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The plea of the heritage structures of Hyderabad

By Er.Shaik Abdul Sattar

It looks straight from a Bollywood movie-when two friends decide to have a go at their opponent. The first one goes and comes back; black and blue. And then the other one goes ahead and tries his luck. But the result, the same; Both get muscled by their opponent.

The whole hysteria surrounding the demolition of the Osmania General Hospital started when the chief minister, straight out of a victory in 2014 of the newly formed Telangana state, with an inquisitive mind, started exploring the Hyderabad city.

In his tenacity to discover the shabby old buildings sprawling over acres of land, worth thousands of crores-He decides to open the long-locked purdah gate; the residence of the seventh Nawab of Hyderabad, and made a visit to the King Kothi Palace, along with Erum Manzil and few other places, before glibly proposing the idea of constructing the assembly and legislative buildings at the Chest Hospital located at Erragadda. Although an Indo-Saracenic structure of the present Assembly building extravagantly exists in the heart of the city.

The consecutive year-In 2015, around August, the chief minister visited the Osmania General hospital for invigilation and decides to demolish the existing heritage structure to pave way for a new modern building. But the response he received from the opposition and the public was quite repugnant. So, there was no further hullabaloo about that matter.

Until recently on the 20th of June, the AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi called a press meet and said, He agrees with the idea of the Osmania hospital building being demolished to construct a new multi-speciality hospital in its place without compromising on its structure. He also suggested that development should be the priority rather than whining about the heritage building as more beds and infrastructure can be accommodated. This as well did not go down well with the heritage lovers and the idea was largely criticized on social media and forums.

While he was speaking to the media about the grim condition of the monument, for some time, he was taken aback by this thought and lost for words. Since, he and his party were the ones who were supposed to protect, maintain, and better the condition of this historical building since it falls under their parish; (The old Hyderabad). But the moment he talked about the monuments deteriorating condition, here he was acknowledging his and his party’s inability to safeguard it over the years and bring it to a point of demolition.

It should have been the AIMIM and their local leader’s responsibility for having been contesting and being elected as leaders in the majority of the parts of the old Hyderabad, to have safeguarded, improved, and protected every historical monument which the Muslim rulers had built and constructed for branding themselves as a party of the Muslims and Dalits. It was their responsibility to highlight the negligence and recklessness shown towards the heritage monuments in the old Hyderabad by the government of Telangana and demanded their refurbishments and funds for its protection.

Moreover, since the OSG hospital is a heritage structure. And we come to know from the verdict that was concurred in the case of the demolition of Errum Manzil, which articulates; “W.P. (PIL) Nos. 79 and 86 of 2019 this Court has already opined that while Regulation 13 of the Zoning Regulations, 1981 is a “local law”, the Act, 2017 is a “special law”. Therefore, while Regulation 13 of the Zoning Regulations, 1981 would continue to operate within Hyderabad Metropolitan Area, the Act, 2017 would cover the other areas of the State”. This is enough to say to the least that the government should forget this crippled thought of replacing the heritage structures with new ones.

When houses from the 12th century in the UK can be protected till this date, then why can’t a structure, that was built in the 20th century be protected and get transformed into a multi-specialty hospital with state-of-the-art facilities. The same thousands of crores from which the new structure is being promised to be built; can be spent on the present structure and can be utilized for future projects. When a 17th-century building like Uppark in 1989; was burned down to ashes in West Sussex, All it took was a decision to leave it at its fate or to bring it back to life; by upskilling professionals to learn archaic skills that were lost centuries back, expresses the ardour of people who are deeply attached to their roots and their zest for their culture and heritage.

A nation that can hardly give concern for their history and heritage and cannot preserve what their ancestors have given them in inheritance, how could the people of the future, expect something in return from them. Part of being called a cultural society is not only about celebrating festivals and holding on to your family values but preserving your monuments and buildings and every artifact which forms your history.


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