Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII

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Mir Osman Ali khan, Asaf Jah VII
میر عثمان علی خان، آصف جاہ ہفتم
మీర్ ఉస్మాన్ ఆలీ ఖాన్
The Nizam of Hyderabad
Mir osman ali khan.JPG
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
Successor Monarchy abolished
(Pretender:Mukarram Jah)
Born (1886-04-06)6 April 1886
Purani Haveli, Hyderabad, Hyderabad State, British India
(now in Telangana, India)
Died 24 February 1967 (age 80)
King Kothi Palace, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
(now in Telangana, India)
Burial Judi Mosque, 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 میر عثمان علی خان
House Asaf Jahi Dynasty
Father Mahbub Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VI
Mother Amat-uz-Zahrunnisa Begum

His Exalted Highness (H.E.H) Nawab Sir Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddiqi, Bayafandi Asaf Jah - the VIIth GCSI GBE (Urdu: آصف جاہ‎), born Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur (Urdu: عثمان علی خان صدیقی بہادر‎; 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 H.E.H The Nizam of Hyderabad.[1] 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 Telangana, Karnataka and Maharashtra.[2]

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 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 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 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".[3])

Mir Osman Ali Khan 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.

The Nizam possessed such enormous wealth that he was on Time cover for the February 22, 1937 issue. 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.[4]

Nizam's Legacy[edit]

He built the Osmania University, the Osmania General Hospital, the High court and other institutions during his reign (1911-1948).[4]

Gift to Queen Elizabeth[edit]

 necklace gifted by the Nizam
The Queen’s Necklace

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.[5]

Buildings[edit]

Nearly all the major public buildings in Hyderabad city, such as the Osmania General Hospital, Hyderabad High Court, Asafiya Library now known as the State Central Library, Hyderabad, Town Hall now known as the Assembly Hall, Jubilee Hall, Hyderabad Museum, now known as the "State Museum", Nizamia Observatory and many other monuments were built during his reign.

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

Mir Osman Ali Khan 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 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.[citation needed]

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.

Contribution in India's war effort[edit]

Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri visited Hyderabad and requested the Nizam to contribute to the National Defence Fund, set up in the wake of the Indo-Chinese skirmish. Mir Osman Ali announced that he would contribute five tonnes of gold to augment the war fund. In monetary terms, the Nizam’s contribution was about Rs 75 lakh, or about three-fourth of the annual Privy Purse he received from the Centre.

The Nizam’s donation of 5,000 kg of gold to the National Defence Fund in 1965 was the biggest ever contribution by any individual or organisation in India and remains unsurpassed till today. [6]

Official name and titles[edit]

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.[7]

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

Honours and legacy[edit]

British Empire[edit]

Reforms in education and agriculture[edit]

During his reign, Osman Ali Khan introduced many educational reforms. Almost 11% of Nizam's budget was spent on Education.

Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur made large donations to many institutions in India and abroad with special emphasis given to educational institutions such as the Jamia Nizamia, the Darul Uloom Deoband, Banaras Hindu University and Aligarh Muslim University.

The foundation of agricultural research in Marathwada region of erstwhile Hyderabad state was laid by Nizam with commencement of the Main Experimental Farm in 1918 in Parbhani. Though during 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 Indian government which turned into Marathwada Agriculture University on 18 May 1972.[8]

Contribution in India's aerospace[edit]

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.[9]

List of Major developments[edit]

Osmania university[edit]

Osmania University was founded; 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.[10]

State Bank of Hyderabad - SBH[edit]

In 1941, Mir Osman Ali Khan 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 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. A 100 Rupee note was introduced in 1918.

Wealth[edit]

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 ($34.2 billion today)[11] 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.[12] 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 is still exhibiting 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.

Family History[edit]

On 14 April 1920, Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur married Sahebzadi Azmath unnisa Begum (Dulhan Pasha Begum) (1889–1955),[13] 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 Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur. Maternal Uncle of Azam Jah Moazzam Jah 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) while Moazzam Jah married Princess Niloufer, a princess of the Ottoman empire. List of children and grandchildren of Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur [14] included:

  • Sahebzadi Yawar un-nisa Begum Sahiba (d. in childhood)
  • Azam Jah Sahebzada Mir Himayath ali khan (1907–1970)
  • Muazzam Jah Sahebzada Mir Shujayath Ali Khan (1907–1987)
  • 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)
  • Sahebzadi Mahmood un-nisa Begum Sahiba (1914–1984)
  • Sahebzada Mir Basharat Ali Kha, Basharat Jah (1915–1991)
  • Sahebzada Mir Saadat Ali Khan, Sa'adat Jah (1917–1988)
  • Sahebzadi Faruq un-nisa Begum Sahiba (1918–)
  • Sahebzada Mir Jawad Ali Khan, Jawad Jah (d. 1936)
  • stillborn son (1938)
  • Sahebzada Mir Imdad Ali Khan, Imdad Jah (1944 – 4 March 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)

Later life[edit]

Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur died on Friday, 24 February 1967. He had willed that he be buried in Masjid-e Judi, a mosque where his mother was buried, that faced King Kothi Palace.


Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "HYDERABAD: Silver Jubilee Durbar". Time. 22 February 1937. 
  2. ^ [url://http://pib.nic.in/feature/feyr2000/fmay2000/f230520001.html]
  3. ^ Squadron history for no. 110 sqn on RAF Website
  4. ^ a b Y.Lasania, Yunus. "'The last Nizam of Hyderabad was not a miser'". The Hindu. Retrieved 2017-02-26. 
  5. ^ "The Nizam of Hyderabad Rose Brooches and Necklace". From Her Majesty's Jewel Vault. 
  6. ^ http://www.deccanchronicle.com/140601/lifestyle-offbeat/article/rich-legacy-nizams
  7. ^ University of Queensland
  8. ^ "MAU". mkv. Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  9. ^ Begumpet Airport History
  10. ^ "Welcome to Osmania University". Osmania.ac.in. 1917-04-26. Retrieved 2015-08-18. 
  11. ^ His Fortune on TIME
  12. ^ The Nizam on the cover of Time Magazine
  13. ^ "Deccani tehzeeb is history". The Times of India. 16 December 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2011. 
  14. ^ Mohla, Anika. "From richest to rags in seven generations". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2015-08-18. 

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: 8 April 1886 Died: 24 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