Michel Joachim Marie Raymond

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Monsieur Raymond's tomb at Moosarambagh, Hyderabad, India.

General Michel Joachim Marie Raymond (25 September 1755 – 25 March 1798), popularly known as Monsieur Raymond, was a French General in Nizam's military and the founder of Gunfoundry Hyderabad, Hyderabad. He was born in Sérignac, Gascony, France, the son of a merchant.

Early life[edit]

In 1775, aged 20, he and his younger brother, William Jean Raymond, left for Pondicherry, India. The idea as he told his father, was to set up a merchant shop. Instead, Michel turned to the more exciting career of being a soldier.

Life[edit]

A remote view of tomb

In 1775, Raymond reached Pondicherry to start a merchant shop, later he met and served under French General Bussy, but it was in 1786 that Michel joined the service of the ruling Nizam of Hyderabad. He began as any other soldier, shortly after, he was given 300 soldiers to command.[1]

In 1796, Raymond was appointed Amar-e-Jinsi or Comptroller of Ordnance.[2] He established several cannon and cannonball factories. Under his guidance guns, ammunition and cannons were forged. Gunfoundry or Top ka Sancha near the Fathe Maidan is the best-known of the remaining foundries in India.

When he died in March 25, 1798, only twelve years after enlisting, he had become a military commander of over 14,000 army men. It is also documented that there may have been a female battalion of soldiers. The cause of Michel Raymond's death is a mystery, the two suggested causes are poisoning or suicide.[1]

Respect[edit]

Raymond became a close friend of the second Asif Jah, Nizam Ali Khan. Raymond was not only held in high esteem by the Nizam, but had also won the love and trust of the local people. He made himself popular through his kindness, bravery and contribution to Hyderabad. To the Muslims, he was Musa Rahim, and to the Hindus, he was Musa Ram.[3] George Bruce Malleson said that

"No European of mark who followed him in India, ever succeeded in gaining to such an extent the love, the esteem, the admiration of the natives of the country."

Raymond's Tomb[edit]

Main article: Raymond's Tomb
Michel Raymond's tomb

Michel Raymond's tomb is a black granite tombstone, conical in shape, about 7 metres high and it has the initials JR on it. The ill-maintained pavilion was built by the Nizam and collapsed in October 2001 in heavy rain. The 200 year-old tomb had a face lift and got a brand new pavilion. This was showcased before senior officials of the tourism and archaeology departments and other invited guests on 14 April 2003. An estimated Rs500,000 was spent to renovate the pavilion.

The tomb is located near Asmangadh fort on top of a hillock at Mussa Ram Bagh, Malakpet, about 3 km from the Oliphant Bridge (currently known as Chaderghat Bridge), in East Hyderabad. Until about 1940, people would visit his tomb on the anniversary of his death, taking incense and other offerings to him. His grave had become like a shrine. He is also remembered in Hyderabad, with the area called Mussa Ram Bagh (Monsieur Raymond).

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Raymond's tomb languishes in neglect". The Hindu. 30 May 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "Raymond's tomb to get amphitheatre - Times Of India". Articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com. 2004-03-13. Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  3. ^ Dalrymple 2004, p. xxxiv

References[edit]

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