The conference on “Engaging Hyderabad with Conservation” was organised from 10-12 December at Salarjung Museum with the support of the Ford Foundation in order to bring together various stakeholders in the city’s conservation and cultural fields and to allow the conservation efforts at the Qutb Shahi Heritage Park to benefit from inputs from relevant stakeholders.

The Plenary session of the conference included speech by former AP Chief Secretary, Mr. Narender Luther; keynote address by Mr Papa Rao, advisor to Chief Minister of Telangana; address by Dr Amareshwar Galla of International Institute of Inclusive Museum; Mr Venkatesham, principal secretary to Government of Telangana and Mr Sajjad Shahid of Centre for Deccan Studies.

Mr. Luther released a Prestel publication “Heritage of the Mughal World” that documents projects of the AKTC on Mughal sites in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

There were more than 150 participants from different institutions and organizations i.e. Department of Archaeology and Museum officials, Archaeological Survey of India officials, Salarjung Museum professionals, Hyderabad University and other academic institutes, History and architectural students, heritage enthusiasts, members of civil society groups and representatives from media.

The conference had 18 speakers (3 international and 15 national) and 5 chairpersons covering wide range of subjects like protection of historic monuments, linkages between urban heritage legislation, development pressures, appropriate future planning and contextual social environments, community engagement with case studies from Rajasthan, Mumbai, West Bengal, Bidar, Golconda and Hyderabad.

Cultural evenings included mushaira by Dr.Jaweed Kamaal and group and ghazal by Poorva Guru focused on poetry of Dakhni poets from Gujrat, Bijapur and Golconda under the patronage of Mohammad Quli Qutb Shah.

Qawwali at the Qutb Shahi Heritage Park by Fariduddin Ayaaz and Abu Muhammad group was attended by over 2000 people. The qawwals have been associated with Dargah Hazrat Shah Khamosh in Hyderabad and performed exclusively on the repertoire of Dakhni Dargahi traditions and kalaams of Hazrat Amir Khusrau.

The conference was successful in meeting its objectives of getting different stakeholders – civil society, government officials, experts, academics, amongst others - with knowledge and informed opinions to discuss the issues affecting the built heritage in the city of Hyderabad in an inclusive manner.