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A civil servant with yen for fine arts

J.S. Ifthekhar



Jayesh Ranjan

Hyderabad: He talks passionately about Hyderabad. Though he is in the city for just six years, he comes across like a pucca Hyderabadi. Ask him anything about the city – its landmarks, language, culture and cuisine and he will wax eloquent.

That's Jayesh Ranjan for you. Yes, he is an IAS officer with a difference. Currently he is seized with the obsession to get Hyderabad's Qutb Shahi monuments the coveted UNESCO World Heritage site status.

Pat for Hyderabadis

Mr. Ranjan, who hails from another nawabi city, Lucknow, is quite familiar with Urdu and the ‘shahi tahzeeb'. However, he considers Hyderabad as a highly evolved city of refinement and culture.

He is sad that fine arts are on the decline in Lucknow while it is on the ascendency in Hyderabad. “If someone says he is going to mushaira, the Lucknowis will think he has nothing better to do. But in Hyderabad people will appreciate it,” remarks Mr. Ranjan.

Art and culture need a congenial macro environment to flourish. If no patronage is given, people loose interest and turn to other activities. Mr. Ranjan is appreciative of the composite culture of Hyderabad. “One doesn't feel like an outsider here as the Nizam encouraged people of different regions to come and settle,” he explains.

Other interests

Mr. Ranjan's present assignment as Secretary of Tourism gels with his interests. Recently his department organised a qawwali session with the famous Warisi brothers at Delhi's Surajkund Mela.

He is so fond of qawwali that he doesn't mind going anywhere to enjoy it.

How does he spend his leisure time? He lets the RD Burman music and Kishore Kumar-Asha Bhonsle numbers wash over him. Books and sport are his other interests. Mr. Ranjan loves to read Indian writers in English and also commentaries on India written by westerners like Mark Tully, Patrick French and others.

He makes it a point to be present whenever new books are launched.

He did his bit in organising the recent Hyderabad Literary Festival and plans to make it an annual event.

Any unfulfilled desires? “Yes, I wish I could read Urdu,” pat comes the reply. His father, L.S. Narain, had his schooling in Urdu, but he missed the chance.

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