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Going back in time through timeless snaps

J.S. Ifthekhar
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The stretch from Madina building to Charminar.
The stretch from Madina building to Charminar.

Life brings tears, smiles and memories. Tears dry, smiles fade but memories last forever. All it takes is one picture to bring back a thousand memories. The Hyderabad of yore where time stood still, where the dust of the royal past never settles. How about reliving an age gone by?

Now, you can take a step back in time and enjoy a fascinating past. Aks-e-Hyderabad (Images of Hyderabad), a photo album brought out by Urdu daily Siasat , brings alive the past in minute detail. A picture is worth a thousand words. The album, with 600-odd stunning images, narrate the tale of twin cities in a telling manner.

Though there is no dearth of books on Hyderabad, an album is perhaps the first of its kind. Flip through the folder, and you get the feeling of a kind of videotape playing in your mind.

Striking images of Golconda, the Pearl City, the agony of the 1908 floods, modes of transportation, coins and currency, culture and civilisation, marriage, music and dance, jewellery and costume and the Nizams and their family flash by. Just about everything of the erstwhile Hyderabad is contained in 319 pages of the photo album.

The album covers the period from 1880 to 1960. “We have 1,300 rare photographs in our collection. About 650 have been included in this album. The rest we plan to publish shortly,” says Zahid Ali Khan, editor, Siasat . The credit for collecting and compiling the photographs goes to noted writer Allama Aijaz Farruq.

And what’s more, the album solves many a jigsaw puzzle. For instance, why is Feelkhana called so? The word ‘feel’ means elephant in Arabic.

The album presents pictures of an elephant herd resting at a place, which is now a bustling bazaar. Similarly, one gets to see the long flight of steps leading to the famous Abid shop, after which the city’s commercial hub is named.

One can set eyes on many a structure which has bitten the dust now. For instance, the Basheerbagh palace and its decorated interiors, Saifabad palace (now home to the Secretariat), Ayena Khana, the mirror room of Salarjung and the Residency gate, which was pulled down in 1954.

Apart from the royalty, there are many pictures depicting the life of the common man. Several major roads, including the stretch from Madina building to Charminar, are a picture of serenity. No teeming traffic – just a few bullock carts, a tonga and some cyclists riding away merrily.

‘Aks-e-Hyderabad’, a photo album with 600-odd stunning images narrates the tale of twin cities in a telling manner

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