Hyderabad Design Week Life & Style

Design and the city

Numaish Masnuaat-e-Mulki or Numaish was started in 1938   | Photo Credit: K V S Giri

At the mention of Hyderabad and design, the first thought is that of the cityscape and architecture — its changes in 400 years to emerge as a blend of old and new, a meeting point of Nizami influences and the contemporary IT hub.

The Hyderabad Urban Lab (HUL) has taken an ethnographic approach. For the Hyderabad Design Week (October 9 to 13) that’s powered by the theme ‘Humanising Design’, the HUL is curating a display of the history of design innovation in the city in the last 100 years, titled ‘The Hyderabad Story of Industrial Design’.

The curation presents Hyderabad through its pioneering individuals, technology, urban hubs, and objects. Anant Maringanti, founder director of HUL, affirms that this curation is not to be looked at as an academic research project, but as a collection of interesting stories of the city. At the research stage, each of the four categories threw up exhaustive lists. The HUL selected stories that they hope will make for an engaging narrative.

Quintessentially Hyderabad
  • 1920: Misak Pens. The ebonite bodied fountain pens were manufactured by Md. Kasim.
  • 1942: Hyderabad Allwyn Limited was established as Allwyn Metal Works, as a joint venture between Industrial Development Trust of the Nizam’s Hyderabad Government and M/s Alladin and Company. It manufactured Pushpak scooters, double decker buses, and refrigerators. The company also made ballot boxes for the 1952 elections. Allwyn Refrigerators and watches held sway in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • 1930-40: The vestiges of the once-flourishing DBR Mills are visible while driving through Lower Tank Bund. The Dewan Bahadur Ramgopal (DBR) mills were among the leading textile manufacturers in Hyderabad.
  • 1938: Numaish Masnuaat-e-Mulki or Numaish was started by a group of graduates of Osmania University to showcase local products. The first Numaish featured 100 stalls and was held at the Public Gardens, before it was shifted to its current location, Exhibition Grounds near Nampally Railway Station.
  • 1967: Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) was established by A S Rao. ECIL is credited with producing the first indigenous digital computers, TDC 312 and TDC 316 and EC Television sets.

If you’ve been in Hyderabad for a while, it’s likely that you have heard of Zinda Tilismath. The origin of Deccan’s own all-purpose pain balm dates back to 1920, when it began to be manufactured by the family-owned Kharkhana Zinda Tilismath Factory in Amberpet, headed by late Md. Moizuddin Farooqui. The Urdu name translates to ‘living magic’. “Farooqui was multifaceted — a hunter, an interpreter, and good at communication and marketing,” says Anant, who shares how Farooqui would hand over kites painted with the Zinda Tilismath logo to children, asking them to fly the kites high and let them go. This was a novel way to market the product before print ad campaigns become popular.

HUL’s showcase, through storyboards, posters, models, and a film that will play in a loop on a TV screen at the stall, will present several such stories.

Did you know that the Urdu composing system widely used by publishers for more than two decades, was developed by Ashhar Farhan? Developing this software and making it compatible to printing systems in India in the pre-liberalisation era wasn’t a mean feat.

Speaking of industries and technology, Anant recalls how a few industries were scattered along the city in the 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1915-20, the Deccan Button Factory thrived by catering to the Nizams and uniformed personnel. Textiles and printing grew with the Nizam patronage from the 1920s, before families stepped into production — the now defunct DBR Mills is an example.

Design and the city

The Telugu film industry’s big shift from erstwhile Madras to Hyderabad happened in the 80s, but Hyderabad already boasted of the Sri Sarathi Studios, Annapurna Studios and Ramakrishna Studios. There was a time when painting posters and banners for films and political parties was an industry by itself.

Design and the city

Some of Hyderabad’s neighbourhoods are worthy of a closer study. For instance, Ameerpet’s emergence as the software learning hub and Gujarati galli where the electronics industry thrived.

Anant is hopeful that their presentation of different stories of opportunities, will have an afterlife by triggering conversations. He also points out how the cycle has once again moved towards people-driven enterprises, what we call start-ups.

(‘The Hyderabad Story of Industrial Design’ will be exhibited on October 11 and 12 at Hyderabad International Convention Centre. Hyderabad Design Week will be held from October 9 to 13 in multiple venues. For details, looks up hyderabaddesignweek.com)

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2021 10:45:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/hyderabad-design-week-hyderabad-urban-lab-will-present-stories-that-encapsulate-the-citys-design-innovation-in-100-years/article29604048.ece

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