Mah Laqa Bai Chanda is the forgotten poet that India has seen, who had once held the princely state of Hyderabad in thrall with her beauty, witt and genius for writing. Born as Chanda Bibi to a courtesan and brought up her step-sister, she received the best of the education in aesthetics and arts.
Being a gifted student, Chanda mastered the unique Decanni Kathak, wrote poetry and was also trained in military arts like javelin throw. As her fame grew, she attracted the attention of the Prime Minister Aristu Jah, who became her patron. With his backing, her compilation of poems ‘diwan’ was published in 1789 and was celebrated by the second and third Nizams.
Chanda, a powerful woman who donned many hats had trained 300 women at once in performing arts. She was widely known in Delhi and Lucknow too and even today she is remembered by the lovers of poetry. Even though courtesans like Roopmati and Taramati had been quite known, yet, none were as enthralling as Chanda. Even the British were in awe of her skills. Her poetry juggles the romantic and mystic with ease.
Incidentally, 2018 marks her 250th anniversary. Yet, there has not been one notable event that has marked the occasion. It seems an irony that one of talented and richest women of her times and who had contributed maximum to Hyderabad’s monuments, has been sidelined by us. It is important to celebrate history of such women- who refused to play by rules, were multi-talented and contributed to the society.
Tags : #MahLaqaBai #History #Dancer #Poet #Forgotten #Died