EARLIEST ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATORY of India or South Asia: 80 Menhirs of 5000 BC found in Mudumal village in Telangana గురువారం, అక్టో 27 2016 


P Pavan, Mumbai Mirror | Oct 24, 2016

Hyderabad: In a significant discovery, historians and archaeologists have found what they describe as the only megalithic site in India, where a depiction of star constellation has been identified. The site was discovered in Mudumal village in Telangana and is estimated to date back to 5000 BC.

No other site in India has so many menhirs concentrated at one place, claim the historians and archaeologists who also believe that this is “undoubtedly the earliest astronomical observatory found in India or even south Asia”.

A cup-mark depiction of Ursa Major was noticed on a squarish stone planted vertically. About 30 cup-marks were arranged in a pattern similar to the appearance of Ursa Major in the sky. Not only the prominent seven stars, but also the peripheral groups of stars are depicted on the menhirs.

Mudumal contains about 80 big menhirs as tall as 12 to 14 feet, and about 2000 alignment stones of about 1-2 feet high. These menhirs, alignments and stone circles are spread out in about 80 acres of land. The central portion contains the maximum concentration of Menhirs, explains Dr. K Pulla Rao, who has been researching the site for over 11 years. A team of archaeologists from Korea will be visiting the site in December, according to the officials of the Telangana Archaeology Department.

State archaeology director Visalakshi inspected the site on Saturday and directed the officials to fence the area that has not been protected so far.

source: http://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/news/india/Megalith-from-5000-BC-found-in-Telangana/articleshow/55020149.cms

Hyderabad haleem గురువారం, జూలై 25 2013 

The Hyderabad haleem is now a Rs100-crore brand name

JBS Umanadh in Hyderabad, Deccan Herald, Thursday 25 July 2013

After the mouth-watering Hyderabadi Biryani, haleem, a meat stew laced with best quality herbs, is poised to become popular with the dish gaining acceptance among different sections of the society.

Haleem is cooked and served during the holy month of Ramzan. Haleem is made from pounded whole wheat and a choice of meat such as mutton or chicken. The thick paste is served fresh and hot with crispy fried onions and a sprinkle of lemon juice. It is the mainstay for the fasting (roza) Muslims during the Holy month. A couple of restaurants serve it throughout the year.

It is a tradition to break the daily fast at Iftar with a plateful of haleem. In Hyderabad, haleem is also served as a starter at Muslim weddings, celebrations and other special occasions. A few restaurants and Irani hotels also serve haleem throughout the year.

Generally the preparations begin during the day and end around dusk to coincide with the evening prayers. An expert keeps a close watch on the preparation as the dish needs continuous stirring. Haleem is cooked on a low flame of firewood for 12 hours in a brick and mud klin. One or two men mix it thoroughly with large wooden sticks throughout its preparation, until it gets to a sticky-smooth consistency. (మరింత…)

Remembering Maqbool Fida Hussain – Shashi Tharoor శనివారం, జూన్ 9 2012 

M.F. Husain
Artist, 95


I first met M.F. Husain in New York when he was already a legend — “India’s Picasso,” the barefoot reinventor of Indian traditions through his prolific and iconoclastic paintbrush. We collaborated on a book about my home state of Kerala — 22 of his fine paintings together with my prose — and formed a friendship that was to last nearly two decades, till his passing at a youthful 95.

In an astonishing 60,000 paintings, sketches and murals Husain created an artistic idiom that was instantly recognizable as his — the Cubist slashes, the splashes of vivid colour, the variety of sources of Indian inspiration, especially from Hindu mythology, to whose richness and diversity he brought worldwide appreciation. His output was so prodigious that some of it is uneven. His restless creativity and desire to experiment in other fields led him to become a filmmaker, without conspicuous success, as well as to dabble in poetry and photography, architecture and even furniture-making. This was imaginative energy bubbling over, a zest for life he carried to his deathbed. It was a measure of how youthful he was in his 90s — sprightly, without stick or hearing-aid, fond of fast cars and beautiful women — that his passing came as such a shock to his friends, who had begun to think of him as immortal. (మరింత…)

Hyderabad architecture ఆదివారం, ఏప్రి 24 2011 

Regal grandeur: A richly embellished archway at the Falaknuma Palace. High ceilings, use of lime and mortar in construction, plenty of cross ventilation and courtyard spaces, which typified the city’s architecture for centuries, are now almost extinct due to lack of adaptation.-Photo: Nagara Gopal

source: The Hindu April 23, 2011 http://www.hindu.com/pp/2011/04/23/stories/2011042350740600.htm

Vaikuntam’s rural Telangana మంగళవారం, ఏప్రి 5 2011 

Familiar figures
Gargi Gupta / Business Standard, April 02, 2011 New Delhi

Despite what the title of his latest exhibition claims, Thota Vaikuntam’s subject of choice remains images from Telangana.

