Experts say, the city needs to value its heritage structures so as keep its charming past alive and allow for a better future. Recollecting Hyderabad’s Musi floods, Afzal Sagar Tank and more, the talk held at Lamakaan recently evoked a certain connection with the audience
The ongoing Hyderabad Heritage Festival, which is being observed in the city, is raising many questions on Hyderabad’s own structures. With 33 state protected monuments (some of which are restricted) and 11 sites, many of which are ignored if not forgotten, experts nervously feel the need to preserve structures that exist and to connect with the city’s past.
A panel discussion titled ‘City of Hyderabad: Past Mistakes and Future Hopes’ was held at Lamakaan recently. Among the panelists were Anant Maringanti of HUL and Anuradha Reddy, a photographer-historian and the convener of INTACH, Hyderabad Chapter. Defining heritage, Anant Maringanti said, “It is a cultural resource to make the society find meaning in its past and to use the same as a resource for the future. When you cannot connect with the past, you cannot think of the future.”
Recalling Hyderabad of the yesteryears, Inam-ur-Rehman said, “Hyderabad has a character of its own, and without taking its monuments into consideration, it is like Mona Lisa without a smile.” The audience’s attention was turned to memories of the month of September being called ‘sitamgarh’ in reference to the great Musi floods that terrified all in the same month of 1908; and also to the Afzal Sagar Tank. Whereas there were rumours of the tank flooding the city in 1970, today there stands a slum in its place, with no water at all. “This is because the city does not have a decent housing policy,” Anant stated. He further explained that one sign that a city is losing its heritage is when the related documents go missing.
“Recognising the heritage of a city is to connect with the locals, interact with them and get privy to information that only the locals know because they live there,” encouraged Anant, adding, “Heritage work anywhere is like the work of a rag picker – to recognise the value of something, clean it up and put it back into circulation. There is a lot of honour in picking something that is considered worthless, and that’s the work we all need to do.”
A series of events have been organised by Hyderabad Trails in collaboration with INTACH and others. Upcoming walks include curated walks through the State Archeological Museum, Salar Jung Museum and a visit to Yousufain Dargah in Nampally, among some others.