Though uncertainty looms over the annual All India Industrial Exhibition, popularly known as Numaish, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event organisers have sold most of the stall slots to traders. Numaish, which translates to 'spectacle' in Urdu, is a 45-day event held in Hyderabad and begins from January 1.
At the exhibition, traders of various kinds sell their goods. The event, which has historical significance, is almost a ritual for Hyderabad residents and attracts large crowds. While for the past 80 years, the trade fair has been held without any major hindrance, this year the organisers are unsure if the event will be allowed, owing to the pandemic.
“In 80 years of the annual affair, only twice the event was cancelled, and that was during the 1940s,” recalled Prabha Shankar, secretary, Numaish.
The event could not be conducted in 1947 and 1948 as the state was volatile during the Independence period.
In view of the prevailing health crisis, the organisers this year issued applications to book the slots. The bookings began on October 10 and will conclude on November 15. According to the organisers, so far they have received 350 applications. Usually, the exhibition held in Nampally has around 1,400 stalls.
“We have sought permission from the government of Telangana. If we get their approval, we will hold the event or else refund the entrepreneurs,” Prabha Shankar added.
Numaish is the brainchild of the Osmania Graduates Association, which proposed a plan to promote local artisans and their products through the trade fair. The idea was approved by then Prime Minister of Hyderabad state, Sir Akbar Hydari. The first Numaish was held in 1938 in Public Gardens under the 7th Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan, said Prabha Shankar.
“After five years, the response for the exhibition was extraordinary, so the Nizam offered a lease of 50 years and provided a land of 30 acres for the exhibition,” he said. Initially the event was held for just 10 days; it was gradually extended for 45-days. Besides the stalls which customers visit to purchase sarees, bedsheets, carpets etc., the event offers great entertainment.
Last year, a major fire broke out at the exhibition, burning over 200 stalls to the ground.