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`Taj of the South' cries for pride

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HERITAGE TAKES A BEATING?: M.A. Faiz Khan, descendent of the Paigah nobles, examining the damaged pieces of `jalis' at the tombs in Hyderabad on Tuesday. PHOTO: P.V. Sivakumar
HERITAGE TAKES A BEATING?: M.A. Faiz Khan, descendent of the Paigah nobles, examining the damaged pieces of `jalis' at the tombs in Hyderabad on Tuesday. PHOTO: P.V. Sivakumar

K. Venkateshwarlu

HYDERABAD: When they were alive, the Paigah nobles were known not only for building some of the magnificent palaces in the city but for zealously taking charge of the defence and security of the Nizam's State.

Ironically long after their death they are being called to duty, this time round, to guard their tombs from vandals and encroachers. Three years after the departments of Archaeology and Tourism gave a facelift and marketed it as `Taj of the South,' Paigah tombs, the 18th century architectural marvel in marble, lime and mortar, is in a state of disrepair, crying for immediate attention from the State. Every inch of the tombs has some decoration or the other symbolising fusion of Mughal, Rajasthani, Persian and Greek styles of architecture.

Having a field day!

Ever since the only security guard at the tombs spread over two acres has been transferred a fortnight ago, vandals seem to be having a field day leaving nothing that comes their way. They made gaping holes in the intricately carved rosewood doors and tinkered with geometric designs of the lime and mortar `jalis' that cover the tombs.

Even the mausoleum of Sir Vicar-ul-Umra, then Prime Minister of the Nizam, has not been spared. "I do not know who is behind this organised crime. The marauders do not realise that they are attacking the heritage of Hyderabad. Though some of this destruction has been going on for some time now, the intensity has gone up in the last few days. The Department of Archaeology is doing nothing about it," laments M.A. Faiz Khan, descendent of the Paigahs.

Saddened by the way the department had been neglecting the monument, Mr. Khan says members of his family will not mind taking it back for its maintenance and providing security. If necessary, the family will resort to legal action, he warns.


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