History or Half-Truth?

Clock Tower3

The Hussainabad Clock Tower was under repair until recently, and I am not aware if it has been fully revived or not. But a cursory literature survey of its origins is very interesting:

According to Wikimapia: Constructed in 1887, the Hussainabad Clock Tower, the tallest Clock Tower in India, is one of the finest examples of British Architecture in India. The 221-foot tall structure was erected by Nawab Nasir-ud-din Haider to mark the arrival of Sir George Couper, 1st Lieutenant Governor of United Province of Avadh in the year 1887 at a cost of Rs. 1.75 lakhs.

According to MustSeeIndia: Located adjacent to the Rumi Darwaza, this clock tower is a perfect example to the artistic and structural skills of the Englishmen. Built in the year 1881, Husainabad clock tower is adjudged as the tallest among all the clock towers in India. Roskell Payne designed this lofty structure of 67 meter high and it reflects Victorian-Gothic style structural designs.

According to India Today: The Hussainabad Ghanta Ghar (clock tower) was built in the late 19th century by Nasir-ud-din Haider to mark the arrival of Sir George Couper, the first lieutenant governor of the united province of Awadh. Standing tall at 221 feet, the tower is a fine example of British architecture and was built at a cost of nearly Rs.2 lakh, between 1881 and 1887

According to Taaza Travel: Husainabad clock tower is among number of historical monuments. Built in 1881 by Nawab Mohammad Ali Shah and said to be the tallest in the country. Husainabad Clock Tower is located at distance of a mile west of the Rumi Darwaza. A lofty structure that stands high in the sky, Husainabad Clock Tower is one of the appealing facades of Lucknow.

According to Culture Holidays: Husainabad Clock Tower is the most sought tourist attraction of Lucknow representing a true blending of artistic and structural skills of the Englishmen. Built in 1887 by the Hussainabad Endowment Trust is 7-storey watchtower opposite to the Imambara. After the death of the Nawab in 1840, the construction was almost stopped. It is 20 ft square tower rises to a height of 221 ft.

Almost all sites list the Tower as being built by Nasir-id-din Haidar, and one site claims that it was built by Mohammad Ali Shah. The fact is that around the 1880s, there were no Nawabs around at all. The tower was funded by the Hussainabad Endowment Trust, which at that point of time, was controlled by the British. So much so for authentic information!!

In a recent discussion I had with Saiyed Anwar Abbas over Lucknow’s monuments and Lucknow’s personalties, I requested him to be more analytical in his approach towards history, and not be influenced by rhetoric. The above is a perfect example of how the narration of history can be a historic blunder instead of historic facts. These blunders are mostly inadvertent, but have a cascading effect, i.e. a half-truth is stated, and by repetition, the half-truth becomes an accepted fact. Sometimes, vested interests also spread half-truths or blatant lies, to twist history for their own hidden agendas.

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