Even though Hyderabad is the capital of Telangana and seat of power of TRS, chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao appears to have harbored some discontent for the city. His strange plans to redesign the city to give entirely a new look bears testimony to this argument. If implemented, the Hyderabad of his dreams would cut city’s umbellical card with old history and recent history.
He is planning to transform Telangaa into a bangaru Telangana. It is natural that it should have its own capital, at least a old capital with new look.
His plans to rejig Hyderabad ( If possible replace the ‘old’ Charminar, in the words of his hilarious deputy CM Mahmood Ali) is not without reason. Even though he conquered Telangana, his Juggernaut was stalled at the outskirts of city. He is scared of he city’s demography. An emperor that brought many a warlord of Telangana to their knees had to be careful enough not to invite the wrath a small party called MIM, ensconced in the dingy Old City of Hyderabad. For his stature and his organizational skills, he should have embraced the GHMC elections with open hands by this time. But he could not. This is where lies his strong dislike for the cultural profile of present Hyderabad city.
The Hyderabad of 2015 has two dominant and embarrassing parts- MIM dominated old city and the Andhra dominated rim of assembly constituencies. MIM’s pincer like grip over old city compels any other party to work out a tie up with it to form the governing council in Hyderabad. Similarly and irritatingly also, Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu claims that it was he who built the Hitech City, equivalent of Charminar in modern terms.
Naidu is encouraged by the fact that his party has swept the 2014 Assembly elections in modern Hyderabad leaving only 2 to the champion of Telangana. What is it their for KCR to claim as his own except singing paeans to Nizam’s past with a Muslim-voter appeasing tone. This uncomfortable relationship with Hyderabad is forcing KCR to attempt to affix his signature on some portions of glorious city so that he could lay claim that he too contributed to the grory of the city. His uneasy position in Hyderabad, which is also a common capital for Andhra and Telangana, is the source of strange plans of grand demolitions which includes the Osmania General Hospital.
CM KCR is correct in way. This is what exactly conquerors,colonial or desi, do after subjugating kingdoms. In democracy, after winning elections, leaders behave like conquerors and attempt to erect a symbolism that represent the values, ideologies and politics they believe in. This demolition drive is two kinds. one, it may be a positive drive that reflects creativity and may serve an expression of common interests and goals of solidarity the people achieved during their fight for liberation. This happened in African continent. After the end of colonial regimes, Africans changed all names the white rulers had given to their towns, streets, hills, rivers, seas etc and revived their connection to the past. This is how Rhodesia became Zimbabwe and capital Salisbury-Harare. Two, it may also become a political tool of manipulation, even destruction, of social assets and cultural heritage that may never be regained. I wonder if Hyderabad is falling in the second category.
See the public outcry the idea to demolish Osmania General Hospital generated. Except the Telangana intellectuals who are cautious to oppose the TS decisions, everybody associated with City is coming out to save the culturally significant Hospital. Meetings are held by lovers of the city to oppose the government move.
Telugu university auditorium, LaMakaan, Sundarayya Vignana Kendram have seen the depth, breadth and width of the disapproval for the government’s decision to demolish and to have a new concrete jungle. All political parties have raised their voice against the move that is set to erase the history. Delegations have visited the hospital, that came into existence in 1921, to see if such a demolition was really warranted.
The general impression among the people is that there is no need to demolish the OGH. Compared to the oldest and functioning hospitals across the world, OGH is relatively younger and not weighed down by the age. A quick google search would give the list of the oldest hospitals that are still serving the patients. Partisan Politics should not be allowed to run amuck if one wants Hyderabad to remain melting pot of cultures.