Hyderabad’s double agent

The Osmania Women’s college from the outside looks ordinary. But it harbors an old secret. Before it was converted into a college it was the house of  Colonel James Achilles Kirkpatirck, the British Resident at the court of Hyderabad (1797-1805) built along the similar  lines of its contemporary companion, the White House at Washington.

Kirkpatrick had disarmed the French in Hyderabad when he met Khair un -Nissa , a 15 years old muslim girl engaged to a muslim nobleman. Kirkpatricks was unable to defend himself from falling in love with Nissa.In truth the feeling of love was mutual between Kirkpatrick and Nissa. The later vowed to spend the rest of her life loving Kirkpatrick.

Needless to say, a scandal broke out when people realized that Khair was to bear Kirkpatrick’s child. Rumors that Kirkpatrick had raped Nissa reached the governor-general of Calcutta and KirkPatrick was charged with the crime of rape.

The prime minister of Hyderabad cut a deal with Kirkpatrick. He agreed to testify for Kirkpatrick and allow him to marry Khair if he in return agreed to work for the best of the Hyderabadis, in short as a double agent.

Kirkpatrick secretly converted to Islam and married Khair. The couple and their two children lived in the British residency. However their life together was cut short when Kirkpatrick died of a mysterious illness. Khair was only 19 years old.

The Osmania womens college is built around this once stately house. The house is in a dangerously dilapidated state and deemed unfit for use by the college.

Destination: Fort Jesus, Mombasa, Kenya

[ I have enrolled in a 12 (read more than 12) weeks travel writing course with the Matador University. As a part of our course work we write articles and publish them in our blog. This photo essay  is part of the eleventh assignment. The objective of this essay is to tell a story/present information using photographs.]

The tagline for Kenya’s tourism department reads “Welcome to Magical Kenya”. A walk around the old coastal town of Mombasa will stand testimony to this tag line!