BENGALURU: In the evening, there was a grand banquet given in the public gardens. The gardens were beautifully lighted with a variety of oil lamps. At 9 p.m., dinner was served in a suite of tents pitched for the purpose, and Salar Jung personally received his guests at the entrance of the drawing-room suite.
More than 300 guests sat down to dinner in a spacious marquee, where Salar Jung and the resident occupied the places of honour. Dinner was served in the best English style, and champagne and other wines flowed in profusion. After dinner, a toast was drunk to the queen and the royal family, as well as to the viceroy, Lord Northbrook. Speeches by the resident and Salar Jung followed.
The resident offered his congratulations and those of the viceroy. He read out a message from the foreign secretary on behalf of the viceroy ‘on the completion of this important undertaking, which connects the capital of His Highness’s dominions with the railway system of India, and brings it into direct railway communication with the three presidency towns’. He then proposed in a few words the health of Salar Jung. Salar Jung made a brief speech in reply, thanking the resident and the government for their good wishes for the success of the railway.
The stream of postprandial eloquence was brought to a conclusion by Major Tweedie, who proposed a toast to the health of the resident in a long and eulogistic speech. The guests then proceeded to the gardens where a display of fireworks in the best European style took place. Monsieur Deluny, a French artist settled in Hyderabad, was responsible for the fine show which included rockets, Catherine wheels, turbines, spirals, crosses and crescents, apart from a large number of balloons which floated away into the night.
The pièce de résistance was a representation of a train in motion, the wheels and all the parts being represented by lines of light, which elicited universal praise. Since the display took place on the bank of one of the artificial lakes, the effect was greatly enhanced by the reflection of the pyrotechnics in the water. Two days later, on 10 October, a durbar was held at the palace which had as its purpose the presenting of a letter to the nizam from the Government of India by the resident. It was reported that the nizam, who was only nine, performed his duties with a calm self-possession which belied his age. The resident read the viceroy’s long letter of congratulations about how the new railway had connected Hyderabad with the rest of India.
After the letter had been read, pen, paper and ink were brought to the nizam who signed his name on a paper to be conveyed to Lord Northbrook, proof that his education in at least one of the ‘three Rs’ had not been neglected. Paan was handed around in small boxes, signalling the end of the durbar. When the resident gave the sign, everybody rose and bowed before the nizam before retiring.
The Maginificent Diwan, with permission from Penguin Random House India