat Bakshi Wikimedia Commons
Since Sultan Abdullah Qutb Shah  happened to be a boy the responsibility of running the kingdom fell on  Ma Saheba who had to take charge of ruling the kingdom until he was about eighteen.

Her son ruled the kingdom  and it was a peaceful period until Mogul prince Aurangzeb turned up with his troops. Ma Saheba, being shrewd as she was. made a deal with Aurangzeb.  The Sultan’s daughter would be married to Aurangzeb’s son, ensuring that Golconda would go to the Moguls after the Sultan’s death. Quite happy  Aurangzeb left the kingdom and did not give trouble to his  bother for at least thirty years.  Qutb Shahi rule in Golconda continued as before without any break

step-wells or Baoli's in Hyderabad Trinethram

 It was Hayat  who  commissioned a beautiful mosque and a huge sarai or inn in 1672 during the reign of Abdullah Qutb Shah the fifth Sultan of Golcondand  in Hayath Nagar, an area named after her. The Hayath Bakshi Begum mosque  stands  not only as  a beautiful Mosque but a also a good example of Qutb Shahi architecture. The Mosque is in a vast  compound surrounded by an arcaded sarai with more than 130 rooms. The sarai or inn  was, in those days meant for weary travelers who could take rest after a long journey. There is a big step well east of the mosque called the Hathi Baoli, presumably for use by travelers and their animals.
The great, intelligent was buried under an imposing tomb along with the rest of her family in the Qutb Shahi Tomb complex. Masab Tank near the vibrant Banjara Hills area of Hyderabad gets its name from Ma Saheba.Photo credit:  Madhumita Gopalan