Michel Joachim Marie Raymond
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,[disambiguation needed] Gascony, France, the son of a merchant.
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.
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.
In 1796, Raymond was appointed Amar-e-Jinsi or controller of Ordnance. 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 AD, 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.
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. While Raymond had left Christianity, his actual religious beliefs were unknown. His Hyderabadi admirers were unsure of whether he was a Hindu or a Muslim. To the Muslims, he was Musa Rahim, and to the Hindus, he was Musa Ram. 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."
Michel Raymond's tomb is located near Asmangadh fort on top of a hillock at Mussa Ram Bagh, Malakpet. Until about 1940, people would visit his tomb on the anniversary of his death, taking incense and other offerings to him. The Nizams would send to his tomb on March 25 every year, a box of cheroots and a bottle of beer.
- "Raymond's tomb languishes in neglect". The Hindu. 30 May 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
- "Raymond's tomb to get amphitheatre - Times Of India". Articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com. 2004-03-13. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
- Dalrymple 2004, p. xxxiv
- White Mughals - William Dalrymple (2002)
- History of the French in India - George Bruce Malleson (18??)