A symphony in stone

Sajjad Shahid, the co-convener of INTACH-Hyd, on the construction of the magnificent OU Arts College building

author_img Vivek Bhoomi Published :  25th September 2021 04:12 PM   |   Published :   |  25th September 2021 04:12 PM
Arts College Of Osmania University

Arts College Of Osmania University

‘A symphony in stone’ is what the Arts College of Osmania University is known as. It is not just a creation of Belgian architect Ernst Jasper, who was employed by the seventh Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur, but a manifestation of the different styles of architecture, which were influenced by temples and Islamic styles.

Sajjad Shahid, the co-convener of INTACH, Hyderabad chapter, in his lecture on the ‘History and Vision of Arts College’ attended by the fresh batch of students on the OU campus on Thursday, gave a detailed account of events in history, which transpired into the construction of such a magnificent structure.

He talked about how the Nizam had sent out his State engineers Zain Yar Jung and Syed Ali Reza to find the best architect to build the Arts College and how they had found Jasper to do the job. Jasper was sent on a tour to study the architecture of Kakatiyan temples in Warangal, Ajanta and Ellora, Mughal palaces and forts in north India and other places, which helped him come up with an architectural model that would go on to make the building synonymous with the university.

Pics: Sajjad Shahid, co-convener, INTACH-Hyderabad

Noting that Jasper was also largely influenced by the architecture of the Hyderabad High Court, Osmania General Hospital, City College and Kacheguda Railway Station, which were built by British architect Vincent Esch, he said Deccan architecture was a synthesis of temple and Islamic architecture. This proved that it was willingly accepted and not forced upon, which could be seen in Deccan literature, music and arts as well. 

Anuradha Reddy, the convener of INTACH, Hyderabad chapter, spoke about Maha Laqa Chanda Bai, the royal courtesan at the Nizam’s court, who was not only a poetess, singer, dancer and a diplomat, but also championed the cause of girls’ education in those times. It was on her 1,400-acre estate that the Osmania University was built. Urging the students to protect the heritage structures on the campus, she reminded that such “workmanship can never be repeated”. 

Mir Najaf Ali Khan, the grandson of the last Nizam of Hyderabad State, also participated in the first among a series of lectures being organised by the Department of Social Sciences this year.