Mirza Ismail

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Mirza Muhammad Ismail
Diwan Sir Mirza Ismail.jpg
The Prime Minister of Mysore, Jaipur, and Hyderabad
Born (1883-10-24)October 24, 1883
Bangalore, Karnataka
Died January 8, 1959(1959-01-08)
Bangalore, Karnataka
Occupation Diwan of Mysore (1926-1941)
Prime Minister, Jaipur (Diwan of Jaipur) (1942-1946)
Diwan of Hyderabad (1946-1947)
Spouse(s) Zeebundeh Begum Shirazi
Children Humayun Mirza
Shah Taj Begum Mirza
Gauhar Taj Begum Mirza

Amin-ul-Mulq[1] Sir Mirza Muhammad Ismail, KCIE, OBE ( Kannada: ಸರ್ ಮಿರ್ಜಾ ಇಸ್ಮಾಯಿಲ್); (24 October 1883– 8 January 1959) was a Diwan (Prime Minister) of the Kingdom of Mysore, Jaipur and Hyderabad.

Sir Chetpat Pattabhirama Ramaswami Iyer, Diwan, Travancore considered him "one of the cleverest men in India". Long-time friend Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman said that "Sir Mirza's accessibility and personal charm coupled with his depth of knowledge and his keen sense of human and cultural values made him a great and highly successful administrator".

Early years[edit]

Mirza Ismail was born on October 24, 1883 in Bangalore. He was the grandson of Ali Asker. Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV and he were classmates in college. After his graduation from Bangalore in 1904 he started off as an Asst Superintendent of Police with the government.

Diwan of Mysore[edit]

Mirza Ismail became the private secretary to the Maharajah, who had great faith in his administrative acumen and abilities to implement them. It was at this time the King urged Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya to guide him. It is well documented that Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya became Mirza Ismail's mentor. In 1926 on the recommendation of Vishvesvaraya the King supplemented Mirza Ismail by elevating him to the coveted position of the Diwan of Mysore.

The Kingdom of Mysore under the reigns of Maharaja Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV and Sir Mirza Ismail was known as "the golden age of Mysore", prompting Mohandas K. Gandhi to call it "Ram Rajya", implying they were like brothers and despite their religious backgrounds they put the welfare of the people of the state above all else. An ideal which he later lamented Jawaharlal Nehru and Muhammad Ali Jinnah could not achieve.

Lord Sankey said during the Round table conference that Mysore was "the best administered state in the world". Princes from other sections of India were sent to Mysore for administrative training.

Mirza Ismail had a deep love for his state and encouraged Sanskrit and made Kannada compulsory to all in the State. He believed "If Sanskrit would be divorced from the everyday life of the masses of this country, a light would be gone from the life of the people and the distinctive features of Hindu culture which have won for it an honoured place in world-thought would soon be affected to the great disadvantage and loss both of India and of the world.”

He attended to the needs of society with an impartial outlook, religious biases were never part of his administrative agenda. Peace, Progress, Economic Wealth and welfare for the people and the state were his top priority.

Considered a pioneer he helped Bangalore attain its modern outlook and vision. His contributions over this period of time were countless the most notable would be the meticulously planned and designed Brindavan Gardens, located on the terrace of the Krishna Raja Sagar Dam, near the Mysore City. The gardens contain a number of fountains in all shapes and sizes and in the evenings they are tastefully illuminated giving the gardens a fairy tale look.

During his time the Medical College was established in Mysore also. The Bangalore Town Hall and the first rural electrification programme in India were also implemented by him. Like his mentor Mirza Ismail was a man who was Industry friendly and set up Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

His contributions to the Indian Science Academy in Bangalore also are worth mentioning also. It was his initiatives which helped to get twelve acres of land from the Maharajah for the Academy in which the Raman Institute also is established. The Nobel laureate Sir C.V. Raman paid eloquent tributes to Sir Mirza in the following words:” For many years, in fair weather as well as in foul, Sir Mirza Ismail remained the truest of friends to me, ever ready to give support and advice. He leaves behind him a memory which will be treasured and cherished by all who have known him.”

He was a superlative administrator and set an inspiring example to the officials by undertaking extensive tours and personally looking to the grievances of the people. Over his fourteen years of service, Mysore State made substantial progress in the field of industries, both in the private and public sectors. If Vishvesvaraya paved the way for the eventual establishment of the sugar industry, the credit for actually bringing the factory into existence went to Mirza Ismail who was largely instrumental in sponsoring the company by taking advantage of the favourable opportunity presented by the grant of protection to the sugar industry in 1932. The sugar factory at Shimoga and the Khadi Production Centre at Badanval were the other industries that were set up during his time. A trade commissioner was also appointed in London.

