Hyderabad’s famous Numaish had a humble beginning

Hyderabad: All big things have small beginnings. It is no different with Numaish, the most popular consumer fair of Hyderabad. As its 82nd edition is all set to be inaugurated on Sunday evening, it is interesting to know how humble were its beginning. Today it boasts of over 2000 stalls and an all-India status but when it started way back in 1938 it had just 50 kiosks and was totally local in nature.

When the idea took shape some eight decades back nobody thought it would catch on like wildfire. To the surprise of everyone it not only clicked but remains the most inexpensive entertainer till date. What’s more it is the only annual event to be organised year after year for 46 days at a stretch.

In its long history, the Industrial Exhibition could not be organised only on two occasions. First during 1947-48 when events leading to the merger of the Nizam’s Hyderabad State with the Indian Union made it impossible to hold the exhibition. And the second time in 2021 the trade fair couldn’t be organised in view of the COVID pandemic. On a few other occasions it had a delayed start as curfew was  in force in the city.

The Numaish Masnuat-e-Mulki as it was originally called was inaugurated by the 7th Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, coinciding with his birth anniversary in Public Gardens. The first Numaish lasted for just 10 days and the next year it was organised for 15 days. As its popularity grew, it was extended for a whole month. The annual show was shifted to its present location in 1946 by Sir Mirza Ismail, the then Prime Minister.

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How did the idea of an exhibition take shape in the first place? It all crystallised in the discussions of the Economic Committee of the Osmania Graduates’ Association. It was proposed to raise funds for conducting an economic survey of the State. When the proposal was mooted before the then Prime Minister, Sir Akbar Hyderi, he liked it. As the Numaish gained momentum it grew both in content and coverage drawing visitors by the thousands.  It was christened as the All India Industrial Exhibition in 1948. It was C. Rajagopalchari, then Governor General of India, who inaugurated it in its new avatar.

According to historians, the present venue in Nampally was chosen as it is nearer to the Hyderabad Railway Station.

The Numaish organisers wanted to give a boost to local industries and bring the manufacturers on a common platform. And this was possible only when the venue was close to the railway station for easy transport of goods.

What started off as a bazaar style fair has now turned into an open to sky exhibition. In recent years it has diversified into theme pavilions, food courts, recreation zones, amusement rides, on-site health care, well designed displays and carefully laid out relaxation areas. A few years ago the exhibition authorities decided to shed the All India Industrial Exhibition tag and promote it with the brand name ‘Numaish’. This is in order to distinguish it from the scores of exhibitions held round the year.

One can’t think of the New Year without the Numaish. So get set for the most inexpensive show in town.