Did you know, September floods deluged half of Hyderabad in 1908
September is a dreaded month for Hyderabad, which, as its long history suggests, has witnessed many instances of floods and rain-related havoc.
HYDERABAD: September is a dreaded month for Hyderabad, which, as its long history suggests, has witnessed many instances of floods and rain-related havoc. Come September, the citizens of the Deccan city brace for the worst every year as copious rains lead to massive inundation of low-lying areas. Even the main arteries are left under a sheet of water while residential areas around major reservoirs stare at the prospect of flooding.
In fact, Hyderabad's travails with rain and flood devastation dates as long back as 1908. This was the year when floods from River Musi, caused by unprecedented rains, had deluged more than half of the city then, which also incidentally happened in the month of September.
While the 1908 floods shocked the entire country, it took quite some time for Hyderabad to recover from the devastation. The face of Hyderabad changed drastically with the 1908 floods when the Nizams relocated the power centres from South to North.
The September month, not only brings rains but revives the ghosts of the 1908 floods, sending shivers down the spine for the Hyderabadis.
Graphic details of 1908 Musi floods in Hyderabad and its devastation
It was on September 28, 1908, when the rain, which initially started with a drizzle, turned into a heavy downpour that lasted for 36 hours, resulting in a 16-cm rainfall. The heavy rain submerged half of the city and sent people scurrying for cover. Unofficial reports claim that as many as 15,000 people were killed in the calamity and more than 20,000 were rendered homeless.
Going by the details of the 1908 floods, the Musi river was in spate and the water level reached a height of 60 feet. The floodwater entered the city and submerged half of it. Afazalgunj was almost drowned under 11-feet high floodwater. Amberpet, Shalibanda and other parts were also subsequently deluged, creating havoc and panic.
As the flood water began inundating Champa Dharwaja, the residents of the area flocked to Petla Burj to save their lives. Unfortunately, most of the people were drowned to death even as the Petla Burj has collapsed.
With the rains subsiding on September 28, 1908, the then Nizam of Hyderabad Mir Mahboob Ali swung into action to initiate rescue operations.
Mir Mahboob issued orders to keep the palaces and buildings open to provide shelter and food for the displaced people.
History of September rains and floods in Hyderabad
Hyderabad City has faced severe floods 14 times from 1591 to 1908.
Heavy floods in 1631,1831 and 1903 floods caused loss of life and property.
But, the 1908 floods washed away more than half of the city, left 15,000 people dead.
The floods in 1631 during the reign of Abdullah Qutb Shah, ruler of Qutb Shahi VI, destroyed government offices and buildings in the city. Houses around River Musi were swept away.
Due to the floods during the rule of Asaf Jahi IV Mir Farukunda Ali Khan Nasaru Daulah in 1831, the Chadarghat bridge, under construction then, was washed away.
In the floods in 1968, 1984, 2000, 2007, 2016 and 2020, many low-lying areas were submerged due to heavy rains.
It is September month again and already Hyderabad is being battered with copious rains in the last few days. With the rainspell likely to extend further, Hyderabadis, with a fair idea of city's natural calamities, would be reminded of the 1908 horror. One only hopes that the rain gods would spare the city of a similar predicament.