Starting with just 50 stalls, the Numaish has grown to assume an all-India stature

Ideas shape the course of history. That's what happened seven decades ago. Those who mooted the idea wouldn't have thought even in their wildest dreams that it will catch on like a wildfire.

It all started as ‘Numaish Masnuaat-e-Mulki' with just 50 stalls in Public Gardens. Over the years it has grown in its content and coverage to assume an all India stature. Today, it is the biggest and cheapest entertainer. No other event draws crowds like the Numaish.

The idea of exhibition actually germinated in the discussions of the Economic Committee of the Osmania Graduates Association way back in 1938. The idea was to raise funds for conducting economic survey of the State. The proposal was put before the then Prime Minister of Hyderabad, Sir Akber Hyderi, and he liked it.

The first Numaish was inaugurated by the 7 Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan at the Public Gardens coinciding with his birthday. It lasted for just 10 days. The Nizam continued to patronise the Numaish. And the following year it was organised for 15 days. As the Numaish gained popularity it was extended for a month. It was in 1946 that the exhibition was shifted to the present site by Sir Mirza Ismail, then Prime Minister.

New avatar

There was no looking back for the annual show. As it grew in scope and size, it was christened All India Industrial Exhibition in 1948. It was inaugurated in its new avatar by C. Rajagopalachari, then Governor General of India.

The Public Garden first and then the present venue was chosen as they are nearer to the Hyderabad railway station.

The Numaish organisers wanted to popularise the local industries and bring the manufacturers on a common platform. “Transporting the goods from the railway station at Nampally was easier those days,” says historian M. A. Qaiyum.

Interestingly, it is the only event in the world to be organised without a break for 46 days at a stretch. A host of dignitaries right from Babu Rajendera Prasd, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, Dr. Zakir Hussain, Giani Zail Singh to Dr. Abdul Kalam have visited the exhibition.

“Last year it attracted over 22 lakh visitors and resulted in trade worth over Rs. 100 crore,” says D. Gangadhar Rao, honorary secretary, Exhibition Society. The open-to-sky exhibition started off as a bazaar-style fair and now it has developed into theme pavilions, well-designed displays and carefully laid out relaxation areas. The ambience sure makes even a causal visitor to open up the purse strings. Visit and judge for yourself.