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Updated: April 15, 2013 23:54 IST

Qutub Shahi Tombs hit a bad patch

S. Sandeep Kumar
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Compound wall of the royal cemetery tampered with to install iron gate

Everything happens right under its nose and yet the Department of Archaeology and Museums seems to be oblivious of the violations at different historical structures in the capital. After Charminar, the latest to fall prey to poor maintenance and sheer apathy of the department is Qutub Shahi Tombs.

What strikes one on entering this royal cemetery is the tampering of the compound wall near the booking counter. A full-size iron gate has been installed by removing a portion of the wall to create a passage to the Masjid-e-Abdulla Qutub Shahi from the neighbouring Gulshan Colony. It’s been over a year and the Archaeology Department could not do anything about restoring the wall.

Interestingly, it was Secunderabad Member of Parliament, M. Anjan Kumar Yadav, who facilitated creation of the passage for Gulshan Colony residents, by reportedly writing to the department in this regard.

As per records, there is only one entry and exit for the tombs. But a few people from Gulshan Colony wanted to have access to Masjid-e-Abdulla Qutub Shahi and a portion of the wall was tampered to install a gate, says a senior official of Archaeology Department.

The mosque is not far from the main gate. Yet, the residents wanted to have another access claiming that the aged and children were finding it difficult to walk around from the main gate and reach the masjid.

“We did our best to reconstruct the wall. But local leaders and politicians objected and we had to heed to their demands,” concedes the official.

No security measures

The department has not taken any security measures to prevent damage to the property or the safety of visitors here. Everyday, over 400 people, including foreigners, visit the tombs and on Sundays and holidays, the number goes up to 600 and 700. Still the department does not feel the need for installing metal detectors, hand-held detectors, baggage scanners and most importantly, surveillance cameras. It is only after instructions from the West Zone police in the wake of recent twin blasts at Dilsukhnagar that the department is now planning to install metal detectors and surveillance cameras. “If surveillance cameras are installed, it would help authorities to catch people who deface the monuments by scribbling their names, apart from ensuring the safety of visitors,” says Ranbir Singh, a visitor.

“We are preparing a budget estimate and very shortly sufficient security measures would be installed,” said the official.

More In: Hyderabad

That Hyderabad's Islamic history is in a state of disrepair is of no wonder considering the long suffering it has been subjected to by way of apathy and neglect by the agencies entrusted with its maintenance, and in equal measure the shocking vandalism perpetrated by most Hyderabadis who seem to be soundly lacking both in terms of appreciating art and pride in one's history.

I take this opportunity to bring to your attention the continuing vandalism of the big cannon on the western walls of the Golconda Fort. This grand weapon is located atop a bastion (please check Latitude: 17°23'22.99"N, Longitude: 78°23'41.38"E), but as this location is not very well-known, very few people, even Hyderabadis themselves, get to see this fabulous piece of artillery. This cannon is perhaps one of the biggest in south India and is a fine specimen of the art and science of armoury and foundry-work of a bygone age. However, owing to its somewhat remote location within the Golconda Fort area, which is mostly unguarded, it has provided an opportunity for vandals to cut away large pieces of metal from one of the trunnions. I have seen this cannon several times over the years and was recently shocked to see that irreparable damage had been done to this piece of our history and public treasure.

This is a shame. And more sooner than later, some of the lesser-known and uncelebrated icons of Hyderabad's glorious past will either be damaged beyond repair or simply vanish without a trace.

from:  Kay Nathan
Posted on: Apr 16, 2013 at 20:10 IST
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