By Syed Qamar Hasan
Hyderabad: All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief and Hyderabad MP Assaduddin Owaisi has taken a surprise U-turn from the usual revanchist rants he indulges in about the glory and splendor of Hyderabad city and its Asif Jahi heritage and has asked the state chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao to do whatever he wants with the historic and iconic building of the Osmania General Hospital (OGH) but give the people of Hyderabad a new hospital building.
The OGH is considered one of the finest structural specimens of the Asif Jahi architecture dating back to 1925 and is greatly cherished by heritage buffs, Hyderabadis, and is protected by a High Court ruling. Years of neglect due to carelessness, lethargy, and lack of awareness about the importance of preserving heritage sites resulted in the building getting decrypted and shabby. However, there seems to be a deliberate desire and intent to completely ignore the caretaking of selected heritage buildings in the city in the last four or five years. OGH is one such structure that was abandoned by intent for ulterior motives to the vagaries of time and got ravished badly by rains and the recent floods. Following which a section of the hospital was closed to patients and a strong call for demolishing the building to be replaced with a modern structure promising better facilities.
However, the demand for demolishing could not get traction due to state high court orders protecting the structure and its classification as Grade-11 B notified building and the heritage-friendly scribes, media, and campaigns by the Indian National Trust for Art and Heritage (INTACH) against demolition.
Owaisi is reported to have asked KCR to announce the construction of a new building. It seems that he just want new building with advanced facilities and heritage is not his concern.
According to media reports, Owaisi demanded the new building at a press conference on Monday, June 21 after visiting the OGH with an entourage of his party MLA’s MLC’s and Corporators.
The timing of the visit, the comments have shocked and offended heritage buffs and officials of the INTACH and other NGOs involved in related works.
Owaisi’s unsavoury comments and remarks he made in a cavalier manner are now very much trending on social media, and clips accusing Owaisi of pandering for KCR are in circulation.
Was Assad Bhai (as KCR often calls him) bating for KCR? Is KCR trying to circumvent the high court orders and the general apathy and dislike of the sober and educated Hyderabadis to do away with OGH and playing political parkour using Owaisi’s constituents to get to his end game? There are questions as to why this rush and clamor to demolish old heritage structures and build new ones. And why Owaisi has jumped in the fray?