Friday, 26 October 2012


----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Sudhir Varma <>
To: "" <>
Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 8:36 PM

Musi River was the cause of frequent flood devastation of Hyderabad city till the early decades of 20th Century. History Records that flood occurred eleven times in Hyderabad since 1572AD. The city had experienced 15.32 cms of rainfall on September 28, 1908.  The Musi River rose to 15 to 20 feet height in the inhabited area. These floods shattered the life of the people living in Hyderabad.
It was on this day in 1908 that the Musi River, which was reduced to an open sewer, overflowed following heavy rains in and around the city. Such was the river's fury that many buildings, including two hospitals on its banks and hundreds of houses, were submerged.   Over 150 people had climbed a tamarind tree at the Osmania General Hospital to save themselves.   The river, which bisects the city, had turned a monster overnight. 'Though there were 18 floods recorded before Sep 28, 1908,  this was the mother of all floods.
According to historians, 15,000 people were killed and over 80,000 were rendered homeless in the Musi floods.  As many as 600,000 people were affected by the river's fury. The deluge washed away part of a bridge built on the river and caused widespread devastation. Such was the enormity of the devastation that the sixth Nizam Mir Mahboob Ali Khan, then ruler of Hyderabad State, threw open the gates of his palaces to shelter the victims. The kitchens in the palaces worked overtime to feed about 600,000 people for 15 days.  The water level in localities butting the river was 15 to 20 feet. A maternity hospital, the Darulshifa hospital and several other buildings on the banks of the river were obliterated.  Over 400 people were killed in the maternity hospital alone.
The Flooding of the City where 15,000 people perished. Over 80,000 houses were damaged.
The Panoramic view of Hyderabad after the Great floods, with Afzul bridge on the left
The principal street of Hyderabad, as it appeared after the Catastrophe
The Afzal Bridge before Great Floods(Photographed in 1906)
The Afzal bridge after the Great Floods (Photographed in 1908)
In the year 1908, the river Musi which cuts through the City, dividing it into two parts, over flooded and caused a tremendous disaster. The damage to property was enormous. Thousands lost their lives. After the waters subsided, the scene that was presented was of the most excruciating type.
On either side of the river there was nothing to be seen but fallen houses, collapsed roofs, bare walls and a tangled mass of trees, logs, rafters and shrubbery. Many houses had entirely disappeared and nothing but one's memory remained to identify the spot of their location. Human corpses and carcases of animals were everywhere to be seen—and these were those which were not washed away. It is said that Mir Sir Mahbub Ali Khan Bahadur, who was then Nizam, went about the devastated area looking like a man who was almost insane with grief.
In one respect this awful disaster proved for Hyderabad City a distinct blessing in disguise. His Highness the Nizam VI immediately after completing the tremendous work of relief to the suffering people, ordered schemes to be devised for avoiding a similar disaster in the future. The scheme finally sanctioned and improved upon by the Nizam VII is one of tremendous dimensions.
The Afzal Bridge which connects the northern and southern parts of the City has been rebuilt
A reservoir, called the Osman Sagar, has been built across the Musi, a few miles away from the City, in order to serve not only as a flood moderator, but also as a source of water supply. This has cost Rs. 58,40,000.
Another reservoir, the Himayat Sagar, has been constructed across the-river Easi, 3 miles above its junction with the Musi river. It acts not merely as a flood moderator but also as an irrigation tank- It has cost the enormous sum of Rs. 91,75,000, very nearly a crore of rupees.
The northern and southern banks of the river Musi have been raised by embankments which are covered with stone masonry to strengthen them.  The roads on either side have been broadened and along them now stand three of the most imposing buildings in Hyderabad, and for the matter of that, in India.
These buildings are the Osmania General Hospital, High Court and City College. Between the northern bank and the road there is a beautiful river park which has served to enhance the appearance of the City considerably.
On Tuesday 28 September 1908 Hyderabad witnessed disastrous floods of the River Musi, flowing through the city.
In one day, 17 inches of rainfall was recorded and the water level at Afzal Bridge was about 11 feet (3.4 m) high and in some other places it was even higher.
The Afzal bridge and district as they appeared immediately after the recent great flood - 60,000 homes wrecked and 50,000 people drowned
Key News on the Floods:
Many Hyderabadis know that a huge tree in Kosalwadi (now Osmania General Hospital) had saved the lives of several people. But what many do not know is that several trees were washed away in the floods unable to bear the heavy human load, with scores of people climbing on their branches.
Water rose within two feet of the roof of the Victoria Zenana Hospital (maternity hospital). Luckily, there were no casualties. All the women patients were evacuated.
The Hyderabad of yesterday is not the Hyderabad of today; and the Hyderabad of to-morrow will not be the Hyderabad of to-day


  1. Sudhir Verma very nice collection of 1908 photos, I have also some news paper cutttings of the same period. My great grandfather Nawab Arastu Yar Jung (Dr. Abdul Husain) saved most of the patients from the Afzalgung Hospital. Nice to see the history in pictures.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Aslam Arastu

  2. My grand father Ravichettu Ranga Rao, Jagirdar and founder of Sri Krishnadevaraya Andhra Bhasha nilayam, Sulthan Bazar, Hyderabad was a member of the Flood Relief Committee constituted by His Excellency of Nizam VI (Mahabub Ali). He sheltered and fed hundreds of devastated people. If you any information about it Malsaji Pl share to me. Thanks