'Biryani power': Meet the Hyderabad man selling 'dakhni' t-shirts and merchandise

The merchandise includes T-shirts which say 'Biryani power', 'Beware of sarcasm, born Hyderabadi' and even gems like 'Apan Hyderabadi hai, apne se calm or kaam dono nahi hota'.
'Biryani power': Meet the Hyderabad man selling 'dakhni' t-shirts and merchandise
'Biryani power': Meet the Hyderabad man selling 'dakhni' t-shirts and merchandise

'Sab bolo meko kaam nakko bolo’ ,‘Lite le Baap’ ,‘Baigan ko bolo’, ‘Ek to apan Hyderabadi, upar se kiraak’, ‘Apan tension lete nai, dete’.

While these phrases may seem strange to a non-Hyderabadi reader, these are common parlance and typical taglines used in the day to day life of the people of Hyderabad, especially from the Old City. The Dakhni (Deccani) catchphrases are distinctive and have been used in different ways for a long time in the city. Dakhni is a unique form and descendant of the Urdu language.

A youngster hailing from Hyderabad, 28-year-old Syed Saif, is trying to promote the language and culture in a unique manner through his business.

A graphic designer by profession, Saif has designed merchandise like T-shirts, mugs, paintings and other items with these taglines and is selling them online under the 'Being Hyderabadi' brand.   

A sample of the slogans on his T-shirts: 'Biryani power', 'Beware of sarcasm, born Hyderabadi', 'Chai in my veins' and even gems like 'Apan Hyderabadi hai, apne se calm or kaam dono nahi hota'.

Speaking to TNM, Saif says, “A few years ago, I visited Comic Con India in Hyderabad where I got the idea to support and extend these taglines of the language differently and uniquely. Dakhni has a certain depth as a language, and its phrases are very unique." 

Since he started selling the products in 2014, Saif says that his main customers have been youngsters working in the city, and several Non-Resident Indians (NRIs).

"Many Hyderabadi youngsters who work in the Gulf and other foreign countries miss the the local language of Hyderabad; the language which they were taught in the lap of their mothers is imprinted in their minds. They are attracted towards the idea of T-shirts with the dialect as it has a rich and extensive literary heritage," he says. 

In 2014, Saif's love for Dakhni made him set up a stall in Comic Con. The idea was new and it worked. With the success of the stall, he decided to begin selling his merchandise online. 

“Dakhni has become a source of business for me. Since I launched the 'Being Hyderabadi' e-store, several people have bought the merchandise and this makes me very happy," he says. 

Another big customer base for Saif, are the techies working in the city's Information Technology (IT) sector.

“Techies working in the MNCs near Hitech City, Gachibowli, Madhapur and other areas like this concept as it is new for them. The response is positive. I think much more should be done to promote our language," Saif says.

Mohd Suleman, one of Saif's customers, says, "We Hyderabadis love the language and its uniqueness as it has a rich heritage. That's why I love the idea of wearing the catchphrases and slang on my t-shirt with pride."

Saif's e-store can be visited here.

Wajeed Ullah Khan is a Hyderabad-based freelance journalist who writes predominantly on the issues surrounding Old City. He can be contacted at wuk040@gmail.com

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