The historic city of Hyderabad is known across the world for its people, culture, monuments, cuisine, languages and cosmopolitan nature. It witnessed several changes in its composition of population and culture during the 423 years of its existence. It has been an abode of love and peace and would remain so in future.
The Qutb Shahis constructed one of the most beautiful cities in the world during their rule. The Moghals ensured its proper maintenance and then the Asaf Jahis took Hyderabad beyond the walled-city by carrying out massive expansion. However, post-independence, the successive government mistook the expanded portion as the main city while ignoring the real Hyderabad. The real Hyderabad was branded as Old City and it was subjected to continuous discrimination.
After the Police Action of 1948, the Hyderabad State was merged with Indian Union and its identity was completely dissolved by dividing the erstwhile State into three parts while giving some districts to Karnataka and the Marathwada section to Maharashtra. From a State, the identity of Hyderabad was then confined to a city and then the real Hyderabad’s branding was tarnished by the successive governments and the political parties-in-power.
For the last 66 years, the residents of real Hyderabad were forced to live in miserable conditions. By calling it as “Old City”, the successive governments treated this part of the State as an antique which just needs preservance in its original form. Therefore, no serious efforts were ever made to add civic amenities and infrastructure to the ones that already existed 66 years ago. The city was originally famous for accommodating people from all regions, religions, caste and creed. However, the same city was treated as refugee camp by the governments where the inmates can expect nothing more than basic needs in an adhoc form.
The residents of real Hyderabad were then subjected to various forms of discrimination. “The Old City people” or “Puranay Shaher Kay Log” were branded as illiterates, backward or those who fight with others on trivial issues. No developmental projects were started in the Old City leading to a rise in unemployment. Insufficient and bad condition of roads consistently eroded the major economic activity of the city to less congested markets in new city.
With a majority of people living below poverty line, they could not withstand the fast pace of economic growth and development on the other side of Musi River. More than 90 per cent of people depended on unorganised sector to earn their livelihood. Over the last six decades, the economic graph of the Old City residents remained in red zone with no signs of change or improvement.
The richer became richest and the poor became poorer. This economic imbalance gave an advantage to the politicians who played the communal card to keep the poor residents busy fighting with each other.
Contrary to the maps showing big establishments in other parts of the city, the map of South Zone of Hyderabad Police Commissionerate is dotted with red and green signs marking presence of communally sensitive areas.
The mindless politics pushed the real Hyderabad backwards and created an impression that people of real Hyderabad were incompetent to survive or grow in the competitive world that existed beyond the Musi River. While the rest of the country witnessed economic boom post-1991 reforms, Hyderabad remained backward.
When the real estate boom took the entire country by storm in 2007, the Old City’s identity remained as the place too congested to be developed. The successive governments claimed that they have released hundreds of crores of rupees for the development, but those funds never reached the actual beneficiaries.
Several areas in the Old City still lack basic amenities like drinking water, proper roads, drainage system, street lights, playgrounds or parks. Neither the authorities nor the politicians are able to explain where all the development funds have gone. The successive governments confined themselves to a customary visit by the Chief Minister who announces a “Special Package” and then forgets its implementation. Even when some funds are released, they simply vanish and people continue to suffer due to lack of amenities. The government schools and hospitals are in bad shape with no signs of any improvement in near future.
While visitors cherish the Biryani, Haleem and Irani Chai of the Old City, none bother to check the conditions that people are forced to live in the lanes and by-lanes of real Hyderabad. Overflowing drainage water is a common sight in many areas and garbage dumps have become landmarks.
Many still struggle hard to get one pot of pure drinking water and driving on Old City roads is nothing short of a nightmare. Instead of speaking about these real issues, the political parties are still trying to keep the residents engaged in emotional politics. The provocative statements by these leaders give timely relief to the tired minds of people who struggle hard to earn their daily bread and butter.
The list of problems being faced by the people of Old City is too long. But the political parties seem not interested in addressing them. The voters in this part of the State have strong faith in democracy and have ensured nearly 80 per cent of the polling in almost all elections. This time, the residents should come out with their wish list and force the political parties to come out with a manifesto if they desire to seek their votes.
Darwaza’s and Khidki’s Of Hyderabad: Hyderabad is often referred to as the Walled City by many historians. Although the signs of walled city, its doors and gates are vanishing with the times, but their mention is of high historical importance.
The city wall was erected after the collapse of Qutub Shahi kingdom int he last days of the Subedarship of Mubraiz Khan, Imadul Mulk, during the reign of the Moghal King Farrukh Siyar. It was built from Chaderghat Gate to the Gate of Dabirpura, of uneven stone and mortar without turret-parapets.
The rest of the wall which is surrounded by turret parapets was done by Asaf Jah I. The circumference of the entire wall is 6 miles and the area is about four-and-a-half miles. It was extensively repaired by Bahadur Dil Khan Shujauddowlah, a governor of Hyderabad, during the reign of Asaf Jah II. On either sides of the river Musi the parapet wall and battlements were renovated by the Hyderabad Improvement Trust Board under the command of seventh Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan.
The city wall had 13 gates and 13 doors. The gates are: Chaderghat Darwaza, Delhi Darwaza, Afzal Darwaza, Champa Darwaza, Narva Darwaza, Dud Bowli Darwaza, Ghazi Banda or Fateh Darwaza, Aliabad Darwaza, Gowlipura Darwaza, Mir Jumla Darwaza, Yaqootpura Darwaza and Dabirpura Darwaza.
The doors or windows of Hyderabad are: Borah Khidki, Mir Jumla Khidki, Matha-ki-Khidki, Rangeli Khidki, Bhodla Khiki, Darulshifa Khidki, Kalala Khidki, Dhobi Khidki, Hasan Ali Khidki, Champa Khidki, Char Mahal Khidki, Doodbowli Khidi and Kahar Khidki.
These “khidkis” and “darwazas” of Hyderabad have lost their importance after the extinction of erstwhile State of Hyderabad. They lost prominence due to the rapid urbanisation of areas where they are located. However, if the authorities take some interest, then these symbols of historical importance can regain their lost prominence. #KhabarLive