Telangana's heritage structures are crumbling, state govt indifferent

Nearly 168 heritage buildings in the state require immediate attention.
Telangana's heritage structures are crumbling, state govt indifferent
Telangana's heritage structures are crumbling, state govt indifferent
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The Telangana government, which came to power by appealing to the people's sentiments for a separate state and had promised to save its assets for future generations, has turned a blind eye to ancient heritage buildings across the state.

On one hand, the Telangana Chief Minister has been claiming that his government protects the state's culture and heritage. Earlier targeting Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu, he had said, “They do not understand our culture. It is for us to protect our heritage and culture.”

However, on the other hand, nearly 168 heritage buildings in Hyderabad and its outskirts are in a bad condition and require immediate repair, points out a heritage expert.  

“None of the heritage structures is maintained properly in the state,” says Anuradha Reddy, Convener of Intach, Hyderabad, and heritage expert.

“In the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) list of notified monuments, only seven are from Telangana. There are many potential heritage structures in Telangana, but no attempt has been made by state governments to include more structures from here in the list,” she explains.

The state protected heritage structures like Mecca Masjid, which attracts a huge number of tourists, also lack funds and staff.

“Almost 60% of the heritage structures in Telangana have been facing a shortage of staff and fund. The age old heritage buildings are the assets of the state and need to be preserved and protected,” she says.

There are more than 168 monuments across the state which have been denotified from the heritage list and are said to be in extremely poor condition.

“If the recognised and state protected structures are in bad condition, one can imagine the condition of the buildings which have been denotified from the list,” exclaims Anuradha.

Among the many such poorly maintained heritage strictures, the Akram Ali Deodhi, Mah Laqa Bai heritage tomb, Khusro Manzil, Khurshid Jah Devadi, Nampally and Aliabad Serais, require immediate work.

Mah Laqa Bai heritage tomb was earlier in a very poor state. It underwent a year-long restoration in 2011 which was funded by the US Ambassador for Cultural Preservation but now, it has been neglected by the government again.

She also adds that some of the heritage buildings in Telangana can collapse any time, which will be a loss for the state.

According to the expert, the government has failed to recognise the value of the heritage monuments.

“Once they recognise and start valuing the assets, the protection, preservation and maintenance process will also be followed by the government,” she notes.

Anuradha says that though the cultural traditions of Telangana, like folk art forms, dance and songs, have been showcased well by the government, it has been lax when it comes to restoring historical monuments.

“Telangana weavers have been producing gems with their talent and unique techniques, however, they are earning less than daily wage labourers. The state government should promote this culture as well. Pochampally saree, Gadwala cotton, Gongadi blankets, Warangal durries etc should be promoted more,” she observes.

Chowmahalla Palace of the Nizams of Hyderabad state, which was the official residence of the Nizams of Hyderabad, had remained the property of Barkat Ali Khan Mukarram Jah, heir of the Nizams.

“They are giving huge service to the government and contributing to the state economy but in return, they get no tax benefit. Naturally, it will be hard for them to maintain it. However, it is in a better state than government protected monuments,” Anuradha points out.

She also mentions that one of the best examples of Palladian architecture, Khursheed Jah Devdi in Hussaini Alam, has been highly ignored by government.

“We have done case studies and projects with archaeology students on how that structure can be maintained and repaired. It is in a bad stage now. It has been used for shooting purpose, and the wall colours have been changed according to the set. During our visits, we saw once that the wall colour was pink, and it was black another time. The windows and stairs are broken and there is debris inside the building,” she says.

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