Princess Niloufer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Princess Niloufer
Spouse Moazzam Jah (m. 20 December 1931, div. 20 October 1952)
Edward Julius Pope (m. 21 February 1963)
Full name
Niloufer Khanum Sultana
House Imperial House of Osman
Father Damad Moralizada Salar ud-din Bey Effendi
Mother Adila Sultana
Born (1916-01-04)4 January 1916
Göztepe Palace, Istanbul
Died 12 June 1989(1989-06-12) (aged 73)
Paris, France

Niloufer Farhat Begum Sahiba (January 4, 1916 – June 12, 1989) was one of the last princesses of the Ottoman Empire. She was married to the second son of the last Nizam of Hyderabad in India.

Birth[edit]

Niloufer was born at the Göztepe Palace in Istanbul, Turkey at a time when her mother's family was ruling the Ottoman empire. Her father was Damad Moralizada Salaruddin Bey Effendi, a prominent member of the Ottoman court. Her mother, Adile Sultan, was a daughter of Shehzade Mehmed Selahaddin, the eldest son of Sultan Murad V, and a sister of Sultan Abdülmecid II, the last caliph.

At the end of World War I, the ruling dynasty were deposed and Turkey was declared a republic. Later, in 1924, the Ottomans were exiled from Turkey and settled in France, taking up their residence in the Mediterranean city of Nice. Several members of their court and extended family, including Niloufer's parents, likewise went into exile in France.

Marriage[edit]

On December 20, 1931, at her maternal uncle's Hilafat Palace in Nice, Niloufer was married at age 16 to Moazzam Jah, second son of the last ruling Nizam of Hyderabad. The Nizam's elder son and heir was married to Niloufer's first cousin, Durre Shehvar, daughter of Sultan Abdülmecid II. After her marriage, Niloufer moved to her father-in-law's court in Hyderabad, India.

Several years passed after the marriage, but still Niloufer did not conceive a child. She found that there were no specialist doctors in Hyderabad whom she could consult. She had to travel to Europe to consult doctors, which she did. During this time, one of her maids died in Hyderabad during childbirth, again as a result of the lack of medical facilities. At that time, there was no specialized hospital for children and mothers in Hyderabad. Childbirth took place mostly at home and even simple complications could prove fatal for mother or child. Niloufer made known to her father-in-law the problems arising due to this lack of medical facilities and as a result, a speciality hospital for women and children was built in the Red Hills area of the city. Indeed, the hospital was named Niloufer Hospital in her honour and she was named its patron, a position she retained as long as she lived in Hyderabad. Even today, the hospital remains a well-known one and is a prominent landmark of the Red Hills neighbourhood.

While Niolufer's private life seemed empty due to lack of children, she compensated by making her public life very glittering. Unlike other ladies in her family (this is true of both her natal family in Turkey and her marital family in India) who felt that their dignity and honour lay in not making public spectacles of themselves, Niloufer preferred to move about the city quite freely, leaving the zenana of the palace frequently to attend public engagements, cocktail parties and late-night revels in addition to her charity work. She attended many functions and also inaugurated several events, often unveiled. As no other lady of the Hyderabad royal family had ever moved about unveiled or attended cocktail parties or even public events, Niloufer came to be regarded as a torch-bearer for women's advancement. Her beauty and active public life received mention in the press, and she was featured on the cover pages of magazines. She was judged one of the 10 most beautiful women in the world, and was even offered several roles in films.

While her father-in-law and other family members had supported her fully for her charity work, including building a speciality hospital and incentivizing foreign doctors to settle in Hyderabad at great expense, they did not like the immodest and vacuous celebrity-lifestyle she thereafter developed. They understood that lack of children and domestic occupations meant that time lay heavy on her hands, and they tried to engage her energies in constructive things like the hospital and children's schools. It was at her father-in-law's behest that Niloufer, during World War II, obtained training as a nurse, and helped in relief efforts in Hyderabad, where some Indian soldiers who had suffered injuries in the war theaters of Europe or east Asia were brought for recuperation. However, this did not last long and her partying continued.

Meanwhile, the specialist doctors in Europe were unable to deduce a solution to her childlessness. In 1948, 17 years after his marriage to Niloufer, her husband Moazzam took a second wife, Razia Begum, daughter of local aristocracy in Hyderabad. This was in accordance with both law and tradition, which alike permit a Muslim man to have up to four wives at a time. The second marriage was quickly blessed with children and three daughters were born within four years. Eventually, in 1952, after 21 years of marriage, Niloufer and her husband were divorced.

Later years[edit]

After her divorce, Niloufer moved to France where the Ottoman family had settled after their exile from Turkey. A number of other royal exiles from several countries were also settled in Nice and the Côte d'Azur and Niloufer maintained an active social life. On February 21, 1963, in Paris, Niloufer married Edward Julius Pope, a former British diplomat. She died in Paris on June 12, 1989.

External links[edit]