Mir Osman Ali Khan
|Mir Osman Ali khan, Asaf Jah VII|
|The Nizam of Hyderabad|
|Reign||Nizam: 29 August 1911– 17 September 1948|
Titular Nizam: 17 September 1948 – 24 February 1967
|Coronation||18 September 1911|
|Predecessor||Mahbub Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VI|
(Pretender: Mukarram Jah)
|Born||6 April 1886|
Purani Haveli, Hyderabad, Hyderabad State, British Indian Empire
(now in Telangana, India)
|Died||24 February 1967 (age 80)|
King Kothi Palace, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
(now in Telangana, India)
|Spouse||Dulhan Pasha Begum and others|
|Issue||Azam Jah, Moazzam Jah, and others.|
|Urdu||نواب میر عثمان علی خان|
|House||Asaf Jahi Dynasty|
|Father||Mahbub Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VI|
His Exalted Highness (H.E.H.) Nawab Sir Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddiqi, Asaf Jah VII GCSI GBE (born Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur) (6 April 1886 – 24 February 1967), was the last Nizam (or ruler) of the Princely State of Hyderabad and Berar. He ruled Hyderabad between 1911 and 1948, until it was annexed by India. He was styled as His Exalted Highness The Nizam of Hyderabad. Later he was made the Rajpramukh of Hyderabad State on 26 January 1950 and continued until 31 October 1956, after which the state was partitioned on linguistic basis and became part of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
He is credited with building numerous public institutions in the city of Hyderabad, including the Osmania University, Osmania General Hospital and Hyderabad High Court. He also built the Hyderabad House in Delhi, now used for diplomatic meetings by the Government of India. Two lakes, named Osman Sagar and Himayat Sagar were built during his reign.
- 1 Reign
- 2 Contributions to society
- 3 Wealth
- 4 Operation Polo and abdication
- 5 Donations
- 6 Name and titles
- 7 Wives and children
- 8 Death
- 9 Honours and legacy
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
The Nizam's vast inheritance was accumulated as mining royalties apart from its land revenue. Hyderabad State in British India was the only supplier of Diamonds for the global market in the 18th century.
He acceded as the Nizam of Hyderabad 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 titled "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 Airco 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".) He also paid for a Royal Navy vessel, the N-class destroyer, HMAS Nizam commissioned in 1940 and transferred to the Royal Australian Navy.
He was the absolute ruler of this principality. In many 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.
Contributions to society
Nearly all the major public buildings and institutions in Hyderabad city, such as Osmania General Hospital, Hyderabad High Court, Jubilee Hall, Nizamia Observatory, Nizamia Hospital, Moazzam Jahi Market, Kachiguda Railway Station, Asafiya Library now known as the State Central Library, Hyderabad, Town Hall now known as the Assembly Hall, Hyderabad Museum now known as the State Museum and many other monuments were built during his reign.
Reforms in education and agriculture
During his reign, he introduced many educational reforms. Almost 11% of the Nizam's budget was spent on education.
He made large donations to many institutions in India and abroad with special emphasis given to educational institutions such as the Jamia Nizamia and the Darul Uloom Deoband. He made donation Rs 10 Lakh for the Banaras Hindu University and Rs. 5 Lakh for the Aligarh Muslim University.
The foundation of agricultural research in Marathwada region of erstwhile Hyderabad state was laid by the Nizam with the commencement of the Main Experimental Farm in 1918 in Parbhani. During the Nizam's rule agricultural education was available only at Hyderabad; crop research centres for sorghum, cotton and fruits existed in Parbhani. After independence, this facility was developed further by the Indian government which was renamed as Marathwada Agriculture University on 18 May 1972.
He founded Osmania University; today it is one of the biggest universities in India. Schools, colleges and a Department for Translation were set up. Primary education was made compulsory and provided free for the poor.
