Sanjay Rai, Montgomery College’s Vice President for Academic Affairs, took the lead in identifying Montgomery County’s fourth Sister City. Working closely with Maryland Delegate Aruna Miller and Ram Konda, chair of the Capital Area Telugu Society, Rai led a several month long process that included a survey of Indian community leaders. When the consensus pick was Hyderabad, Konda volunteered to travel there in December of 2013 to discuss the possibility with city leaders. Eleven months later, County Executive Ike Leggett led a joint Sister City and economic development mission trip to India where he signed a Sister City agreement with the City of Hyderabad on November 14, 2014.
Hyderabad, India’s fourth largest city, is the core of a metropolitan region of nearly eight million people. This South Indian city serves as the joint capital of two of India’s 29 states – Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. In terms of religion, it is one of India’s most diverse cities. Nearly 65% of the population is Hindu. Hyderabad’s 30% Muslim population is double the country’s average.
Founded in 1591, the city has a rich history dominated in the seventeenth century by the Qutb Shahi dynasty and before and during British rule by the Nizams, one of the world’s richest families. We visited the historic sites of Charminar, the tombs of Qutb Shahi, Golconda Fort, and Mecca Masjid, one of India’s largest mosques. Historically known as the City of Pearls, today’s Hyderabad is now often referred to as Cyberabad. It has also become an important center of India’s film industry. The cityscape is dominated by Hussain Sagar, one of Asia’s largest artificial lakes.
Montgomery College Vice President Sanjay Rai, County Executive Ike Leggett, First Lady Catherine Leggett, Office of Community Partnerships Asian liaison Diane Vu, and Capital Area Telugu Society chair Ram Konda arrive in Hyderabad November 12, 2014
Meetings were held with businesses, and Montgomery College representatives visited the University of Hyderabad. Mirin Phool, president of the Kaur Foundation, connected us to local Rotary Clubs. Shashi Shrivastav took us to two Ekal schools in the rural villages of Telangana. In part as a result of the 2014 mission trip to India, Infosys Public Services opened a headquarters and delivery center in Rockville. The new center will drive innovation in healthcare technology and help public sector organizations transform to new processes and IT systems in compliance with government regulations. India is featured each year in Montgomery County’s World of Montgomery Festival. For more information about how you can get involved, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
India (population 1,339,000,000)
250 square miles (metropolis) 2,700 square miles (metro)
Telugu and Urdu
Hindu and Muslim
India Standard Time (IST) (UTC+5:30)
Information technology, pharmaceuticals, tourism, film, crafts, and apparel
After November 14, 2014 signing of Sister Cities agreement in Hyderabad (from left) Councilmember Ayesha Rubina, Montgomery Sister Cities Board Member Ram Konda, County Councilmember Nancy Floreen, Maryland Delegate Aruna Miller, Mayor Mohammed Majid Hussain, County Executive Ike Leggett, and N.V.S. Reddy, Managing Director of Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited