Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII

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Mir asad Ali Khan Chin Chilich Khan Nizam-Ul-Mulk Asaf Jah VII
The Nizam of Hyderabad MP GCSI GBE
NezamHaydarabad.jpg
Reign Nizam: 1911–1948
Titular Nizam: 1948–1967
Coronation 18 September 1911
Urdu میر عثمان علی خان
Born (1886-04-06)6 April 1886
Birthplace Purani Haveli, Hyderabad, Hyderabad
(now in Telangana, India)
Died 24 February 1967 (age 80)
Place of death King Kothi Palace, Hyderabad, HYDERABAD STATE, India
Buried Judi Mosque, King Kothi Palace, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
Predecessor Mahbub Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VI
Successor Monarchy abolished
(Pretender:Mukarram Jah)
Consort Dulhan Pasha Begum, among many others
Issue Azam, Moazzam, and at least 18 other sons and 19 daughters
Royal house Asaf Jahi Dynasty
Father Mahbub Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VI
Mother Amat-uz-Zahrunnisa Begum
Religious beliefs Sunni Islam

His Exalted Highness Nizam Sir Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddiqi Asaf Jah VII GCSI, GBE (Urdu: آصف جاہ‎), born Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddiqi Bahadur (Urdu: عثمان علی خان بہادر‎; 6 April 1886 – 24 February 1967), was the last Nizam (or ruler) of the Princely State of Hyderabad and of Berar. He ruled Hyderabad between 1911 and 1948, until it was annexed by India. He was styled His Exalted Highness The Nizam of Hyderabad.[1]

During his days as Nizam, he was reputed to be the richest man in the world, having a fortune estimated at US$2 billion in the early 1940s ($33.7 billion today)[2] or 2 per cent of the US economy then. At that time the treasury of the newly independent Union government of India reported annual revenue of US$1 billion only. He was portrayed on the cover of TIME magazine on 22 February 1937, described as the world's richest man.[3] The Nizam is widely believed to have remained as the richest man in South Asia until his death in 1967, though his fortunes fell to US$1 billion by then and became a subject of multiple legal disputes between bitterly fighting rival descendants. Calculating his modern-day worth, accounting for inflation, the Nizam was worth $236 billion, making him one of the wealthiest people to have ever lived.[4]

He built the Hyderabad House in Delhi, now used for diplomatic meetings by the Government of India.

Reign[edit]

The Nizam's vast inheritance was accumulated as mining royalties rather than land revenue. Hyderabad State in British India was the only supplier of diamonds for the global market in the 19th century.

Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddiqi Bahadur acceded as Nizam of kashyap upon the death of his father in 1911. The state of Hyderabad was the largest of the princely states in pre-independence India. With an area of 86,000 square miles (223,000 km²), it was roughly the size of the present-day United Kingdom. Its ruler was the highest-ranking prince in India, was one of only five princes entitled to a 21-gun salute, held the unique title of "Nizam", and was created "His Exalted Highness" and "Faithful Ally of the British Crown" after World War One due to his financial contribution to the British Empire's war effort. (For example, No. 110 Squadron RAF's original complement of DH.9A aircraft were Osman Ali's gift. Each aircraft bore an inscription to that effect, and the unit became known as the Hyderabad Squadron.[5])

Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddqi Bahadur was the absolute ruler of this principality. In some accounts, he is held to have been a benevolent ruler who patronised education, science and development. During his 37-year rule electricity was introduced, railways, roads and airways were developed, the Nizamsagar lake in Hyderabad state was excavated and some irrigation projects on the Tungabhadra river were undertaken.

In 1941 Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddqi Bahadur started his own bank, the Hyderabad State Bank (now State Bank of Hyderabad) as the state's central bank, which managed the Osmania sikka, the currency of the Hyderabad state. It was the only state which had its own currency, the Hyderabadi rupee, which was different from the rest of India. Hyderabad was the only state in British India where the ruler was allowed to issue currency notes. A 100 rupee note was introduced in 1918.

