A city that had it all in the year 1956

Photo: Osmania Hospital built in 191o

By: Mir Ayoob Ali Khan


The tug-of-war between Telangana and Seemandhra for Hyderabad is becoming nastier and hurting the sentiments and sensibilities of the people, particularly the native population of the capital city who has lived here for generations.

Seemandhra protagonists’ claim that Hyderabad was developed by them needs a reality check. And what development are they exactly talking about?

For those who may not know the history of Hyderabad, here are a few facts. Foremost is the fact that Hyderabad was the capital of two big dynasties of the Deccan—Qutub Shahis and Asaf Jahs—for nearly 400 years before it became the capital ofAP.

Built by Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah in 1591, Hyderabad remained the capital of the Qutub Shahi kingdom until Mughal emperor Aurangzeb overran it in 1687. He made the last sultan of Golconda kingdom, Abul Hasan Tanashah, his prisoner and left for Aurangabad. When the first Asaf Jah Mir Qamruddin Ali Khan declared his rule over the Deccan in 1724, he preferred to remain in Aurangabad. But the second Nizam, Mir Nizam Ali Khan shifted his rule to Hyderabad in 1763. That means that in a history of over 400 years, Hyderabad ceased to be a capital city for 76 years (from 1687 to 1763). Then began another round of an unbroken period where Hyderabad enjoyed the position of a premier city in the Deccan. In simple words, Hyderabad has been the capital city of Hyderabad state and AP from 1763. That also means it has been enjoying the current status for 250 years.

Now let us see how modern the Hyderabad city was between 1911 and 1948 which is the period of the last Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan.

There was Osmania University with its magnificent Arts College building. The Nizam spent between 7 to 11 per cent of the budget on education. The city had two major water reservoirs built by him over the Musi— the Osmansagar and the Himayatsagar. There were two other major water bodies, the Hussainsagar in the new city and Mir Alam Tank in the Old City serving the people.

There were three major hospitals in the city—Osmania, Victoria Zanana Hospital and Niloufer. While Osmania took care of the needs of the general public, the other two were exclusively for women and children, equipped with all facilities related with allopathic way of treatment. There was another medical care centre—Nizamia Dawakhana near Charminar—that offered the native Unani system of medicine. The city had its own air, rail and road transport systems that connected with the rest of India. There was an airport in Begumpet and three big railway stations—Nampally, Secunderabad and Kacheguda. The bus station was located at Gowliguda, the old hangers of which are still intact.

The judiciary had been made independent of the monarchy and the executive, and the Adalat-e-Aaliya or HC was built across the bank of the Musi.

The city had a town hall from where the legislative assembly of Hyderabad state and then Andhra Pradesh have been functioning. The legislative council is located in the Public Garden complex which was constructed by the Nizam to mark his silver jubilee year of reign.

Hyderabad had a City Improvement Board that was working on making the city better and expanding it according to its growth. Funds to the tune of Rs one cr was allotted for setting up industries and Sanathnagar was assigned as the hub of industrial activity. When the Nizam transferred power to the Indian Union in 1948, his government offices were functioning from Saifabad Palace, where today’s Secretariat is located. So, was Hyderabad not a developed city and the capital of a state in 1956 when it was broken into three regions—Hyderabad Karnataka, Marathwada and Telangana; and when Telangana was clubbed with Seemandhra after the latter was kept out of Madras?

After 1956, there was no significant development in the city until N Chandrababu Naidu showed his vision in the mid-90s. But didn’t he cash in on the historical, cultural and architectural background of the city and its potential to expand?

In fact, what was done to Hyderabad was diabolic. The complexion of the city changed, without any parallel advances being made in terms of infrastructure. People who came from outside became the decision-makers, changing the very identity of the city without caring for the historical foundation on which it was built.

Instead of making tall claims, the warring parties should ensure that no more bad blood is created. There are many who love Hyderabad. Any adverse remark on its past would hurt them and lead to acrimony and bitterness . [Courtesy: Times of India]

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