Hyderabad: Millennials may find them unfamiliar, but the names of some streets in Secunderabad are bound to make older residents nostalgic.
Cosmopolitan Secunderabad had a King’s Way street, similar to Vancouver, Canada, and an Oxford Street, beside James Street and Alexandra Road. These streets over the decades have been renamed.
Pankaj Sethi, an electronics engineer from Kapra, who examined the military archives following the controversy over the road closure at the AOC, stumbled upon the story of Secunderabad.
Mr Sethi, who examined documents maintained by the British military, said, “In the military area of Secunderabad, that is the Cantonment, certain roads were named after British military chiefs and they still retain their original names. For example, Gough Road (connecting All Saints Road to the AOC) was named after Field Marshal Hugh Gough, one-time Commander-in-Chief of the Army. Mornington Road, from the RTA office towards the east, is named after Lord Richard Wellesley, Earl of Mornington, the Governor-General of the East India Company when Secunderabad was set up. The name is still intact.”
The road to Picket was named Wellington Road and has a little story attached to it. Richard Wellesley’s younger brother, Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, fought Tipu Sultan at Srirangapatnam along with the then Nizam in 1799 and later defeated the Marathas in 1803. He served as Prime Minister of England for two terms. The road to Picket was named after him.
“Some other roads in the military area of Secunderabad have been named after contemporary military heroes. Amherst Road, connecting Hakimpet with Rashtrapati Nilayam via the Bolarum Golf Course, has been rechristened Gen. Krishna Rao Marg (after the former Chief of Army Staff). The British followed a practice of mapping the geography and documenting it. It is from these notes that I found the names,” Mr Sethi said.
The road from Begumpet to Marredpally was once called Alexandra Road. This broad boulevard separated the market (bazaar) and civilian pockets of Secunderabad from the military camp. Today, it is Sardar Patel Road.
The street which connected Ranigunj to SP Road was called Ronald Ross Road in honour of Sir Ronald Ross, who discovered the role of the Anopheles mosquito in the propagation of malaria.
He set up a lab in Rasoolpura at the end of the 19th century and conducted research there.
The buzzing James Street was named after James Achilles Kirkpatrick, East India Company Resident in the court of the second Nizam. He was the Resident when Secunderabad came into being as a military camp.
Many elderly persons especially from the Anglo-Indian community still call it James Street. The rest of us know it as Mahatma Gandhi Road.
Miles away from Oxford University is a reminder of the world famous seat of learning, here in Secunderabad. The road that connects James Street (MG Road) and Mettuguda was called Oxford Street. It is now Sarojini Devi Road.
Mr Sethi, a resident of Hyderabad since 1984, said his research lasted a month. “Occasionally, names are changed, but the old names continue to be popular, in fact, it becomes a habit. The rather prosaic Basheerbagh Road continues to be popular, though it was renamed Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Road some years back.”
He said that sometimes original names get corrupted by usage and new names come up. He gave the example of Monsieur Raymond who was an important French military adviser to the second Nizam. He was popular with the public too. When the British came in, they insisted that the Nizam get rid of him.
When he died, he was buried in a garden or ‘bagh’ near Malakpet. Because the locals could not pronounce his French name, the name got corrupted to Moosa Ram. The place is called Moosaram Bagh, Mr Sethi said.
Some other famous streets whose names have been changed over the decades:
Kingsway was the broad new road constructed in the early 1930s after the advent of the automobile, connecting Boat Club to Alexandra Road, so that James Street could be decongested. Today this road is Rashtrapati Road.
The road from Trimulgherry eastward (towards today’s Ramakrishnapuram) was named All Saints Road because of the All Saints Church.
The road north from Marredpally to the military area was named Entrenchment Road because it led to the entrenchment (a ground level fort) set up by the British after 1857 in Trimulgherry....