Demolition of Osmania General Hospital of Hyderabad ?

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Demolition of Osmania General Hospital of Hyderabad ?

Demolition of Osmania General Hospital of Hyderabad ?The 114-year-old structure represents Hyderabad, and if it were to be lost, we would all lose some of our greatest qualities.
A city without its history is compared to a person without memories. Unfortunately, Hyderabad has mastered the art of deleting our collective memory, and there is no political desire to protect historic structures.

The Osmania General Hospital (OGH), located in Hyderabad on the north bank of the Musi River, is one such heritage structure that is currently suffering a similar fate. This 114-year-old landmark will be demolished by the Telangana government to make room for the construction of a new hospital that would occupy 35.76 lakh square feet.

The largest allopathic hospital in Telangana, this magnificent and stoic hospital has silently treated residents of Hyderabad of all classes for almost a century.
But as of late, the hospital only sees mentions of criticism, destruction, and demolition in the media. Ironic considering that it is a healing temple.


The history of the current hospital may be attributed to the city’s restructuring after the devastation of the 1908 floods.
The OGH was constructed alongside the Afzal Gardens with the intention of providing “decided advantage to the hospital as it presents a bright outlook to the patients from the hospital and refreshing walk to the invalids.”

On September 18, 1917, the Nizam, HEH Nawab Sir Mir Osman Ali Khan, issued a farman (royal edict) to start the project. The hospital was designed by British architect Sir Vincent S. Esch, who collaborated closely with Dr. A. Lancaster, the Nizam’s Medical Department Director at the time.

The OGH was finished in 1925, five years later.
In Hyderabad, a masterpiece designed by architect Esch that mixed Hindu and Islamic elements was given the Osman Shahi name.

The Building

Its construction, which used stone masonry and lime plaster, made it a reliable load-bearing structure. The foundations were lowered to various depths to meet the hard ground, and a safe load of 2.5 tonnes/square foot was determined to be permitted on the foundations.
It is shocking and rebellious of logic that the building is suddenly being considered hazardous because this is more than similar to the safe loads calculated on structures of this scale today.

It was designed and built as a sizable hospital, with an administrative building on the ground floor, operating rooms on the first and first floors and well-ventilated wards in the wings.

The hospital is still a breathtaking and stunning feature of Hyderabad today, even after a century.


While the hospital faithfully served the people of Hyderabad, its guardians have ignored their responsibility for the hospital and its care, particularly in the last several decades. Its issues are primarily caused by ineffective treatments and subpar upkeep.

The Roads and Buildings Department is in charge of maintenance as civil and structural engineers are not familiar with load-bearing masonry in lime constructions.

The principles used to measure the strength of Reinforced Concrete Cement (RCC) post and beam structures are incorrectly applied to buildings constructed on inherently different methodologies and a diametrically opposite palette of materials. Incongruous repair materials like cement are not only used carelessly.

The hospital’s main worries include a lack of infrastructure, unplanned development, and internal planning. Although the building has deteriorated as a result of years of neglect, it is nevertheless sound, robust, and in no way calls for demolition.

The Future

Two perspectives—one that looks to the past and the other that looks to the future—can be used to analyse the ongoing push to demolish the hospital and a significant historical site in the centre of Hyderabad city.

Hyderabad was one of the first Indian towns to establish regulations for historical conservation, yet despite this, old buildings have been in danger. Some of these structures have recently been saved from demolition thanks to the involvement of civic society, most recently the well-known Irrum Manzil.

Every democratically elected administration serves as the steward of the city’s built environment, therefore eradicating Hyderabad’s much-loved but limited legacy cannot and should not be a consideration.

The Earth is currently experiencing a climate emergency. The lack of resources we currently have seldom ever justifies any act of demolition. It is also not a sustainable solution due to the energy required for demolition, the massive quantity of waste created, and the use of materials during reconstruction that do not have a comparable life cycle.

It is also impossible to justify the cost of demolishing a public structure that can be repaired and utilised.

Worldwide Perspective

There are several instances of old buildings being transformed into cutting-edge medical institutions all throughout the world.
The St. Bartholomew Hospital in London is reputed to be the oldest continuously operating hospital still standing. It has been on the same location since it was founded in 1123, and the oldest structure that is still in use as a hospital was constructed in 1546.

The legendary Harley Street, also in London, is a significant group of medical facilities. The Harley Street Medical Area is home to over 5,000 medical workers nowadays. According to property director Simon Baynham, “marriage of the two remains a significant problem. It is a location of fascinating contrasts – contemporary medicine and centuries’ old buildings. But, as we’ve continually shown, it’s a problem that can be easily solved.

At Harvard, the Boston Women and Children’s Hospital, which is linked with the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre, as well as the Massachusetts Hospital building, built in 1818, have remained at the centre of the Harvard Medical institution.

Excellent medical facilities housed in historic structures can be found all over the world, and while they continue to be centres of modern medicine, what distinguishes each of them from the others is an unwavering respect for the past and a reverence for those who have made a lasting impression on the field of medicine.

Since 1948, no government (whether in Andhra Pradesh or Telangana) has built a facility of this size.

The Osmania General Hospital, which was once a global pioneer in modern medicine, is by no means distinct from the major medical institutions of the globe.

Osmania Hospital’s medical and scientific history is just as amazing as its architectural past. Major Edward Lawrie’s work at Osmania confirmed that chloroform was safe to be used as an anaesthetic in a landmark study that was published in the medical journal the Lancet on September 25, 1915. Dr. Rupa Bai Furdoonji, India’s first female physician and the first licenced female anaesthetist in the world, studied there.

Unrepentant and Culpable

  • The OGH has been the largest hospital in the state since it was finished in 1925, and neither the Andhra Pradesh nor the Telangana governments have built a facility of comparable size or significance since 1948. It is the largest hospital that Old City residents can use, thus to demolish it would be sinful.
  • Unforgivable because it serves as the main medical facility for residents of Hyderabad’s historic old city and offers top-notch healthcare at no cost to those who cannot pay the private sector’s exorbitant fees.
  • Unforgiveable since the smartest and brightest medical professionals still work and educate here and because the majority of doctors in the corporate medical industry received their training here.
  • Unforgivable because it was constructed as a hospital for the city’s residents and because, more than a century later, its thoughtful designs still adhere to the standards and recommendations for patient care.
  • Unforgivable because despite the fact that there is a lot of legislation in support of conservation, it is not taken into account.
  • Unforgivable given the pollutants its destruction and restoration will generate at a time when the environment is in peril.
  • Unforgivable since the lifespan of the current structure may be increased by at least another century, if not more, but the modern material palette of concrete and glass cannot survive even half a century.
  • Because it is an essential component of Hyderabad’s skyline, it is unforgivable.
  • Unforgivable since the city’s syncretic roots are proudly reflected in the architectural style.
  • The worst is that it is Hyderabad, and if we lose it, we would all lose some of our greatest qualities.

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