An expatriate with a rare collection of HM photos

An expatriate in Muscat, with a rare collection of photos from His Majesty’s life that marked the history of the Sultanate, is attracting visitors to his barbershop in Ruwi High Street.
For Shahabuddin Ali Hassan, hailing from Andheri in Mumbai, and completed 30 years of his sojourn recently, it was a ‘love at first sight’ as soon as he landed in the capital.
As you enter his single-shuttered shop in the busy downtown Ruwi, the resplendent tricolour flag decorating the blinds will be welcoming you to small cabins adorned with national emblem on the doors.
“I came to Oman 20 years ago and right then, I fell in love head over heels with the Sultanate. I’d been to other places in the GCC but my admiration for Oman has been different,” he said. “Pictures from history are reflections of those times they were captured and I started collecting them one by one from different sources”, he said.
He has hundreds of pictures of His Majesty including the Al Said family tree. He also has in his collections various iconic landmarks, the life then and the transformation that happened over the years.He sourced them from different people. Some he collected from his friends, Omani customers, nearby studios and his media friends. He has both black and white and coloured pictures of the ruler standing with world leaders, his visit to the holy land of Mecca, his meeting of different world leaders and influential people as well as his public appearances.
As days passed by, the collection too became huge and his small, shared room was not sufficient to keep them intact.
“I thought of putting them on display here inside a select room in my barber shop when the collection grew and it became necessary to keep them in a bigger and better room”, he admits.
Asked what to him is the most adored photo, he said he can’t pick a specific one because to him, all of them are equally important.
“It’s for the sheer love for the country and the leader. All pics are equally beautiful for me and I cannot choose the best one because every single photo is close to my heart”, Shahabuddin adds. A relatively bigger photo of smiling HM shaped in a cutout stood tower-tall on the doorframe.