Turrebaz Khan: The forgotten hero

Not many know but there is a Turrebaz Marg and a memorial dedicated to Turrebaz Khan and others who had participated in the mutiny along with him at Koti.

By   |  Published: 14th Feb 2017  1:04 amUpdated: 14th Feb 2017  1:46 am
The memorial of Turrehbaz Khan and other martyrs at Koti.

Hyderabad: The colloquial usage of ‘Turram Khan’ to praise someone for daredevilry is a part of the Hyderabadi dialect!

It’s quite natural in Hyderabad to describe someone either in jest or in all seriousness as ‘Turram Khan’. But, it is quite hard to find someone with limited knowledge of local folklore, who can explain the origin of this practise of describing someone as ‘Turram Khan’.

According to historians, ‘Turram Khan’ is a derivative of Turrebaz Khan, the heroic figure of Deccan history, who is associated with valour, courage and his role in the country’s First War of Independence or the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 In Hyderabad.

Not many know but there is a Turrebaz Marg and a memorial dedicated to Turrebaz Khan and others who had participated in the mutiny along with him at Koti.

While it’s hard to spot the memorial, the Turrebaz Marg can be recognised only by the presence of the modern landmarks like the Osmania Medical College (OMC), Kamat Hotel and Koti Women’s College, which are located along this stretch.

The Turrebaz Khan memorial, located just abutting the Sultan Bazaar bus stand, has a huge pylon marked by an engraving ‘Memorial to the martyrs. July 17, 1857’ in Telugu and English at the bottom.

“It was on July 17, 1857 when Turrebaz Khan, along with Moulvi Allauddin, led close to 500 rebels, many accounts suggest that they were Rohillas, and tried to storm the nearby Residency building where Jamedar Cheeda Khan was imprisoned,” says M A Qayoom, historian and former Assistant Director at Salar Jung Museum.

Apparently, Cheeda Khan was imprisoned because he revolted against the British and did not march to Delhi to suppress the mutiny. Cheeda Khan and a few soldiers revolted and came back to Hyderabad but were immediately arrested and imprisoned in the Residency building.

The fight to free Cheeda Khan, between Turrebaz Khan and British troops, who were led by one Major S C Briggs, lasted the whole night. Historical accounts suggest that the Nizam’s minister, Salar Jung had alerted the British about the impending revolt and the British troops were waiting for Turrebaz Khan to attack.

“The British troops had guns and Rohillas had swords. Turrebaz Khan was valiant but his bravery was not enough to free Cheeda Khan,” Qayoom said.

Historians point out that the revolt was quelled quickly but Turrebaz and Moulvi managed to escape. Later, Turrebaz Khan was shot dead in the forests of Toopran by one Talikdar Mirza Qurban Alib Baig, who as a reward received Rs 5,000.

To deter future rebellions, the body of Turrebaz Khan was brought back and hanged near the Residency building for all to witness. Moulvi Allauddin was caught, tried and sent to Kala Paani in Andamans, historians said.

The British troops might have managed to quell the rebellion but the folklore surrounding the bravery of Turrebaz Khan has lived-on.