Rubble and high growth of weeds and bushes indicate lack of maintenance for Monsieur Raymond’s tomb

The towering obelisk on the Asmangadh hill has been an epitome of communal harmony in a very unique way. Even after 200-odd years of its construction, local Muslims remember to pay homage at the tombstone every Id-ul-Fitr. Hindus do it seven days after the festival by lighting camphor and offering flowers. Irony is that the tomb holds the remains of a person who belonged to neither of the two religions!

Monsieur Raymond, referred to fondly as Moosa Ram by Hindus and Moosa Rahim by Muslims, was in fact a Christian, and a French general in Nizam’s military. He was the person behind the setting up of Gunfoundry, the factory where cannon balls were produced during Nizam’s time. Needless to say, the area Moosarambagh derived its name from the general’s popularity among the local people.

No signboards

However, all that remained the glory of the bygone era, and his tomb, a site of archaeological significance, lies in utter neglect now. Visitors face difficulty in even locating the seven-acre tomb complex, as no signboard can be found on the Moosarambagh main road, to direct the tourists. The only signpost, scraped and fading, could be found at the start of the lane which ends at the rusted iron gate leading into the complex.

“There were two signboards earlier, one of them on the main road. But GHMC removed both during its road widening drive, and they have not been reinstalled,” says S. Narender, the security guard.

Once inside the complex, visitors would be greeted to rubble, and high growth of weeds and bushes, indicating lack of maintenance. Narender goes inside a small room, probably meant to be information counter, and carries out a sheet-metal plaque, where the story of Monsieur Raymond is inscribed. That is the mode adapted by the Archaeology Department for dissemination of tourist information!

The pavilion where devotees offer their homage was reconstructed ten years ago, after a portion collapsed due to heavy rain in 2001. Since its restoration, the pavilion has not been repainted even once. Plants bordering the complex have dried up, and dry leaves lay scattered everywhere around.

While the general’s pet dog and horse were buried in the same place, and mentioned in the literature about the location, the dog’s grave lies hidden behind undergrowth. Security is lax, as the solar fencing erected over the compound wall remains dysfunctional, and needs repairs.

“Every night, drunkards and anti-social elements climb over the walls from the other side, and create a ruckus in the tomb complex. Our sleep gets disturbed due to this,” a resident of the area informed.

“There were two signboards earlier, one of them on the main road. But GHMC removed both during its road widening drive, and they have not been reinstalled,”

S. NARENDER,

security guard