In the increasingly city-centric world of Indian art, Thota Vaikuntam is one of the few painters who continues to be preoccupied with rural India. Though he has been living in the city of Hyderabad for many years now, the men and women Vaikuntam saw as a little boy growing up in his native Boorugupally village in rural Karimnagar continue to people his canvases.

He has painted them again and again over the past three decades, capturing them in all their vivid splendour — bright printed saris and colourful jewellery, their foreheads, palms and feet anointed with large tikas in red and yellow. These are not realistic portraits, but flat, caricatures that are delightful nonetheless. They have become Vaikuntam’s signature that assures him both loyal collectors and a healthy premium in the art market. And over the past few years, his stock has been rising with a large, untitled canvas from 2007 topping Rs 30 lakh at Saffronart’s winter auction in December 2010. (మరింత…)

Falaknuma Palace and Princess Esra శనివారం, నవం 13 2010 

The Princess diaries
Prabalika M. Borah, The Hindu, MetroPlus November 12, 2010

On the eve of the transformation of the historic Falaknuma Palace into a deluxe hotel, Princess Esra Birgin talks to Prabalika M. Borah on her efforts in restoring the Palace and her tryst with Hyderabad

Navigating through the Old City daytime traffic, we come to the right turn from the main road that leads to the Falaknuma Palace. The road seems to be laid for buggies and horses with trees on both sides. At the end of the road we reach Falaknuma Palace’s first security gate. Uniformed men talking over their walkie-talkies, let us in. After a short uphill drive we reach the Stables — the parking area. Here we go through a second security check and then take a comfortable uphill walk to reach the clock tower — the main entrance that leads one to the palace. The final security check is done here and then a golf cart transfers us to the palace’s main gates.

We walk up the stairs to the sound of the soothing piped piano music. At the right entrance is the Study. We take the carpeted steps. Marble statues on the railing and black and white photographs of the erstwhile Nizams, British residents and luminaries who visited the palace grace the walls.

At the end of the steps, Princess Esra Birgin greets us. “This looks straight out of James Cameron’s Titanic scene, where Jack waits for Rose near the clock,” we exclaim. “Indeed it does, but we will not sink,” laughs Princess Esra as she leads us to a study room through the Jade room. “This is all leather and wood, let’s talk in the Jade room,” she suggests. (మరింత…)

Yet another Hyderabad heritage in danger ఆదివారం, ఫిబ్ర 21 2010 

Yet another Hyd heritage in danger
Sudipta Sengupta, TNN, Feb 20, 2010

HYDERABAD: Illegal constructions have come to haunt Hyderabad’s heritage cover yet again and this time it is a 400-year-old mosque, popularly known as Jamia Masjid. Heritage conservationists are up in arms with the mosque committee building a concrete three-storied building adjacent to this masjid.

Located in a dusty bylane in the Gudimalkapur area of Karwan, Jamia Masjid was constructed during the Qutub Shahi period and is near to another heritage structure— the 200-year-old Jham Singh Balaji Venkateshwara Swamy temple located just across the road. Though the mosque is among the oldest monuments of the city, little has been done to preserve this piece of history.

Activists and locals of the area claim that developers of the building have no permission to carry out the construction, which also violates the Heritage Regulation Act. As per the act, no construction work can be carried out in close proximity of a heritage area. (మరింత…)

Deepening farm crisis, unabated farmer suicides శుక్రవారం, జన 22 2010 

Nearly 2 lakh farm suicides since 1997

P. Sainath, The Hindu, Jan 22, 2010

Over two-thirds in ‘suicide belt’ of five States, more than one-fifth in Maharashtra

MUMBAI: There were at least 16,196 farmers’ suicides in India in 2008, bringing the total since 1997 to 199,132, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

The share of the Big 5 States or ‘suicide belt’ in 2008 — Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh — remained very high at 10,797, or 66.6 per cent of the total farm suicides in the country. This was marginally higher than it was in 2007 (66.2 per cent). Maharashtra remains the worst State in the nation for farm suicides with a total of 3802. (This is just 40 short of the combined total of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.) The all-India total of 16,196 represents a fall of 436 from 2007. But the broad trends of the past decade reflect no significant change. The national average for farm suicides since 2003 stays at roughly one every 30 minutes.

