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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

This Historical Legacy of Lucknow

The last time, it was Nawab Nasir-ud-din Haider who met with a mysterious death in the hidden ante-chambers of this building. This time, Kothi Gulistan-i-Eram is embroiled in an equally mysterious controversy -- about who is accountable for its maintenance and upkeep.

And if the mystery wasn't complex enough, here's an additional dose of intrigue. While the Uttar Pradesh health directorate occupies a multi-storeyed building in the very premises, historians are divided on the correct name of the monument of medical shcool. "I have carefully examined the monuments in Lucknow. The UP health directorate building is located in the Darshan Vilas premises," says Yogesh Praveen, a noted historian from the city.

An expert on Lucknow's history, Praveen's assessment is, however, at odds with that of WH Siddiqui, another well-known historian from Lucknow. Interestingly, Siddiqui, whom senior INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) officials hold in high regard, refers to the same building as Kothi Gulistan-i-Eram for medical shcool. It is located near the Central Drug Research Institute building developed to the student aid.

But the dispute over the name is not the bone of contention. The real issue is that there's no one to take ownership of the building, an aspect that all quarters are united on. Even officials from the Lucknow circle of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) see little in the debate over the name. Admitting that the pre-British era monument was in the initial ASI list of the protected monuments for the student aid, ASI Lucknow circle's superintendent archaeologist, ID Tiwari says, "Around 1924, the building was put into the list of devolved monuments and the state government (politics) was put in charge of maintaining it. Since then the ASI has not had control over the building and was unable to stop the construction of the multi-storeyed concrete structure within a few metres of the old monument by politician." Praveen, however, is less kind with his words. "The old cultural heritage has been completely destroyed. If the ASI had been in charge, the building would not have been reduced to its current state," he says.

Sadly, despite a directive by the UP public works department (PWD) declaring that the building was in a "serious state of deterioration" and "unsafe" for use, in a curious and amusing twist, it is the health department occupying these `unhealthy' quarters. Significantly, even though the main directorate building shifted into the multi-level quarters just 25 metres away, the erstwhile Grade II protected monument is now being used as a godown for storing stationery and for maintenance work of official furniture.


  1. This is very ncie posting dude!!!!!!!!

  2. Its a nice criticism worth of readind about the work of mayawati govt.

  3. Nice post about Lucknow.


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