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Hyderabad: There are several monuments in Hyderabad, the popular ones being Raymond’s Tomb, the Seven Tombs and their ilk, and then, there are the unknown ones, like that of Captain AH Davidson.
Epitaph of the Captain
This tomb, dating back to 1812, is hidden from public view though quite close to the main road, the SP Road in Secunderabad, and now, lies derelict. Brought to public attention through Facebook and Twitter posts by heritage enthusiast and architect Asif Ali Khan recently, the beautiful structure has in fact more to it in the form of two smaller memorials quite close to it. These, according to people in the locality, are of Captain Davidson’s horse and dog. The two pillar-like structures are just a few feet away from the Captain’s tomb and are painted blue.
The tombs, situated on a couple of huge rocks in the compound of the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board’s office in Secunderabad opposite St Ann’s School, are over 200 years old but unlike similar memorials, have not got much attention from authorities.
“The tomb is a rectangular enclosed chamber with its roof supported by four square columns, bearing mouldings on their crown. The roofline also has thick and heavy cornices and above the centre of roof is a 20 feet square pillar. There is also a black granite plaque with engraved inscriptions,” says Khan.
A listed monument
According to Khan, and one of his friends on Facebook, Kerry Edwards, the monument is mentioned in the ‘List of inscriptions of tombs and monuments in the HEH the Nizam’s Dominions’ by OS Crofton.
The write-up in the book, according to Edwards, is as follows:
“Alexandra Road near reservoir. 31 March 1812.
In memory of Captain AH Davidson who died on 31 March 1812. Aged 31 years. This tribute of respect and affectionate regard was erected by his brother officers of the 4th Regt of Madras Cavalry.
Alexander Hector Davidson, baptised Madras 17 February 1782. Madras Cadet 1796. Cornet 1 November 1798. Lieutenant 4 Sept 1799. Captain 15 February 1805. Major 22 February 1812. Son of Alexander Davidson Acting Governor of Madras 1785 and chief of Vizagapatnam, and Elizabeth his wife died at Kondapalli, Kistna district 31 March 1812 on his journey to the coast. M.I. at Kondapalli.”
Alexandra Road, Khan points out, is the present SP Road.
However, the present situation of monument is pathetic. According to M Hari Babu, the maintenance contractor of the HMWS&SB and who has been working in the same office near the monument for the last 40 years, there has not been much upkeep for the spot of late.
Hari Babu says he got the stairs constructed to the two tombs of the Captain’s horse and dog, but hasn’t been able to get someone to keep the area clean. As a result, many people have been dumping garbage around it and grass has overgrown, almost obscuring it from sight.
“Not many people know about this gem of history right in the middle of the city. The Archaeological Survey of India or some heritage agency should take up this monument and preserve it,” he adds.
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