Hyderabad: In a grim reminder of sorts, the city saw the 113th anniversary of the 1908 deluge on yet another dark and rainy September 28. It was in the deluge of 1908 that Hyderabad witnessed a loss of nearly 50,000 lives over the vast expanses of property that were destroyed in one of the worst natural calamities to hit the city.
According to city historians, though the city got flooded for 36 hours, it continued to reel under the aftermath for at least a couple of years. Thousands of families were accommodated in relief camps as around 80,000 houses were damaged.
M Vedakumar, president of Forum for Better Hyderabad, recalled that the magnitude of the devastation forced the Nizam to seek the help of eminent engineer M Visvesvaraya for development of a flood protection and drainage system in the city.
“Eventually, a long, massive granite bund was constructed alongside the Musi River, from Puranapul to Chaderghat. Two massive reservoirs, the Osman Sagar and the Himayat Sagar, were also constructed later during the period,” he said.
In aftermath of the deluge, the Nizam’s administration had installed slates on buildings on either side of the Musi River to provide an indication of the height of the water during the flood. The marble slates had the HFL level inscribed on it. “A few plates still remain on the buildings on the stretch while many were removed when the buildings were demolished to pave way for new constructions,” informs heritage activist Mohammed Safiullah.
The tamarind tree located on the premises of Osmania General Hospital saved the lives of 150 people who clung onto it during the flood. Since the last few years, a meeting is organised every year on September 28, under the tamarind tree to recall the 1908 floods with noted heritage activists and citizens attending the programme.
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