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Unani Medicine in Awadh

Volume: 11, No: 06 ; June-2017

During the period of Nawabs, the capital of Awadh was shifted from Faizabad to Lucknow by Nawab Asif-ud-Daula in 1775 and the same continued till the reign of Wajid Ali Shah (1847-1856).

Famous Hakeems of the Nawabi Era: A study of the Nawabi period reveals that the following Hakeems (Unani Physicians) were associated with the royal administration:

  1. Hakeem Mirza Bachchu
  2. Hakeem Mirza kochak
  3. Hakeem Mirza Jaafar
  4. Hakeem Mirza Mehdi
  5. Mumtaj ud daula Hakeem Mehdi Ali Khan
  6. Hakeem Mirza Mir Murtuza
  7. Hakeem Mirza Ali Khan
  8. Tabeeb ud daula
  9. Hakeem Mirza Mohammad Ali
  10. Masih ud daula Mirza Ali Hasan
  11. Hikmat ud daula
  12. Hakeem Mirza Zafar Ali Khan
  13. Hakeem Banda Raza Khan
  14. Hakeem Meer Mohammad
  15. Hakeem Mir Ali
  16. Hakeem Mohammad Yaqoob

Names of these Hakeems find mention in the description of the Nawab of Avadh (Waaquat-e-Salateen-Avadh by Syed Kamaluddin Haider Mashhadi).

Moulvi Mohammad Abdul Haleem Sharar has in his work ‘Guzishta Lucknow’ has written that  famous Hakeems of Delhi started migrating to Avadh during the period of Nawab Shuja ud Daula  (1754 to 1775)  when  all except one or two  Hakeems of Delhi came to Avadh. The history of Faizabad also reveals that one or the other Hakeem was always associated with the royal courts. They were given high regard by the administration beside good monthly salary and extravagant rewards.

During the reign of Nawab Asif ud Daula (1775 to 1797) Lucknow became the centre of art and artist always preferred to be here. Many traditional Hakeems of Delhi settled here and in a short span of time, the medicinal art became an attribute of Lucknow which produced such renowned and envied Hakeems such as Hakeem Masih ud Daula, Hakeem Shifa ud Daula, Hakeem Mirza Mohammad Ali, Hakeem Syed Mohammad Murtuza, Hakeem Mirza Mohammad kochak, Hakeem Nabba (Nabbaz) and Hakeem Mirza Mohammad Jafar, who were the authorities on the subject of Unani medicine. In due course, the Unani system of medicine reached its zenith when rarely a mohalla (locality) could be found without a renowned hakeem. Thousand of clinics (matab) were started in towns and village in and around Lucknow. In short, Lucknow produced many famous Hakeems, whose achivment are still remembered. The desertations relating to Nawabs of Avadh contain details about many famous Hakeem and their families. These include Hakeem Shifai Khan Hakeem Syed Mohammad Asghar Rizvi Isfahani, Hakeem Syed Mohammad Mushtaq, Mumtaz ud-daula Hakeem Mehdi Ali khan, Nawab Hakeem Tafazzul Hasain Khan, beside the families of Hakeem Mashi-ud-Duala, Hakeem Mohammad Ali Nabba Mualy Khan, Hakeem Ali Sharif, Mirza Hainga, Mirza Mohammad jawad and Hakeem Meeran. These Hakeem families took themedicinal art to its peak in Avadh. The pupils of these Hakeems spread over different cities and regions of India and propagated and extended the philosophy of Lucknow school of medicine. The hakeems of Avadh did not only benefit the patients by treating them, they also taught the important lessons from the books of medicine and trained others in the diagnosis and medicinal prescriptions. They also wrote important books and periodicals that were of immense help to the students of medicine as well as for the practicing hakeems and these still continue to benefit.

Also Some hakeems, established their own schools for teaching medicine. Syed Agha Medhi in ‘Tareekh-e-Lucknow’ has written that the Nawabs and Kings of Avadh promoted and patronized the Unani medicinal so much that first Amberganj then Jhawai Tola and lastly Johari Mohalla looked like small territories of Unan (Greece). Lucknow produced many hakeems, who will be remembered for long. Most of the hakeems who spread over other parts of the country, bow respectfully before these master physicians. The Unani medicine was promoted significantly by Hakeem Mohammad Yaqoo, Sehatuddaula, Masihuddaula, Hakeem Nabba, Hakeem Kochak and lastly Shifauddaula.

Syed Jalaluddin Haider, alias Agha Hajjoo Sharat, resident of Matia Burj Calcutta has in his Masnavi Afsanai Lucknow mentioned about famous hakeems of Wajid Ali Shah (1847-1856). This masnavi was written in the year 1873 and published by Nishat Publications, Delhi in 1885 under the supervision of Syed Mohammad Naqvi. The Masnavi mentions following hakeems :-

  1. Masih ud daula Mirza Ali Hasan Bahadur Ambassador of Avadh.
  2. Tabeeb ud Daula
  3. Hakeem Meerza Ali
  4. Shifa ud duala
  5. Sehat ud Daula, the yes man of Masih ud daula
  6. Hakeem Banda Raza Khan
  7. Nawab Hakeem Sarfaraz
  8. Hakeem Qasim Ali
  9. Hakeem Mohammad Yaqoob

Most of the Hakeem of Lucknow were invited by the Nawabs of Avadh and many of them settled in Mohan, Bilgram, Balrampur, Mahmoodabad, Sandeela, Ghazipur, Zangipur, Jaunpur, Banaras, Khairabad, Daryabad, Zaidpur and Jalalee has also produced many renowned hakeems.

Till date one can find the Unani medicine thriving well and being highly trusted in Lucknow. In spite of the advent of modern medicine system there still is a huge Lucknow population that trusts this system of Medicine. On our Heritage Walk we introduce out guests to one such clinic that is example enough to show its popularity in Lucknow and then we have a hospital and a college of Unani medicine at Turiaganj in Lucknow.

Credits : S.M.K.H Hamdani


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