British Indian authorities started laying the metre gauge line in the year 1938 from Shimoga to Talaguppa to provide access to Jog Falls. Another purpose was to transport wooden logs from the forests of the Malnad region to make wooden sleepers and also to be used as a fuel in the furnaces of the Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Limited at Bhadravathi. In 1939, Sir Mirza Muhammad Ismail took the maiden journey on this line to visit Sagara town. Sir Mirza Muhammad Ismail, CIE, OBE (1883-1959 was a Diwan of the Kingdom of Mysore. The connection till Talaguppa was inaugurated on 9 November 1940. Some of the prominent people who have used this line to visit Jog Falls include Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar, Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, Sir M. Visvesvaraya, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Morarji Desai. Socialist leader, Ram Manohar Lohia travelled in a train on this line to participate in the Kagodu Satyagraha but was arrested at Sagara station.

The Cauvery high level canal was also constructed, irrigating 120,000 acres (490 km²) of land in Mandya district. Other industries started during his period as diwan include Porcelain Factory and the Glass Factory all in Bangalore were established paper, cement, steel, fertilizers, sugar and electric bulbs. Vasya Bank, cement factory, the Chemical and Fertilizers factory and Sugar mills. In 1940, he laid the foundation stone of the Jamia Masjid mosque, near City Market in Bangalore.

Mirza Ismail also ensured the Maharajas assets and investments earned healthy profits and were protected. Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV was deemed the richest King in the country at the time of his death.

A major part of his administration was spent in suppressing various kinds of public disturbances. He had to do a great deal of tight-rope walking in the face of popular agitations conducted by the Congress Party. He had to maintain good relations with the top Indian National Congress leaders like Gandhi and Nehru on one hand and in alliance with Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, he did everything possible to suppress Congress movement in the State for fear of communal violence and unrest on the Garden City of India. It was this very fear which came to the fore over Sultanpet Ganapathi Disturbances in Bangalore in 1928 this upheaval created the long desired opportunity the Congress desired and they finally gained ground in the illusive state of Mysore also.

Following the King Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV death in 1940, he continued as the Diwan with king Jayachamaraja Wodeyar. However, he resigned in 1941 over differences.

Prime Minister of Jaipur[edit]

In 1941, he joined the Kingdom of Jaipur in Rajastan as the Prime Minister. The chamber of commerce in Jaipur duly recorded the regime of Sir Mirza Ismail was “the beginning of the Industrial era of Jaipur.”

Soon after his arrival in Jaipur, in 1942, he constituted a committee on Constitutional Reforms, these efforts considerably enhanced HH Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II’s reputation and his Durbar in the Congress circles. Jaipur is said to be first planned city of India. Mirza Ismail contributed greatly to winning accolades from all including the British government and the locals alike for his great administrative skills. Mirza Ismail is considered the architect of Modern Jaipur and the main thoroughfare of Jaipur has been named Mirza Ismail Road in his memory.

Ghanshyam Das Birla was a close friend of Sir Mirza Ismail who used to fund the grand projects Mirza Ismail envisaged for Jaipur. When banks were permitted to open branches in Jaipur, United Commercial Bank, under chairmanship of GD Birla, was the first to be permitted to open a branch there in 1945. The Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, was upgraded to grant degrees and the National Ball- bearing company was established under guidance from Sir Mirza.

Encouraged by Sir Mirza Ismail on the benefits of education, In 1943 the foundation of the Maharani Gayatri Devi School was laid. Till the Maharani's last days she continued to share a special relationship with Mysore, notably Sir Mirza Ismail and his family, as "he had rendered very noteworthy services for the planning and development of Jaipur as a Model and Modern State".

In 1945, he chaired the "Indian Writers Council" for the International PEN in Jaipur where Sarojini Naidu and Edward Morgan Forster were some of the attendants

Even after resigning as Prime Minister Sir Mirza Ismail remained advisor to the State and its affair pertaining to development. 1949 he was instrumental with the sanctioning of the building for the Jaipur Medical Association.

Diwan of Hyderabad[edit]

In 1945 Muhammad Ali Jinnah had a fall out with Mirza Ismail when he refused to help build a Great Pakistan, this decision was made because Mirza Ismail objected to the Partition of India in entirety and there was nothing beyond India for him. So it came as no surprise when Jinnah heard that Mirza Ismail was considering moving to Hyderabad, he opposed the decision openly.