Establishment of Hyderabad State Bank
In 1941, he started his own bank, the "Hyderabad State Bank" (later renamed State Bank of Hyderabad and, in 2017, merged into the State Bank of India) as the state's central bank. It was established on 8 August 1941 under the Hyderabad State Bank Act. The bank managed the "Osmania Sikka", the currency of the state of Hyderabad. It was the only state in India which had its own currency, the Hyderabadi rupee. Hyderabad was the only state in British India where the ruler was allowed to issue currency notes. In 1953, the bank absorbed, by merger, the Mercantile Bank of Hyderabad, which Raja Pannalal Pitti had founded in 1935.
In 1956, the Reserve Bank of India took over the bank as its first subsidiary and renamed it State Bank of Hyderabad. The Subsidiary Banks Act was passed in 1959. On 1 October 1959, SBH and the other banks of the princely states became subsidiaries of SBI. It merged with SBI on 31 March 2017.
Contribution to India's aerospace
Begumpet Airport was established in the 1930s with formation of Hyderabad Aero Club by the Nizam. Initially it was used as a domestic and international airport for the Nizam's Deccan Airways, the earliest airline in British India. The terminal building was created in 1937.
After the Great Musi Flood of 1908, which killed an estimated 50,000 people, the Nizam constructed 2 lakes to prevent another great flood, namely Osman Sagar and Himayat Sagar. The former was named after himself, and the latter after his son Azam Jah Mir Himayat Ali Khan.
The Nizam possessed such enormous wealth that he was portrayed on the cover of TIME magazine on 22 February 1937, described as the world's richest man. He used the Jacob Diamond, a 185-carat diamond that is part of the Nizam's jewellery, a precious collection running into several thousand crores of rupees today, as a paperweight. 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 ($35.8 billion today) 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. 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 as more than 97% of his wealth, including jewellery belonging to his family including his daughter's and grand daughters, was taken away by the newly formed Indian Government. The Indian government still exhibits the jewellery as Nizam's jewellery Exhibition (now in Hyderabad).
There are 173 jewels, which include emeralds weighing nearly 2,000 carats (0.40 kg), and pearls exceeding 40 thousand chows. The collection includes gemstones, turban ornaments, necklaces and pendants, belts and buckles, earrings, armbands, bangles and bracelets, anklets, cufflinks and buttons, watch chains, and rings, toe rings, and nose rings.
Gift to Queen Elizabeth
In 1947, the Nizam made a gift of diamond jewels, including a tiara and necklace, to Queen 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.
Operation Polo and abdication
After Indian independence in 1947, the country was partitioned on religious lines into India and Pakistan. 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.
This proposal for independence was rejected by the British government, but the Nizam continued to explore it. 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. The Nizam cited the Razakars as evidence that the people of the state were opposed to any agreement with India.
Ultimately the new Indian government decided to invade and capture Hyderabad in 1948, in an operation code named Operation Polo. Under the supervision of Major General Jayanto Nath Chaudhuri, one division of the Indian Army and a tank brigade invaded Hyderabad.
Donations to Temples
The Nizam donated Rs.82,825 to the popular Yadagirigutta temple at Bhongir, Rs.29,999 to Sita Ramachandraswamy temple, Bhadrachalam and 125 kg of gold to Venkateswara Temple, Tirumala which is popularly known as Tirupati Balaji Temple.
Donation to popular Golden Temple
Donation towards compilation of Holy Mahabharata
In 1932, there was a need for money for the publication of the Holy Mahabharata in the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute located in Pune. A formal request was made to the 7th Nizam (Mir Osman Ali Khan) who granted Rs.1000 per year for a period of 11 years He also offered Rs 50,000 for construction of the guest house which stands today as the "Nizam Guest House".
Legend of gold donation to the National Defence Fund
According to an urban legend, Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan donated 5,000 kg of gold to the National Defence Fund of India in the aftermath of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. The legend claims that Nizam gave the gold to Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1965, when the latter visited Hyderabad during an India-wide tour to raise funds for the post-war economy. According to the story, Nizam asked only the boxes containing the gold to be returned.
