Hyderabad: The Seventh Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, who founded Osmania University, was a stickler for perfection. He looked into every detail when approving the construction of the Arts College, the Law College, students' hostel, senate hall and other buildings on the sprawling OU campus, which celebrates 100 years next month. 'The Vision of Osmania', a permanent exhibition, rarely thrown open to students and the public, throws light on the efforts that went into the making of Osmania University. Housed in the Osmania University Library complex, the exhibition has a huge wooden model of the Arts College building, which was made when the building was under construction.
One can view the plans and designs of Osmania University buildings as originally conceived by the architect in 1933. There are rare photographs of different stages of construction of the campus buildings (1934-39), marble stones carved with elevating thoughts of the founder and reflecting the grandeur of historical Hyderabad, panels containing words of the founder in calligraphy of matchless beauty.
There is a photograph of the Nizam laying the foundation stone of a building on July 2, 1934 and a hukm, dated 17 July 1919, granting approval for the monogram of Osmania University. It ordered that the monogram should contain Ain (an Arabic alphabet) in the centre. The colour of the monogram should be yellow. There should not be any other colour as yellow is the state colour.
“The ‘Vision of Osmania’ is a permanent exhibition comprising charts, photographs, official documents, campus plan, university emblem etc. It depicts the history and development of Osmania University. There are photocopies of documents of the farman of HEH the Nizam VII Mir Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII giving his approval for the inauguration of the University,” Dr R K Pavan Kumar, in-charge librarian told DC here on Monday.
The OU syndicate, at its 321st meeting on May 26, 1983, decided to have a founder’s enclosure in the library to preserve the memory of founder Nizam VII as suggested by the Sultan-Ul-Uloom centenary celebrations committee. A committee was constituted which decided to set up the permanent exhibition with assistance from the University, HEH Nizam’s Charitable Trust and Mr Abid Ali Khan, the editor of Siasat and alumnus.
Here you can see larger than life oil paintings of Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan, including ones by Raja Deen Dayal and Sir Akbar Nazar Ali Hydari, Sadr ul-Maham, the PM of Hyderabad state. There are revolving panels of photos capturing the progress of the university and the personalities associated with it in the last 100 years. There are photographs of past Presidents of India and other dignitaries who visited the university. PLO chief Yasser Arafat, was a visitor. Mysore Maharaja Jaya Chamraja Wadiyar, and King Hussein of Jordan, Maharajadhiraj of Bikaner and Noble Laureate George Wald were among those whose visits have been documented via photographs. The Mysore Maharaja is seen with Prince Mukkaram Jah, the Pro Chancellor of OU.
It is appalling that this historical archive is open rarely, due to vandalism. “We can’t take chances since there are rare paintings and photos. We have seen vandalism at the library many times. So the exhibits are kept under lock and key and opened only when needed,” said a university official.