Amid fear of dismantling, yet another petition pleads for restoration of OGH

Hyderabad: Even as Osmania General Hospital’s (OGH) existence continues to be in question over concerns of its demolition by the state government, heritage activists from Hyderabad have yet again started another petition to ‘protect and preserve’ the nearly 100-year-old iconic site.

The Hyderabad Heritage Trust, which had earlier successfully petitioned for protecting the Errum Manzil palace in the Telangana High Court, called on the people of Hyderabad to Save Osmania General Hospital with an intention to protect the city’s cultural heritage.

“The Osmania General Hospital and the Telangana High Court flanking the Musi are an iconic part of Hyderabad’s rich legacy. As a society evolves socially and culturally it’s built heritage remains a previous marker of such transitions and serves as a powerful reminder and first hand experience of the richness of Hyderabad’s society,” the petition on mentions.

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Over 1,500 have signed the petition so far.

Last year too, a concerned citizens’ group in Hyderabad took out a petition to save Osmania General Hospital to protect the city’s heritage and health, which demanded three things.

  1. The government should restore and not demolish the old heritage building.
  2. The government must take urgent steps to ensure the building is not further damaged. Now that the building is sealed, the government should stop any entry into the building. 
  3. Involve the public – conduct public information and consultation  campaigns to enable communication with the community and concerned citizens.

The petition, which was widely shared then, had over 13,000 signatories.

History of OGH

Osmania General Hospital was completed in 1925 after Hyderabad was affected by the bubonic plague around 1911. The city administration then took care of the issue, following which the then Nizam Osman Ali Khan (1911-48) set up the City Improvement Board (CIB) in 1912 to improve Hyderabad’s infrastructure. It was designed by architect Vincent Esch, who also designed the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata.

The OGH’s old building (along with others like High Court and City College) is an excellent example of the Osmanian style or Indo Saracenic genre of architecture. It is an integral part of Hyderabad’s 20th-century riverscape and skyline. The CIB during the reign of Osman Ali Khan had transformed the medieval city into a modern metropolis, complete with infrastructures like the High Court, railway stations, schools and OGH.

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