Dr AC Hankins Museum in the RBVRR Telangana State Police Academy houses many rare artefacts that date back to 1450 AD and represent centuries old culture and heritage.
Weapons, most of them, will have a story to tell us. But, each and every sword, dagger, spear and gun in this rare collection have not only stories, but reams of history as well behind them.
The Dr AC Hankins Museum in the RBVRR Telangana State Police Academy, which was set up 10 years ago, but still remains mostly unknown and has been almost out of bounds for the general public, is one treasure house of history, heritage and culture.
The museum, due to security concerns, has been open only to school and college students, that too with prior permission. Good news is that plans are afoot to open up the museum to the public, apart from a proposal to shift the museum to an entirely new building.
“There are many antique and interesting items on display here. Youngsters need to know about them, their origin and their importance. There is a plan to open up the museum for the common people, apart from shifting it to a new building,” says TSPA Director Santosh Mehra.
If you thought that the museum, being a police initiative, has only arms on display, the answer is a big no. Apart from antique swords, daggers, guns and ammunition, it also has on display rare communication equipment, forensic science equipment, bronze sculptures and artefacts and, above all, it also boasts of copies of the antique pictures of Rani Lakshmibai, more popular as the Rani of Jhansi, as well as the First Information Report (FIR) of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination case.
The Museum and Discovery Centre was established under the supervision of CN Gopinath Reddy, the then Director, AP Police Academy, in 2007. It was named after Hankins, the first Inspector General of Police in the Nizam State.
The antique collection at the museum ranges from artefacts of the 16th century to the 20th century and from countries including Iran, Turkey, England, France, China, the USA, Nepal and Egypt.
The Museum comprises five galleries – the Arms Gallery, Communication Gallery, Police Gallery, Forensic Science Gallery and the Computer Gallery.
From a wide collection of arrows that showcase artistry on steel and cane, apart from a strikingly beautiful quiver carved out from a single piece of wood, to a large variety of blades used on spears, daggers from Nepal, with blades in different shapes and hilts decorated with floral patterns and made from black metal, the collection is quite appealing.
The international character of the Arms gallery is a striking factor, with Arabic, Persian and Turkish swords vying for attention with Iranian swords. The ‘Shamsheer’ with its perfectly-curved Damascus blade, which was a favourite among the Mughals, and made by renowned swordsmith Asadullah of the 16th Century, is among the collection.
The Tegha sword, used by the Mughals, Marathas and Rajputs, the Nair sword of South Indian origin, Maratha swords, ceremonial swords decorated with ivory and also some which belonged to the Mughals and the Qutb Shahi rulers, with inscriptions that give a glimpse into their history are also worth a dekko.
From the Persian, Turkish, Egyptian and European swords, one can move on to examine the small cannons mounted on wooden carriages, showcasing 18th century craftsmanship. Bringing up the rest of the collection are a rare burning cord gun, a muzzle loading gun, breech loading guns, with the displays dating as back in history as 1450 AD to 1980 AD.
A sub-machine gun dated May 19, 1915, made by Thompson Sub-Machine Corporation, New York, USA; products from famous gun makers like Westley Richards & Co., London, Cog Swell & Harrison, London, Bevis & Sons, London, Mandard Arms Co., Washington, Winchester Repeating Arms, the USA, Linley & Co., London Armoury Co., Holland & Holland, etc., are also on display.
Moving on to the Communication Gallery, a very rare receiver used by the US Navy in 1942, Handheld Trans-receivers and Transmitters, a Webel Base repeater set – all of which have disappeared with the advent of modern technology have been stored here for the young generations to see.
The Forensic Science Gallery is for investigation story aficionados, with accessories and plaster of Paris moulds for examination and comparison of biological evidence, tracing evidence, impression-controlled substances, ballistic and other evidence in criminal investigation making up the display.
The Police Gallery, narrating the history of the police force from the Nizam’s era and beyond, and the Computer Gallery, which has artefacts ranging from a rare Card Punching machine to the first models of the computer too are worth a visit. #KhabarLive