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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

Lucknow: Rain takes a toll on heritage structures

Serious loss: A part of Chhota Imambada’s gate comes down, Mirza Ali Khan’s tomb turns into a heap of rubble.

lucknow Updated: Aug 07, 2018 13:57 IST
Oliver Fredrick
Oliver Fredrick
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
A part of the Chhota Imambada gate collapsed on Monday.
A part of the Chhota Imambada gate collapsed on Monday.(HT Photo)

Apart from hitting life, the incessant rainfall for the past few days has taken a toll on the city’s rich architectural heritage too, with a portion of the eastern gate of the 200-year-old Chhota Imambada collapsing on Monday..

A day before, the mausoleum of Mirza Ali Khan, (brother of Bahu Begum, wife of Shuja-ud-Daula and mother of Asaf-ud-Daulah) situated on the premises of Kala Imambada in Chowk, tumbled down. Prior to this, a part of the Bada Imambada and Jama Masjid also fell following rain.

City historians and locals slammed the agencies responsible for the upkeep of the heritage structures. They said neither the state government nor the agencies concerned was keen on preserving heritage structures.


The Chhota Imambada gate suffered damage on Monday evening. “We were having a cup of tea at the nearby eatery when we heard a shattering noise near the gate and found that a portion from the top of the gate had come down. We were fortunate that we were not around,” said Mohammed Shadab, a local of Hussainabad.

City-based historian Roshan Taqui said the Imambada, constructed by nawab Muhammed Ali Shah, was more than 150-year- old. “But Hussainabad and Allied Trust (HAT), the agency responsible for its maintenance and upkeep did little to preserve it. The gate is badly encroached upon and perhaps this is the reason behind its crumbling state,” he said.

S Mohammed Haider, the heritage activist on whose PIL the high court had ordered the gate’s restoration a couple of years ago, said, “It’s no less than a slaughter of the city’s rich heritage. FIR should be lodged against those who are responsible for the shabby state of the magnificent gates of Chhota Imambada. ”

He said despite the court’s order, directing HAT and the district administration to provide funds to Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for the gate’s maintenance and repair, insufficient amount was released.


On Sunday, Mirza Ali Khan’s mausoleum, in Kala Imambada located on the road from Cock Tower towards Chowk, folded up like a pack of cards. “We heard a crash and saw a cloud of dust emanate from the over 200-year-old structure,” said Kallu, a local.

Mirza Ali Khan’s mausoleum came tumbling down on Sunday.
Mirza Ali Khan’s mausoleum came tumbling down on Sunday.

It took people some time to understand that the heritage structure had come tumbling down “It turned into a heap of rubble,” Kallu said. A few locals said a couple of times they had given a representation to the state government, urging maintenance and repair of the structure, but to no avail.

As per the book ‘Lost Monuments of Lucknow’ penned by historian Saiyed Anwer Abbas, the mausoleum was of Mirza Ali Khan, brother of Bahu Begum, wife of Shuja-ud-Daulah and mother of Asaf-ud-Daulah. He was titled as Salar Jung and died in 1780. The book says Khan was buried on the premises of the Imambada believed to have been built by his son Mirza Qasim Ali Khan.

Farhana Maliki, national president of Begamat Royal Family of Awadh said, “One more heritage structure has sunk into oblivion. The state government seems least bothered about maintaining heritage structures in the city. If the condition remains the same, we will launch a massive protest against the apathetic attitude of the agencies responsible for the maintenance of heritage structures”.

First Published: Aug 07, 2018 13:57 IST

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