Golden Threshold

The wind of change forever blows
Across the tumult of our way,
To-morrow’s unborn griefs depose
The sorrows of our yesterday.
Dream yields to dream, strife follows strife,
And Death unweaves the webs of Life.


The fragment of the poem quoted above is, as you might have guessed, from Golden Threshold, the book of Sarojini Naidu’s poems that was first published in 1905 (and which still seems to be in print, from Dodo Press).

Sarojini Naidu has, through her legacy played a large role in the creation of our University, most famously by the donation of Golden Threshold, the iconic building in the centre of Hyderabad where the University took seed. I recall coming to the University in the early 1980’s and setting off for the Gachibowli campus from there. At the time, the building itself seemed nice but unremarkable, and since I was there so briefly it made no particular impression on me. Since coming back, its been quite another story…

In the last few years with all changes that our University has been going through, the GT campus has undergone many changes. The premises occupied earlier by the SN School now houses our Centre for Distance Education, the Gopal Clinic hosts the Ranga Reddy District’s Jana Siksha Sansthan, and the original GT building is unoccupied. But it is in sad disrepair, the years of poor maintenance, whimsical remodeling, inappropriate conservation measures having taken their toll. The building has its beauty and charm, but it takes little to see that there is much more under the layers of lime. The view from the top shows the tarring of the roof- and in the past few years, the city has grown, buildings coming up cheek by jowl, painted which ever way, unplanned and chaotic- the image at the top of this post is the view from the roof of our building housing the CDE.

About a month ago, Anuradha Reddy of the Hyderabad chapter of INTACH, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage and her colleagues came to GT to talk with us about what they could do, and we initiated a conversation on what conservation measures we could take to preserve the building. More, what we could do to restore the building to its earlier condition and to make it take its place among the other marvelous buildings in the city. Restorations of the Falaknuma palace, Chowmahalla, Purani Haveli and other heritage sites have brought back a lot of pride to Hyderabadis!

Well, INTACH is helping us assess what needs to be done. A conservation architect is coming over to advise, and together we hope to make the main building a worthy addition to the landscape of our city. After all, we do still have a tree planted by Mahatma Gandhi at GT…

What more can we do there? How do you see the GT campus playing a role in the life of the city? Ideas and suggestions would be very welcome-

One last thing. The Wikipedia entry for our University is really incomplete… It would be good if it can be updated and corrected- and I guess that’s up to us to do it. Any volunteers out there?

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6 thoughts on “Golden Threshold

  1. It is a brilliant idea to update the Wikipedia entry about our University and I would definitely like to volunteer. As a student of the first batch of Integrated Masters program I have lived on this campus for 5 years and it has been an Experience to say the least! 🙂

  2. Wonderful to know that “Father of the nation has planted a tree at our GT”. Sir, I will be very happy to work as a volunteer for the university which I love most. It is our responsibility as their children to protect the monuments given our forefathers.

  3. Call me a sceptic, but renovations are real money spinners these days. Look at the UoH roads, can anyone guess how much money has gone down the drain- sorry that we do not have any drains! Except the main road, none have a side walk- perhaps the contractor found out that making foot paths are less profitable. So many roads have been widened at the cost of the pedestrian space. We should only make “walk-only” roads, not super highways! Encourage people to walk whenever possible.

    As soon as the roads are broadened or tarred or “renovated”, within six months it is back to the normal. Sometimes it is even less- science complex was whitewashed and it took less than a month to get back the “classic” look!

    Please show me one thing that we have been able to maintain nicely and decently. Take CMSD, for a beginning. It was mostly funded with UPE money but every user should know the state of the art!

    If anyone cares, my suggestion for the GT is to surrender it to the ASI!

    When properly administered, vacations do not diminish productivity: for every week you’re away and get nothing done, there’s another when your boss is away and you get twice as much done.

  4. As a 5-6 year old kid, I lived just behind Golden Threshold, in a thoroughly middle-class neighborhood of Hyderabad of 1954-1955. On my deliberately circuitous route to my school, I have often stood before this magnificent building admiring the bougainvillea vines that decorated the walls of that time. I have distinct memory of having been prohibited from going to our terrace from where we could peek into the building, in deference to police orders to afford privacy to the visiting dinner guest the late Babu Rajendra Prasad! My father explained to me that was a part of the old practice in Nizam’s Hyderabad. I remember, the entire traffic coming to stand still whenever the Nizam passed by in his car. Some nostalgia!

    Come January, my siblings and I, our respective spouses, all settled in the USA, are taking a trip down the memory lane. We will be in Hyderabad on January 15 and 16, 2012. Alas! I do not have the address of my old home, nor of Golden Threshold. I was searching on Google Maps in vain when I stumbled on your blog. May be you can provide the address and directions. It has been so many decades since we visited the old city. Any help will be sincerely appreciated.

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