Within the Big 5, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh recorded higher numbers. The increase of 604 in these three States somewhat offset the dip in Maharashtra (436) and Karnataka (398). But a fall in suicide numbers in other States (for example, a decline of 412 in Kerala and 343 in West Bengal) means that the Big 5 marginally increased their two-thirds share of total farm suicides in 2008. (మరింత…)

City that grew on love- Hyderabad శనివారం, జన 24 2009 

When love is lost in the city of bridges


G S Vasu, the Indian Express


Puraana Pool is not just a mediaeval physical structure of stones and plaster across river Musi. It bridged many a gulf. Between a man and a woman. A prince and a pauper. A future king of a rich dominion and a dancing girl. A Muslim and a Hindu. Capital city Golconda and a small hamlet Chichlam.


charmninar-the-new-indian-expressHowever, in the four centuries that followed, the Musi has seen at least seven more physical structures, in the course of time erasing most of, if not all, emotional bridges.


The present day Hyderabad saw its foundation stone laid, in 1591, by Muhammad Quli (1566–1612), the fifth ruler of Qutb dynasty. Though it was true that the then capital Golconda was unable to cater to the emerging modern requirements and building a new capital was much in order, the choice of place has a legend behind it.


Quli, as a young prince, fell in love with a dancing girl Bhagmati, who used to live in Chichlam, a small hamlet near present day Shah –Ali – Banda. (The Deccani coinage Chichlam might be a distorted form of Chenchulagudem, similar to Chanchalguda now). The young prince was so enamoured by the dancing girl that he used to cross the Musi, even when it was in full spate, to meet his beloved.


Quli’s father and the then king Ibrahim ordered building the first bridge on the Musi, Puraana Pool in 1578. However, Quli has not lost the charm of the place of his first love and wanted to make that place eternal by setting up his new capital in 1581. One of the finest Urdu poets in his own right Quli wrote a couplet to celebrate the new city:


Mera shahar logan soon mamoor kar,

Rakhya joon toon darya mein

min ya sami

(Fill up my city with people,

My God, just as you have filled the river with fish).


Of course, Hyderabad over the years was filled with people, as the founder wished. But the bridges started getting destroyed and the river became uninhabitable for fish. The city is now seen as a fertile ground for communal divide. Refer to any communal tension and violence in the country, the needle of suspicion, sometimes with evidence, but most of the times as a ‘manufacturing doubt’, points to this city. (మరింత…)

Hyderabad Heritage శుక్రవారం, నవం 21 2008 

Charting digital history


Personality – A historian turns to digital avenues to reach the audience


Mozzam Jahi market in 1930s by Mohammed khalidi
LEGATEE HISTORY Mohammed Khalidi clicked this image of Mozzam Jahi market in the 1930s


A few days back, there was a buzz in the Urdu Hall in Himayatnagar as a historian took the audience down a path of Hyderabad they thought they were vaguely familiar. A building here, a monument there, a bit of biographical information later were unveiled through a power point presentation.


Historian and a power point presentation and not a tome? But then Omar Khalidi is not your everyday historian willing to follow the beaten path. A Hyderabadi, who now works as a librarian at the MIT, he posits the contrarian view and succeeds in being heard. Years after he wrote Hyderabad After The Fall and then the controversial Khaki and Ethnic Violence in India, he is now exploring the digital avenues of spreading a word about history. “Printing books has become very expensive, distribution is also a problem and digital publishing is the future and is the path to follow. Physical libraries are passé,” he says.


In June this year he posted his collection of photographs on the MIT website showing the Hyderabadi architectural heritage (which formed a part of the PPP in Hyderabad).


Among the photographs and the text is one showing the Mozzam Jahi market frontage with wide open spaces, credited to Mohammed Khalidi. “That was clicked by my father. Many of the photographs are inherited but a number of people helped me put together the collection including Hans Winterberg, Anuradha Reddy and M. A. Nayeem,” says Omar.


Perhaps leading to a book or a research paper, Omar’s historical journey is not without heartaches that Hyderabadis have when they see history disappear in front of their eyes.


“It kills you when you see such disregard for heritage. It is a shame and awful shame. The Badshahi Ashur Khana ought to be an international heritage site and is now occupied by auto drivers, mechanics whose lame excuse for overrunning the place is that they have been living there for a long time. They should be provided alternative housing sites. We should keep our historical record for the future,” he says.




Source: The Hindu, Metro Plus Hyderabad, Tuesday November 11, 2008

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