Hyderabad: Lamakaan, the city’s only cultural space, is all set to reopen from tomorrow (June 22), and will be functioning daily from 12 noon to 8 p.m. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the space will still not operate as usual, and will only serve snacks. The once thriving space was shut since April after the second wave of the COVID-19 virus hit the state.
As usual, Lamakaan will be open from Tuesdays to Sundays, albeit without its famous and inexpensive lunch and dinner menu, informed a source close to the management. The cultural space ws shut for nearly a year between last March and this year in February due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It had reopened in February, but was open from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., but only for takeaways.
Now however, it will serve snacks from 12 noon to 8 p.m., as the lockdown in the state was also lifted by the government two days ago. It is unlikely that the Lamakaan management will also allow events to be held like earlier, and visitors also probably won’t be able to hang around leisurely in the cultural space as they did previously as well. In fact, when it had reopened in February, each person could hang around only for 30 minutes.
Last year, Lamakaan’s management decided to not conduct its annual events in March, during its anniversary month, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Post the lockdown that was imposed, even as places began opening one-by-one, Lamakaan continued to remain shut.
A major concern for the management will be any kind of crowding in the space might result in a spread of COVID-19 infections. The closure of Lamakaan has meant that Hyderabad is missing its round-the-clock cultural and political discussions, many of which the cultural space used to host.
Known for being a liberal space, it has essentially been a platform for artists, and also served as a centre for engaging discussions or subjects ranging from politics to current events.
Pre-COVID-19, Lamakaan had hosted a series of events while protests were ongoing against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which drew lakhs of protests from people around the world. It also held a discussion on the National Register of Citizen (NRC) that is being carried out in Assam.
Started in 2010 by friends Ashhar Farhan, Humera Ahmed, Elahe Hiptoola and Biju Matthew, Lamakaan is now a place that one looks to for meaningful discussions on important subjects and also for events on culture. It could also be considered as a precursor to co-working spaces we have in Hyderabad today.