Hyderabad: Yemen's historic ties with Hyderabad are set to get a boost with the Arab nation planning to set up an honorary consulate in the city. Ausaf Sayeed, India's ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Yemen, said persons of Yemeni origin in Hyderabad had been representing for a full-fledged Yemeni consulate. However, Yemeni authorities were considering setting up only an honorary consulate.
An eminent person of Yemeni origin will be appointed as an honorary consul, Sayeed told IANS on phone from Sanaa. The facility, which may later be upgraded to a full-fledged one, will cater to the needs of about 150,000 people of Yemeni origin in Hyderabad. The facility will help people to obtain visas here instead of travelling to the Yemeni embassy in New Delhi or consulate in Mumbai.
"They may also seek information on business opportunities in Yemen or simply maintain cultural ties," Sayeed, a Hyderabadi of Arab origin, told IANS in an interview. The 48-year-old Indian envoy is tracing his roots in Yemen since he took up the assignment in late 2010. His paternal grandfather Sayeed bin Abdullah served as a state treasurer under Al-Qu'aiti Sultans of Hadhramaut in southern Yemen during the early 1900s before migrating to Hyderabad.
An officer of the 1989 batch of Indian Foreign Service and one of the youngest diplomats, Sayeed earlier worked in Indian missions in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Denmark and also served as joint secretary (West Africa) in the Ministry of External Affairs. A patron of Indian culture and Urdu literature, Sayeed as consul general in Jeddah (2004-08) organised Urdu 'mushairas' and also played a key role in improving the arrangements for Haj pilgrims from India.
According to Sayeed, organised contacts between Hyderabad and Yemen (in particular Hadhramaut) can be traced to the 16th and 17th centuries, when Hadrami Sayyids started migrating in rapidly increasing numbers to India. The Bahmani and the Golconda rulers of the Deccan extended enormous patronage to scholars, sheikhs, sufis, merchants and soldiers from Hadhramaut.
Hyderabad became a favourite destination for Arab soldiers under the Asaf Jahi dynasty, popularly known as Nizams. In 1849, there were around 5,000 Arabs in the Nizam's army. There were an estimated 13,000 Hadhramis in Hyderabad in the 1930s. The intense people-to-people contacts between India and Yemen resulted in the settlement of over 300,000 people of Yemeni origin, mainly from Hadhramaut, in the Deccan and around 100,000 persons of Indian origin in southern parts of Yemen.