Culture and heritage: Rediscovering a conspicuously indistinct Hyderabad

Photo exhibition focuses on centuries old archaeological sites among other things

Photo: Sana A Khoja/z Ali June 16, 2015
As many as 57 photos were selected for display at an exhibition, titled ‘Tale of Hyderabad’. Most of the pictures revolved around heritage sites, while some depicted the people of Hyderabad. PHOTOS: COURTESY SANA A KHOJA

HYDERABAD: Hyderabad, the burgeoning city with a unique culture, heritage and climate, is little known to its new inhabitants and those who live in the other urban centres of the country. Over two and a half centuries old archaeological sites, much older forts, early urbanites of the 18th century and the areas they lived in have particularly been obscured by the sands of time.

Luckily, a group of some young people seems to have sensed this injustice and embarked on a journey to rediscover what is, to describe with an oxymoron, 'conspicuously indistinct'. Their first effort culminated in the form of a photo exhibition, titled 'Tale of Hyderabad', on Sunday, which portrayed pictures of Hyderabad's culture, heritage, people and places.

The event came on the heels of the May 30 'Photo Walk', in which over a 100 young people were taken to various historic, cultural, sports and amusement facilities to capture these places in their cameras. The Pakistan-US Alumni Network and Lahooti, a Jamshoro-based musical band, organised both the activities to engage the youth with their city's heritage and culture. At the event, Syed Zeeshan Ahmed, the Photo Walk's guide, introduced the visitors to the city's brief history, titled 'From Nerunkot to Hyderabad'.

"They [the youth who participated in the walk and whose pictures were displayed in the exhibition] have given a new thought to the young generation," observed Attiya Imtiaz Ali, the project officer of Sindh Education Foundation's Integrated Education Learning Programme.

She was one of the more than 200 visitors, who also acted as the jury by filling out the evaluation sheets for the best photographs, at the exhibition. "I regret not being part of the walk and I complained to Sana why she didn't register me for the event."

According to Sana A Khoja, the network's president of the Hyderabad and Jamshoro chapter, the 57 photographs were selected from among 'tons of clicks'. They depicted the 18th century Pucca Qila and the tombs of the Kalhoro and Talpur rulers, heritage buildings in Heerabad, the Tower Market and the city's people.

"[Initially], I was of the view that we would gather hardly 50 participants," said Khoja. "But it got bigger and what made me feel better was the good number of females."

The first prize went to Khudeja Ansari, who had clicked a picture of three children clad in shalwar kameez, sporting prayer caps. Runner-up Fazila Amber's click showed a wooden steep stair climbing up to the upper storey of an old building.

The two pictures eclipsed the huge collection of heritage and archaeological sites. "If you will see individual collection of participants, you will find more pictures of streets and buildings than humans and stairs. Next time, we will define a specific criteria," said Khoja.

The exhibition concluded with a musical performance of folk songs by Fakir Zulfiqar.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 17th, 2015.


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