In 1946, he finally accepted and became Diwan of Hyderabad, also called Sadar-i-Azam (Prime Minister), during the difficult years of 1946-48 of the Princely State of Hyderabad, while Lt.General Mir Osman Ali Khan (r.1911-48). Hyderabad was ruler. Sir Mirza Ismail put forth his best skills on the issue of accession of Hyderabad and negotiated a 'Standstill" agreement with the Indian Government for a one year period to resolve the issue of accession of Hyderabad province to the Indian government amicably. Pro-India leaders like Nawab Mehadi Nawaz Jung, Barrister Akbar Ali Khan[disambiguation needed], famous editor Sohaibulla Khan, Nawab Ali Yavar Jung and others supported the peace moves of Sir Mirza Ismail and tried to change the attitude of the Nizam from confrontation to coordination. With the assassination of Mohandas K. Gandhi, the Nizam became more set against acceding to India and took on a militant stand. As a result, Sir Mirza Ismail resigned from his post in disgust, which led to a very public and unpleasant interview by the Nizam. Soon after in 1948 as a result of insubordination the police launched Operation Polo and Hyderabad became part of the Indian Union in 1948.

Honours[edit]

The Knight Commander of The Indian Empire medal

He was appointed an OBE in 1922 by the British Government for his services to India,[2] and was appointed a CIE in 1924.[3] He was knighted in 1930 [4] and was further appointed a KCIE in 1936.[5]

In 1938, he was appointed an Associate Commander of the Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.[6]

Books[edit]

Sir Mirza Ismail has penned his memoirs under the title “My Public Life” published in 1954 before his death on 5 January 1959 at his house Windsor lodge in Bangalore.

Essays, lectures and interactions[edit]

Mahatma Gandhi -Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (Page 143 onwards)-An Indian Statesman's Tribute by Sir Mirza M. Ismail, KCIE (Dewan of Mysore; Bangalore, India)

Indian Round Table Conference Proceedings By Various

The new India, 1948-1955: memoirs of an Indian civil servant By Asok Mitra

Encyclopaedia of Higher Education: Convocation address By Suresh Kant Sharma (Page 111 onwards) -Education and Unity for Economic Upliftment

Sir Mirza M. Ismail: views and opinions on his retirement from the office of Dewan of Mysore Publisher Printed at the Bangalore Press, 1942

Studies on Dewan Sir Mirza Ismail: collection of seminar papers-Sūryanātha Kāmat

Anecdotes of Quaid-i-Azam-Masudul Hasan 1976 (Page 82 onwards )

International PEN Indian Writers in Council By K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar-Inaugural Address by Prime Minister, Sir Mirza Ismail

Personal life[edit]

Sir Mirza Ismail.JPG

Sir Mirza's grandfather Ali Askar was a Persian trader who fled Iran and took refuge under the wings of the Maharaja of Mysore. He trained the royal cavalry and supplied horses to the stable. He was an ardent advocate of Hindu-Muslim unity. Over a period of time he evolved into a prominent builder and landowner in Bangalore and adjoining cities. Bangalore has named two thoroughfares in the honour of him Ali Askar Road and his brother Aga Abbas Ali Road honoring their accomplishments in the city of Bangalore. Ali Asker created the Ali Asker Waqf Estate.

Mirza Ismail married Zeebundeh Begum Shirazi and they had three children Humayun Mirza, Shah Taj Begum and Gauhar Taj Begum. Khaleel Shirazie whose business empire extended from Madras to Singapore and China was his cousin, he was also the father in law to Mirza Ismail's children Humayun Mirza and Shah Taj Begum respectively. While his youngest daughter Gauhar Taj married his cousin Mirza Namazie's son in Singapore's Mirza Ghulam Hussain Namazie who was Director of MA Namazie Ltd, Singapore,

M. M. Ispahani the founder of The House of Ispahani and M. M. Ispahani Limited one of Bangladesh most illustrious businessmen was Mirza Ismail's cousin.

Sir Mirza's grandson, Akbar Mirza Khaleeli, followed in his grandfathers footsteps and joined the Indian Foreign Service between 1959–1994 and who served as Ambassador in Iran, Italy and Australia. He was Advisor to the Indian Government on Middle Eastern Affairs for many years after his retirement. Mirza Ismail's granddaughter Shakereh Khaleeli née Namazie, ex-wife of Akbar Khaleeli was murdered in 1991, and a final verdict of life imprisonment was awarded to her murderer in 2008. They have four daughters: Zeebundeh Khaleeli, Sabah Backhache, Rehane Yavar Dhala and Essmath Khaleeli.

Agha Shahi and Agha Hilaly also inspired by Mirza Ismail, they choose to migrate to Pakistan during partition and became Foreign Secretaries of the Nation.

Further reading[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
-
Dewan of Mysore
1926 - 1941
Succeeded by
N. Madhava Rao
Preceded by
Nawab Chhatari
Prime Minister of Hyderabad
1946 - 1948
Succeeded by
Nawab Chhatari