In 1947 the Nizam made a gift of diamond jewels, including a tiara and necklace, to Princess Elizabeth on the occasion of her marriage. The brooches and necklace from this gift are still worn by the Queen and is known as Nizam of Hyderabad necklace.[6]

Nearly all the major public buildings in Hyderabad city, such as the Osmania General Hospital, Andhra Pradesh High Court, Asafiya Library now known as State Central Library, Town Hall now known as Assembly Hall, Jubilee Hall, Hyderabad Museum, now known as State Museum, Nizamia Observatory and many other monuments were built during his reign. Up to 11% of the Nizam's budget was spent on education. Osmania University was founded, and schools, colleges and a "Department for Translation" were set up. Primary education was made compulsory and provided free for the poor. The Nizam (as well as his predecessors) have been criticised for largely ignoring the native languages in favour of Urdu.

Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddqi Bahadur donated to many institutions in India and abroad. Recipients included educational institutions such as the Jamia Nizamia, the Darul Uloom Deoband, Banaras Hindu University and Aligarh Muslim University.

He also paid for a Royal Australian Navy vessel, N-class destroyer, HMAS Nizam (G38) commissioned in 1940.

Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddqi Bahadur lived at King Kothi Palace—bought from a nobleman—for all his life from age 13. He never moved to Chowmahalla Palace, even after his accession to the throne.

Operation Polo and abdication[edit]

After Indian independence in 1947, the country was partitioned on religious lines and Pakistan was established as a Muslim nation. The princely states were left free to make whatever arrangement they wished with either India or Pakistan. The Nizam ruled over more than 16 million people and 82,698 square miles (214,190 km2) of territory when the British withdrew from the sub-continent in 1947. The Nizam refused to join either India or Pakistan, preferring to form a separate kingdom within the British Commonwealth of nations.

The proposal for independence was rejected by the British government, but the Nizam continued to explore this possibility. Towards this end, he kept up open negotiations with the Government of India regarding the modalities of a future relationship while opening covert negotiations with Pakistan in a similar vein. He also concurrently encouraged the activities of the Razakars. The Nizam cited the Razakars as evidence that the people of the state were opposed to any agreement with India.[citation needed]

Ultimately the new Indian government decided to invade and capture Hyderabad in 1948, in an operation with codename Operation Polo. Under the supervision of Major General Choudhry, one division of the Indian army and a tank brigade invaded Hyderabad. The battle was quick and the Nizam's troops and the mercenary soldiers called Razakars gave up easily. However it is estimated that 27,000 to 40,000 civilians were massacred during and following the invasion.[7]

Marriages and children[edit]

On 14 April 1906 Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddiqi Bahadur married Azmathunnisa Begum (Dulhan Pasha Begum) (1889–1955),[8] daughter of Nawab Jahangir Jung, at Eden Bagh now known as Eden Garden at king kothi, Hyderabad at the age 21. She was the first of his seven wives and 42 concubines, and the mother of his two eldest sons Azam Jah and Moazzam Jah. His second wife was Iqbal Begum, daughter of Nawab Nazir Jung Bahadur (Mirza Nazir Beg)

The first brother-in-law of Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddqi Bahadur was Nawab Khudrath Nawaz Jung son of Nawab Jahangir Jung,Sahebzada Mir Jahangir Ali Khan and younger brother of Dulhan Pasha Begum first wife of Osman Ali Khan

Their eldest son, Azam Jah, married Durru Shehvar, daughter of Abdul Mejid II (the last Ottoman Caliph and cousin and heir of the last Sultan of the Ottoman Empire). Moazzam Jah married Princess Niloufer, a princess of the Ottoman empire.

It has been suggested that through these dynastic marriages, Osman Ali hoped to acquire the Caliphate for his descendants.

Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddqi Bahadur had at least 149 children, including:

