Published: 31st January 2020
This Hyderabad student is documenting the city's culture like never before. This is how
Sibghat says that once upon a time, Golconda became so synonymous with wealth that cities in North America and Brazil were named after Golconda in the hope of finding diamonds there
Remember when a politician stirred up a controversy when he said that Hyderabad will be renamed Bhagyanagar if the party is elected? But did you know that as per documents and coins, the name was actually Baghnagar (meaning City of Gardens) and not Bhagyanagar. There are many who try to distort historical facts to suit their own needs. The Deccan Archive, a website and now an Instagram page as well, is a humble attempt by a few students from Hyderabad to make people aware of authentic historical facts pertaining to Hyderabad.
A picture from when the team visited Khilla Ghanpur in Wanaparthy district | (Pic: The Deccan Archive)
Sibghat Khan, who started this initiative, informs us that his grandfather served in World War II and he constantly heard stories regarding Operation Polo (police action to annex Hyderabad in 1948) and everything regarding Hyderabad's history. This student of Architecture from Aurora's Design Institute, Hyderabad, has always been interested in history. "There are a lot of missing pieces from our city's narrative history and we want to fill those in," says the 19-year-old. Not just this, the problem also is that a few facts or ideas have been romanticised by authors, poets and movies. He wants to put those into perspective too.
"There is a lot about Hyderabad that is worth taking pride in, but citizens are not aware," says Sibghat Khan, Founder, The Deccan Archive
While Sibghat launched the website (which is under construction now) in November 2017, he started the Instagram page just two months ago and brought on-board eight friends and fellow history enthusiasts to reach out to a wider audience. Their new duty is to visit iconic places that have been destroyed or are close to being destroyed due to encroachment and document them. "If you pull up the map of Hyderabad from the 19th century and compare it to the maps on Google Street View, you will be shocked to see what impact encroachment has had," states the youngster.
Sibghat Khan | (Pic: The Deccan Archive)
The historical treasure troves from where they harness facts and trivia about the city are Salar Jung Museum Library, State Central Library at Afzal Gunj and the digital archives on the internet. They have documentaries in store, like one on Numaish (the 46-day-long annual exhibition being held in Hyderabad since 1938) for their upgraded website and intend to launch a book this year as well.
Example of encroachment in Hyderabad:
Goshamahal Palace: It used to be a huge palace complex but now, it has been reduced to one building acquired by a private entity
Golconda Fort: If you have been to the fort lately, looking at the traffic and other encroachments, you will know that it's choking. It used to be vast at one point