Efforts are being made by the Telangana government to revive the stepwells in Hyderabad and promote them as tourist spots. However, there has been a growing demand to restore the stepwells in the Osmania University (OU) campus. The MAUD minister had directed the authorities to take steps to restore the heritage stepwells in December 2022, but no further progress has been made yet.
Naseer Nashu, a student in the Education department of OU, tweeted about the restoration of the heritage well in the campus in late 2022. The Minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development, K T Rama Rao, positively responded to the tweet and directed the Secretary of MAUD, Aravind Kumar, to take up the restoration of the well in consultation with OU management.
One of the stepwells located in OU campus near the Education department is the Mah Laqa Bai Chanda stepwell built in the 18th century. It was designed to provide access to water during the dry season and also served as a place for gathering intellectuals, artists, and for religious ceremonies and rituals.
Mah Laqa Bhai Chanda was an 18th century poet and courtesan who was influential in promoting women’s education during Asaf Jah regime in Hyderabad. She was the first female poet from India whose anthology was published in 1798. Part of her Jagir (estate) was given to the present-day OU campus. She constructed this stepwell in the precincts of the campus in 1798 and in 1792, she constructed a walled compound in Moulali, where she held mushairas frequently.
The architectural designer, Asaf Ali Khan, has given insightful information about the architectural design and history of the stepwell. He enlightened about the engineering behind and construction of the stepwell.
The Rainwater Project founder, Kalpana Ramesh, stated that efforts are being made to restore the heritage stepwells located in OU campus in coordination with Hyderabad Metropolitan Authority (HMDA) and OU management. However, in an initiative towards achieving water resilience, the first-ever stepwell clean-up drive in OU campus is going to be held on April 3 to rejuvenate Sadak Ali stepwell located in the campus.
Ramesh also highlighted that 70 percent of youth in our country contribute towards littering and they need to take initiatives to clean these stepwells and revive the lost glory as they are in a state of despair.