Picnic in Golconda fort, shopping in Charminar- just some of the many memories that every child growing up in Hyderabad makes. With grandiose forts & majestic monuments, these historical places are just some of the few symbols of Hyderabad. But even with 428 years of history, why is Hyderabad's rich history often ignored in textbooks? Why is there apathy and little interest in protecting these structures and the culture around it?
Beyond Charminar is our ode to this city. History aficionado and pucca Hyderabadi at heart Yunus Lasania, aka “That Hyderabadi Boy” will bring-to-you incredible stories of Hyderabad history and it’s rich multi-cultural heritage.
Osmania Hospital – Another heritage structure down the demolition road
The state-run Osmania General Hospital has been serving people in Hyderabad for nearly a century, which today primarily includes providing health care to people from Telangana’s rural areas who cannot afford private hospitals. The Nizam-era structure, built during the reign of the last Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan, has however been shut since 22 July, and is yet another heritage structure that may not survive.
Shut since July after rain water flooded the OGH’s ground floor wards (this happened due to a choked sewer line below), the issue of OGH’s survival is yet another case in point wherein the government seems to be more interested in demolishing heritage structures, rather than preserving it.
Built in the Osmanian or Indo-sarcenic style of architecture in the first half the 20th century, it is one of Hyderabad’s most important buildings in terms of medical history. Ever since its closure, there have been calls to even demolish the hospital (it was never been closed in its history until now)
We talk to Dr. Iqbal Javed, who has not only worked at OGH, but has also seen it since he childhood, to raise some crucial points about the issue.
A poignant tale of caste struggle
The stories of Dalits in India and their role in different movements in India remains largely untold. In Telangana, the Communist Party of India-led peasant rebellion from 1946-51 was one of the social and political revolutions which changed the lives of those who were being oppressed by Jagirdars, i.e. the landlords. The region, then under the Nizam-led princely state of Hyderabad (which comprised Telangana, parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka), witnessed peasants rising in rebellion against the feudal landlords. Within that, Dalits were bound by 'vetti chakiri' (bonded slavery or labour) and were largely left out of the benefits. The fight was mainly between poor peasants and landlords. However, much before that, one Dalit man from Vangapalli in Karimnagar district decided that he would have a better future and left his village. Velukati Ramaswamy aka Velukati Baliah's decision to do so changed his life and his family's, who managed to get out of caste oppression by working for the railways in Hyderabad. In this episode host Yunus Lasania talks to Dalit writer YB Satyanarayana, in his book My Father Baliah details the hardships and humiliation that his people had suffered and how his father, who decided that he would educate his sons, managed to break free from caste barriers. It is one of the few books from Telangana which explains the Dalit angle in our society.
The Nizam-era banking scandal which shocked Hyderabad
We all know of the Nizams and their wealth, especially of Osman Ali Khan, the last Nizam. He appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 1937 when he was the richest man in the world. But much before that, in the first half of the 19th century, the years that passed between the third Nizam Sikander Jah and fifth Nizam Afzal-ud-Dowla were not all rosy. The kings were forced to borrow money from a bank named Palmer and Company. The bank not only lent the Nizams money, but the entire episode turned Hyderabad into a debt-ridden state. In this episode of Beyond Charminar, Serish Nanisetti talks with the host, Yunus Lasania about a major banking scandal in 1800s which shook Hyderabad. In this scandal, the Nizams were forced to borrow a lot of money to maintain British troops and turned Hyderabad into a debt-ridden state. Listen to the full episode to know more.
The Golconda or Qutb Shahi dynasty founded Hyderabad in 1591. Its history isn’t known to much of the Hyderabadis, let alone the smaller details of Qutb Shahi heritage scattered in and around Hyderabad. In an effort to document Golconda history, author and journalist Serish Nanisetti gives us an idea of how the fort and city grew, and also a basic understanding of the complex history of the Persian Qutb Shahi Empire, that lasted from 1518 to 1687. It has left an indelible imprint on Hyderabad's core culture.
A house frozen in time
Imagine living in a house where the furniture hasn't changed for over 100 years. That's the kind of heritage Zubair Noor-ul-Haq lives with today. He’s one among the very few Hyderabadis who have managed to preserve the past in the form of their homes and priced possessions, when most of Hyderabad's heritage is slowly being pushed aside. Mostly, those grow up in Hyderbad today don't really know how the city looked decades ago, thanks to rapid urbanisation. In this episode, Yunus explores the rich heritage he comes with, not just in the form of possessions, also through his memories.
The tale of Irani chai and its origin in Hyderabad
Recently, Hyderabad was included in the UNESCO’s culinary heritage list, as the Creative City of Gastronomy.
Hyderabadi’s love their daily cup Irani chai and Osmania biscuit. Hyderabad's oldest Irani hotel, Grand hotel which started in 1935 is still running strong. However, most people are not aware of the Iranian roots, and how the early owners of these cafes or restaurants migrated from Iran. In this episode of Beyond Charminar, Mr. Mohammed Farookh Jaleel Rooz, the owner of Grand Hotel discusses with Yunus, how Irani chai, Hyderabadi biryani and other lesser known Hyderabadi delicacies have evolved.