I. Ek baar kya hua..
The city’s history is riddled with events that affected the collective lives of its citizens, yet there is no “archive” for their documentation as such. This has to do with the particular way in which we compile history. The dominant idea of history is a grand march of progress. In this linear trajectory there is no room for the everyday events. It is said that space is the dimension of radical simultaneity. At any particular point in time, there can be multiple and contradictory events occurring across space. These are everyday events which can be mundane, but there are also some extra-ordinary events that become the stuff of legends and mystery years later. One such incident is what has now become famous as the Paani aya, bhago! incident. This event resurfaced at Do Din because put out an appeal for people to send us old letters or any such artifacts which encapsulate shared memories of events in the city. One respondent from Chicago sent us a letter in which his mother had described the whole Paani aya, bhago incident. This inspired the session which was finally called Yaadein, anchored by Aslam Farshori, where stories and reflections on the history of Hyderabad, the old city and Mallepally.
It is extremely difficult to translate these narratives into a textual form, thus it is best to direct the reader to the video documentation of this particular session.
II. Trees of Hyderabad:
People remember the history of the Golconda fort or the Charminar, but do they remember how Hyderabad became home to a handful of Baobab trees? Asiya Khan in her presentation on the diversity of trees in Hyderabad told us their stories and also the stories of several other kinds of trees in Hyderabad. Her presentation brought to the fore how trees, being some of the city’s oldest living inhabitant, are a part of the its memory. Some of them like the Baobab trace a trans-oceanic history, telling us about trade-relations of yore. Others like the copper-pod tell a story of bureaucratic management of bio-diversity. Between these are an array of other colourful stories.