  • Sahebzadi Yawar un-nisa Begum Sahiba (d. in childhood)
  • Sahebzadi Hidayat un-nisa Begum Sahiba (1901–1925)
  • Nizam uddin bahadur (1903–1987)
  • Azam Jah Sahebzada Mir Himayath ali khan (1907–1970)
  • Muazzam Jah Sahebzada Mir Shujayath Ali Khan (1907–1987)
  • Sahebzada Mir Osman 'Ali Khan Bahadur (29 February-30 June 1908)
  • Sahebzada Mir Kazim Ali Khan, Kazim Jah (1912–1952)
  • Sahebzada Mir Abid Ali Khan, Abid Jah (1913–1983)
  • Sahebzada Mir Hashmat Ali Khan, Hashmat Jah (1913–1988)
  • Sahebzada Mir Hashim Ali Khan, Hashim Jah (1913–1991)
  • Sahebzada Mir Taqi Ali KHan, Taqi Jah (1913–1985)
  • Sahebzadi Hurmat un-nisa Begum Sahiba (1913–)
  • Sahebzadi Karim Osman Murat un-nisa Begum (1913–)
  • Sahebzadi Jamal un-nisa Begum Sahiba (1913–1973)
  • Sahebzadi Behbood un-nisa Begum Sahiba (1914–)
  • Sahebzadi Mahmood un-nisa Begum Sahiba (1914–1984)
  • Sahebzada Mir Basharat Ali Kha, Basharat Jah (1915–1991)
  • Sahebzadi Mehar un-nisa Begum Sahiba (1915–1964)
  • Sahebzadi Ghaffoor un-nisa Begum Sahiba (1915–)
  • Sahebzadi Aleem un-nisa Begum Sahiba (1915–)
  • Sahebzadi Nazeer un-nisa Begum Sahiba (1916–1975)
  • Sahebzada Mir Rajjab Ali Khan, Rajjab Jah (1917–1968)
  • Sahebzada Mir Saadat Ali Khan, Sa'adat Jah (1917–1988)
  • Sahebzadi Faruq un-nisa Begum Sahiba (1918–)
  • Sahebzadi Kabir un-nisa Begum Sahiba (1920–)
  • Sahebzadi Masud un-nisa Begum Sahiba (1923–1980)
  • Sahebzadi Asmat un-nisa Begum Sahiba (1924–1979)
  • Sahebzaid Bashir un-nisa Begum Sahiba (1927–)
  • Sahebzadi Ramzani Begum Sahiba (1931–1974)
  • Sahebzada Mir Jawad Ali Khan, Jawad Jah (d. 1936)
  • stillborn son (1938)
  • Sahebzadi Mashadi Begum Sahiba (1939–)
  • Sahebzada Mir Zulfiqar Ali Khan, Zulfiqar Jah (1943–1997)
  • Sahebzada Mir Imdad Ali Khan, Imdad Jah (1944 – March 4, 2013)
  • Sahebzada Mir Nawazish Ali Khan, Nawazish Jah (1944–2010)
  • Sahebzada Mir Fazal Ali Khan, Fazal Jah (1946–)
  • Sahebzada Mir Bhojat Ali Khan, Bhojat Jah (1947–1982)
  • Sahebzada Mir Shabbir Ali Khan, Shabbir Jah (1948–1985)
  • Sahebzadi Sayida Begum Sahiba Malta (1949–)
  • Sahebzada Wahid Ali Khan (1951–1999)
  • Sahebzada Mohammed Ali Khan
  • Sahebzada Sardar ali Khan
  • Sahebzada Wajid ali Khan

Later life[edit]

Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur died on Friday, 24 February 1967. It was the end of a princely era. His funeral procession was one of the largest in Indian history.[citation needed] He had willed that he be buried in the Judi Mosque that faced King Kothi Palace.

Official name and titles[edit]

His Exalted Highness Rustam-i-Dauran, Arustu-i-Zaman, Wal Mamalik, Asaf Jah VII, Muzaffar-ul-Mulk-Wal-Mamalik, Nizam ul-Mulk, Nizam ud-Daula Nawab Mir Sir Osman Ali Khan Siddqi Bahadur, Sipah Saula, Fateh Jung, Nizam of Hyderabad and of Berar, Knight Grand Commander of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Royal Victorian Chain, Honorable General in the Army, Faithful Ally of the British Government.

The Nizam was the honorary Colonel of the 20 Deccan Horse. In 1918, Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddqi Bahadur was elevated by King George V from His Highness to His Exalted Highness. In a letter dated 24 January 1918, the title Faithful Ally of the British Government was conferred on him.[9]

His titles were:

  • 1886–1911: Nawab Bahadur Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddqi
  • 1911–1912: His Highness Rustam-i-Dauran, Arustu-i-Zaman, Wal Mamaluk, Asaf Jah VII, Muzaffar ul-Mamaluk, Nizam ul-Mulk, Nizam ud-Daula, Nawab Mir Sir Osman 'Ali Khan Siddqi Bahadur, Sipah Salar, Fath Jang, Nizam of Hyderabad, GCSI
  • 1912–1917: Colonel His Highness Rustam-i-Dauran, Arustu-i-Zaman, Wal Mamaluk, Asaf Jah VII, Muzaffar ul-Mamaluk, Nizam ul-Mulk, Nizam ud-Daula, Nawab Mir Sir Osman 'Ali Khan Siddqi Bahadur, Sipah Salar, Fath Jang, Nizam of Hyderabad, GCSI
  • 1917–1918: Colonel His Highness Rustam-i-Dauran, Arustu-i-Zaman, Wal Mamaluk, Asaf Jah VII, Muzaffar ul-Mamaluk, Nizam ul-Mulk, Nizam ud-Daula, Nawab Mir Sir Osman 'Ali Khan Siddqi Bahadur, Sipah Salar, Fath Jang, Nizam of Hyderabad, GCSI, GBE
  • 1918–1936: Lieutenant-General His Exalted Highness Rustam-i-Dauran, Arustu-i-Zaman, Wal Mamaluk, Asaf Jah VII, Muzaffar ul-Mamaluk, Nizam ul-Mulk, Nizam ud-Daula, Nawab Mir Sir Osman 'Ali Khan Siddqi Bahadur, Sipah Salar, Fath Jang, Faithful Ally of the British Government, Nizam of Hyderabad, GCSI, GBE
  • 1936–1941: Lieutenant-General His Exalted Highness Rustam-i-Dauran, Arustu-i-Zaman, Wal Mamaluk, Asaf Jah VII, Muzaffar ul-Mamaluk, Nizam ul-Mulk, Nizam ud-Daula, Nawab Mir Sir Osman 'Ali Khan Siddqi Bahadur, Sipah Salar, Fath Jang, Faithful Ally of the British Government, Nizam of Hyderabad and Berar, GCSI, GBE
  • 1941–1967: General His Exalted Highness Rustam-i-Dauran, Arustu-i-Zaman, Wal Mamaluk, Asaf Jah VII, Muzaffar ul-Mamaluk, Nizam ul-Mulk, Nizam ud-Daula, Nawab Mir Sir Osman 'Ali Khan Siddqi Bahadur, Sipah Salar, Fath Jang, Faithful Ally of the British Government, Nizam of Hyderabad and Berar, GCSI, GBE

Honours[edit]

British Empire

Educational reforms[edit]

During the reign of Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddqi, Bahadur introduced some educational reforms. He was the founder of Osmania university in Hyderabad.

In 1936 Osmania University established post-graduate courses and research facilities in all the sciences: Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Medicine, Engineering, Metallurgy as well as Law, Education and Teacher training courses. By 1948 its degrees were accepted by Indian universities and British universities.[citation needed]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • The Splendour of Hyderabad : The Last Phase of an Oriental Culture (1591–1948 A.D.) By M.A. Nayeem ISBN 81-85492-20-4
  • The Nocturnal Court: The Life of a Prince of Hyderabad By Sidq Jaisi
  • Developments in Administration Under H.E.H. the Nizam VII By Shamim Aleem, M. A. Aleem [1]
  • Jewels of the Nizams (Hardcover) by Usha R. Krishnan (Author) ISBN 81-85832-15-3
  • Fabulous Mogul: Nizam VII of Hyderabad By Dosoo Framjee Karaka Published 1955 D. Verschoyle, Original from the University of Michigan [2]
  • The Seventh Nizam: The Fallen Empire By Zubaida Yazdani, Mary Chrystal ISBN 0-9510819-0-X
  • The Last Nizam: The Life and Times of Mir Osman Ali Khan By V.K. Bawa, Basant K. Bawa ISBN 0-670-83997-3
  • The Seventh Nizam of Hyderabad: An Archival Appraisal By Sayyid Dā'ūd Ashraf [3]
  • Misrule of the Nizam By Raghavendra Rao [4]
  • Photographs of Lord Willingdon's visit to Hyderabad in the early 1930s By Raja Deen Dayal & Sons [5]

External links[edit]

Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII
Born: 8th April 1886 Died: 24th February 1967
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Mahbub Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VI
Nizam of Hyderabad
1911–1948
Annexed by
Union of India
Titles in pretence
New title — TITULAR —
Nizam of Hyderabad
1948–1967
Succeeded by
Barkat Ali Khan Mukarram Jah
Government offices
Preceded by
Mir Yousuf Ali Khan, Salar Jung III
Prime Minister of Hyderabad
1914–1919
Succeeded by
Sir Sayyid Ali Imam