History under threat

The building at Begum Bazaar in which former President of India, Zakir Hussain, was born.

The building at Begum Bazaar in which former President of India, Zakir Hussain, was born.

It is a run down structure which will not even command a second look. There is nothing special about it to invite attention. But your eyebrows will sure go up when told who lived here a century and more ago.

Yes, the busier-than-a-beehive Begum Bazaar is home to India's third President, Dr. Zakir Hussain. But few know about it. Not even the diehard Hyderabadis are aware that the first elected Muslim president was born in this ramshackle building on February 8, 1897.

It is an ancient corner building abutting Kolsawadi. All around are wholesale kirana stores which are crowded throughout the day. Though modern buildings have come up all around, still this edifice retains the old world charm. The façade, many agree, has not changed over the years. The first floor balcony is covered with wooden cross-jalli work. In the centre is a small arch type decoration supported by wooden posts. The terrace again is decorated with fine lattice work. On the ground are shops trading in wheat, flour and kirana items.

“The place is not fit to live in. Its condition is very bad”, says Ram Vallab, a dry fruit merchant who owns this building.

Popularly known as Mamaji, he purchased this building five years ago from one Zubeda Khatoon. She was believed to have owned the building for four decades. Whatever, residents and traders in Begum Bazar are aware of the celebrity who once lived here.

The deodi of Nawab Bhahdur Yar Jung, a Hyderabadi noble and founder of MIM, is also situated in this lane.

Though Dr. Zakir Hussain was born here, he lived in this building for just eight years. Thereafter, his father Fida Hussain moved to UP from where he had migrated.

Dr. Hussain had his schooling at Etawah and then at Aligarh Muslim University. His brief Hyderabadi link is no secret but what is not well known is the house where he was born. In its present condition the building has no value and so Mamaji plans to demolish it and build a complex.

Conservationists want it to be protected but unfortunately it is not a listed heritage structure. If steps are not taken this piece of history will be lost forever.

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Printable version | Oct 1, 2022 5:29:10 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/history-under-threat/article2524995.ece