Saturday, September 28, 2013

Grand ruin

Once upon a time, this was part of a palace, where lived Khairunnisa Begum, the widow of the last Nawab of the Carnatic, Ghulam Ghouse Khan Bahadur Azam. After her time, the building was given over to a school that was begun by her husband's ancestors and, since her husband had thrown it open to the public at large, is now known by his poetic name as the Madrasa-I-Azam.

When he set it up in 1761, Nawab Muhammed Ali Wallajah intended it for the education of the children of the royal family. His successor, Nawab Umdat-ul-Umrah, opened it up to provide education for children of other nobles as well as the officers of his armies. In the last days of the Nawab-dom, the agent to the Nawabs convinced Ghulam Ghouse Khan to open up the Madrasa to the public at large. The date on the top of this building refers to the time the Madrasa 'went public' in the mid-nineteenth century. The school moved to this building, the Umdah Bagh, in 1909. 

The school was handed over to the government sometime after that. Even during the 1970s, the school was sought after, because it taught Urdu, Arabic and Persian. But it went into decline a little after. The school functions from other buildings on the grounds of the Umdah Bagh, but this one is all gone; a hand-lettered sign on the wall cautions visitors against entering the shell!


To see a photo from earlier times, take a look at this.