More than 110 years after it saved 150 lives during a deluge in the Hyderabad city, the tamarind tree at Osmania General Hospital continues to stand tall. An integral part of the history of the Hyderabad floods of September 27, 1908, the tamarind tree is remembered as a saviour of human lives. The tree offered sanctuary and saved more than 150 lives during the Musi floods of 1908.

Historian Mohammed Safiullah said that the day when Musi flooded Hyderabad and wiped away a better part of Afzalgunj and claimed many lives, it was recorded that about 150 persons clung to the giant tree and waited around till the water receded.

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The extraordinary rainfall of September 26 and 27, 1908, was due to a cyclonic storm in the Bay of Bengal. The water level river rose to about 15 feet to 20 feet in the inhabited area on both sides resulting in widespread devastation enroute. “Several people lost their lives while a large part of the population was homeless,” Safiullah said.

There have been accounts of people who hung to a similar big tree at Kolsawadi opposite to the Osmania General Hospital being not so lucky. The tree to which about 150 people had scurried for safety, was swept away.

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An eyewitness to the incident was the famous Urdu poet, Amjad Hyderabadi, who was one of the 150 people who was saved by hanging on to the branches of the tamarind tree. Amjad who saw his entire family including his mother, wife and daughter getting washed away in the flooded Musi, later wrote a poem ‘Qayamat-e-Soghra’ detailing his personal tragedy.

Meanwhile, the Forum for Hyderabad organised a walk as remembrance to the thousands of people who were killed in the 1908 floods in the city. The walk was held alongside the Musi River bank from Osmania General Hospital to State Central Library at Afzalgunj. A photo exhibition was organised at the library for the public. #KhabarLive

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