Osmania General Hospital: Protect the building at all costs

Ghiasuddin Akbar

By Ghiasuddin Akbar

Hyderabad: The Osmania general hospital was constructed during the reign of the seventh Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan. It was perhaps the largest hospital in the country then with a thousand bed facility.

The hospital was deigned by the famous Architect Vincent Jerome Esch at a cost of twenty one lakhs,twenty two thousand and five hundred rupees, in 1925 . Just imagine what this building would cost if it is constructed now in the present times?

Hyderabad Deccan was merged into the Indian Union and became part reorganization of states in the year 1956. Nizam the seventh, after the police action in 1948, was respected and given the status of Raj parmukh. Medical facility for the poor was borne by the then government, some wards were reserved as paying wards for those who could afford. The hospital could boast of the best medical team of Doctors. Hygienic food and fruits were provided for the inpatients free of cost, unimaginable in these times by any government. The superintendent of the hospital was strict in keeping the hospital clean, free of pollution.

Water painting of Osmania General Hospital. The painting was signed by hospital’s architect Vincent J. Esch. It was auctioned off by Christie’s in London.
A portion of the Osmania General Hospital building. (Photo: Yunus Y. Lasania)
The main or old building of the age old Osmania General hospital. By: Yunus Y. Lasania
The main or old building of the age old Osmania General hospital. By: Yunus Y. Lasania
A of the Osmania General Hospital’s heritage

The osmania general hospital was declared as the “ALL INDIA INSTITUTE OF MEDICAL SCIENCES” but political lethargy and indifference kept the file pending and some vested interests saw to it that this dream does not materialize . It is very unfortunate that HMDA awarded this jewel of Hyderabad grade 2 status .

The hospital had beds for a thousand people. Even now ,the patients and the very ill come to osmania hospital for treatment. The hospital built in 1925 was the pride of Hyderabad just like the iconic Charminar. The hospital planned parks in front of the hospital on the river Musi side with well laid out gardens, fresh air and good food was the bottom line for general health and recovery .

Some time back, activists had protested to keep the heritage building intact. The CM and concerned authorities are requested not to demolish this jewel of Hyderabad. As a perfect balance, on one bank of the river Musi, the Hyderabad High Court was built and on the other bank the Osmania Hospital.

The hospital has ample open grounds on both sides where in another hospital can be constructed. The walls of the old heritage building are at least four feet wide and can stand without structural defects for another fifty years . Unfortunately some vested elements are hell bent upon it’s demolition, they have been braying to pull it down at all costs.

When we had held an exhibition for heritage structures in Salarjung Museum, the then deputy Chief Minister, now who has become the Home minister had assured us that the chief minister KCR is keen in protecting heritage monuments and buildings ,especially the Osmania General Hospital . We the citizens of Hyderabad and the Telangana state request the Chief Minister not to demolish the present Hyderabadi Iconic hospital building. The ample grounds within the hospital should be utilized for expansion and extension of the new blocks.

Ghiasuddin Akbar’s email id is najsiddiqui51@gmail.com