In reality, the Nizam did not donate 5,000 kg of gold: rather, he invested 425 kg of gold in the National Defence Gold Scheme. The Scheme was floated by the government in October 1965 to deal with an economic crisis, and the investors were offered a 6.5% interest rate. The scheme included an amnesty clause: the gold acquired using income not disclosed to the income tax authorities was exempted from tax, if invested in the scheme. The Nizam indeed met Shastri in Hyderabad, and agreed to invest 425 kg of old gold mohurs (coins), which were valued at ₹ 5 million at the time. Shastri later thanked the Nizam at a public meeting, stating that the government planned to send these gold coins to foreign countries, expecting to obtain ₹ 10 million in return.
It is not clear who received the return on this investment. In 2018, the Nizam's grandson Mir Najaf Ali Khan stated that according to his knowledge, none of the 52 trusts created by the Nizam had received any money from this investment. English-language newspaper The Hindu submitted a Right to Information query to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in 2018 asking for information on the investment and the final beneficiary. However, the RBI refused to provide this information, citing "unwarranted invasion of the privacy" clause of the RTI law.
Name and titles
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.
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, 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.
Wives and children
On 14 April 1920, the Nizam married Sahebzadi Azmath unnisa Begum (Dulhan Pasha Begum) (1889–1955), daughter of Nawab Jahangir Jung Bahadur, at Eden Bagh now known as Eden Garden at King Kothi, Hyderabad at the age 21. Nawab Mir Khudrath Nawaz Jung Bahadur was the first brother-in-law of the Nizam, and the uncle of his sons Azam Jah (1907-1970), Moazzam Jah (1907-1987), and Shehzadi Pasha.
Azam Jah married Durru Shehvar, daughter of Abdul Mejid II (the last Ottoman Caliph and cousin and heir to the last Sultan of the Ottoman Empire). They had two children, Mukarram Jah and Muffakham Jah.
Mir Najaf Ali Khan is another grandson of the last Nizam who is a well known figure as he represents several trusts of the last Nizam, including the H.E.H. the Nizam's Charitable Trust and the Nizam Family Welfare Association.
Millions of people of all religions of different parts of the State entered Hyderabad in trains, buses and bullocks to see the last glimpse of their king's mortal remains in a coffin box in the King Kothi Palace Camp in Hyderabad. The crowd was so uncontrollable that barricades were installed alongside the road to enable people to move in the queue. The Nizam's funeral procession was the biggest non-religious, non-political meeting of people in the history of India till that date. D. Bhaskara Rao, chief curator, of the Nizam's Museum stated that:
The testimony of his popularity was that the estimated one million people were part of the Nizam's gun-cart procession.
Honours and legacy
- Delhi Durbar Gold Medal, 1911
- GCSI: Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India, 1911
- GCStJ: Bailiff Grand Cross of the Order of St John, 1911
- GBE: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire, 1917
- King George V Silver Jubilee Medal, 1935
- King George VI Coronation Medal, 1937
- Royal Victorian Chain, 1946
- Osmania University, Osmania Medical College, Osmania General Hospital, Osmania Biscuit, Osman Sagar lake, Osmanabad, the Nizam of Hyderabad necklace, the Nizam Gate of Ajmer Sharif Dargah, and HMAS Nizam (an Australian Navy N-Class destroyer) were named after him.
- Establishments of the Nizams
- Osmania General Hospital
- Hyderabad House
- Nizam's Guaranteed State Railway
- Jewels of the Nizams
- Jacob Diamond
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- Misrule of the Nizam By Raghavendra Rao 
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Asaf Jah VII.|
Mir Osman Ali KhanBorn: 8 April 1886 Died: 24 February 1967
Mahbub Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VI
| Nizam of Hyderabad
|Annexed by Union of India|
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|New title||— TITULAR —
Nizam of Hyderabad
Barkat Ali Khan Mukarram Jah
Mir Yousuf Ali Khan, Salar Jung III
| Prime Minister of Hyderabad
Sir Sayyid Ali Imam