HYDERABAD: It is imposing. It is historic. And it is decaying. Mecca Masjid, one of the oldest mosques, in the city paints a picture of the current and previous governments’ questionable attitude towards the city’s heritage structures.
It also exhibits an apathy of the Minorities Welfare Department through which funds for its preservation and maintenance are routed.
Sample this: chunks of plaster at the linear canopy on the east of the mosque complex, under which intricately carved graves of rulers from the Asaf Jahi dynasty and their relatives are buried, collapsed on Monday. But what is worse is that there was no immediate intervention from the authorities. As a result another chunk of plaster fell off on Tuesday. The debris was quickly removed. “Despite the second chunk falling off, there was no official inspection. A lot of people congregate under the canopy for Friday prayers. It is a miracle that there were no injuries today,” a mosque official who did not wish to be identified said.
The masjid has been promised a makeover several times in the past few years. But so far, less than a fraction of the promised funds, which now run into crores of rupees, has been released. The recent one being Rs 10 crore promised by deputy chief minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali.
The chunk of plaster came off at the linear canopy which cover the final resting places of 14 members of the Asaf Jahi dynasty within the sprawling four acre heritage precinct.
Masjid officials who did not wish to be identified said that the canopy has been in bad shape for many years. The canopy, they added, is in need of immediate repairs.
It was in Ramzan that the Telangana government promised Rs 10 crore for overall repair and maintenance of the historic masjid. However, more than a month after the announcement, the funds have not been released.
The Minorities Welfare Department has been entrusted with releasing funds for maintenance and salaries of staff. It was in the month of Ramzan that secretary Syed Omer Jaleel, after engaging conservation architect Sarat Chandra, inspected the mosque and announced that repairs would begin soon. However, apart from preparing a plans, little has changed on the ground.
According to Mohammed Safiullah from the Deccan Heritage Trust, the canopy was built by the seventh Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan. Under the canopy are graves of the second Nizam, Nizam Ali Khan, to the sixth Nizam, Mir Mahboob Ali Khan. The canopy was built in 1934 and the other graves are those of other members of the Asaf Jahi Dynasty including Sarabat Jah who was the son of Mir Mahboob Ali Khan,” Safiullah said.