HYDERABAD: Alam, a processional standard of Moharram, stolen from Hyderabad 18 years ago is among 14 works of art to be returned by the Australian government to India.
The alam was stolen from the Aza Khana Zehra, Darushifa, and is being returned by the National Gallery of Australia (NGA).
The antique alam was stolen on the night of April 11, 2003. The Hyderabad police could not trace it. The Rein Bazaar police had arrested two suspects but the case was closed citing lack of evidence. The stolen alam was made of panchaloha (five metals) and gold coating. There was a necklace made of precious gems.
The last Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, had installed the alam at the Aza Khana Zehra in 1956 in memory of Bibi Fatima, the daughter of Prophet Mohammed. The Aza Khana Zehra is a historic landmark built in memory of the NIzam’s mother Amtul Zehra Begum, also known as Madar-e-Deccan (Mother of Deccan). The monument is used by the Shia community for mourning the death of Imam Hussain Ibn Ali, the grandson of the Prophet, in the battle of Karbala. Now the Aza Khana is under the management of Nizam Trust.
Dr Safiullah, managing trustee of the Deccan Heritage Trust, and deputy chief executive officer of the Wakf Board, welcomed the decision of the Australian government to return the alam. He hoped that the Union government would hand it over to Hyderabad for reinstallation at its original place. The state government should coordinate with the Centre to bring back the alam when it returns to India, he said....