Numaish is back amidst Omicron concerns

J.S. Ifthekhar

Hyderabad: Exhibitions are kind of ephemeral moments, often magical. In Hyderabad there is nothing to beat the All India Industrial Exhibition. It remains a source of eternal entertainment notwithstanding the presence of numerous malls and multiplexes.

The annual trade fair popularly known as ‘Numaish’ is the most looked forward to event in the New Year. Six hours of sheer pleasure for just Rs 30. Can you beat that? Impossible. One can’t imagine fun and frolic any cheaper.

No wonder few Hyderabadis give it a miss. They make it a point to be in the city, no matter where they are, to witness the grand expo. On Saturday evening when Governor, Tamilisai Soundararajan, declared open the 81st edition of Numaish many people flocked to the Exhibition Grounds although several stalls are still in the process of being set up. Coming after the gap of one year, the exhibition has fuelled both interest and concern amidst rising cases of Omicron variant.  In its long history the Numaish could not take place on only two occasions. First during 1947-48 on account of the disturbances leading to the merger of Hyderabad State in the Indian Union and the second last year in view of the COVID pandemic.

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The 46-day carnival has become a part of Hyderabad tradition. Started with just 50 stalls in 1938, the Numaish Masnuaat-e-Mulki (Native Industrial Products) has grown beyond the wildest dreams of its founder, Mir Osman Ali Khan, the Seventh Nizam. Over the years it has grown in content and coverage to assume an All India stature.

The first Numaish was inaugurated by the 7th Nizam at the Public Gardens coinciding with his birthday. It lasted for just 10 days. With continued royal patronage it was organised for a fortnight the next year. And as it gained popularity it was extended for a month. The exhibition was shifted to the present venue in 1946 by then Prime Minister, Sir Mirza Ismail.

There was no looking back after that. In 1948 it was christened All India Industrial Exhibition as it grew in scope and size. Then Governor General of India, C. Rajagopalachari, inaugurated it in its present avatar. Started off as a bazaar style fair, the open-to-sky exhibition has now developed into theme pavilions, well designed displays and carefully laid out relaxation areas.

In terms of recreation, relaxation, entertainment and shopping there is nothing like the Numaish. Just drop in and experience. But with the COVID scare, this time it is pleasure tinged with apprehensions. So do not forget to take necessary precautions.

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