Mirza Ismail

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Sir
Mirza Muhammad Ismail
KCIE OBE CIE CStJ
Diwan Sir Mirza Ismail.jpg
The Prime Minister of Mysore, Jaipur, and Hyderabad
Diwan of Hyderabad
In office
1946–1947
Monarch His Exalted Highness Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII
Preceded by Nawab Sir Muhammad Ahmad Said Khan Chhatari
Succeeded by Nawab Sir Muhammad Ahmad Said Khan Chhatari
Diwan of Jaipur
In office
1942–1946
22nd Diwan of the Mysore Kingdom
In office
1 May 1926 – 1941
Monarch Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV, Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar
Preceded by Sir Albion Rajkumar Banerjee
Succeeded by Sir N. Madhava Rao
Personal details
Born (1883-10-24)24 October 1883
Bangalore, Kingdom of Mysore, British India
Died 5 January 1959(1959-01-05)
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Spouse(s) Zeebundeh Begum Shirazi
Children Mirza Mahmud
Mirza Humayun
Mirza Shah Taj Begum
Mirza Gauhar Taj Begum
Occupation Diwan of Mysore (1926–1941)
Prime Minister, Jaipur (Diwan of Jaipur) (1942–1946)
Diwan of Hyderabad (1946–1947)

Amin-ul-Mulq[1] Sir Mirza Muhammad Ismail, KCIE, OBE ( Kannada: ಸರ್ ಮಿರ್ಜಾ ಇಸ್ಮಾಯಿಲ್); (24 October 1883– 5 January 1959) was the Diwan (Prime Minister) of the Kingdoms of Mysore, Jaipur and Hyderabad.

Sir Chetpat Pattabhirama Ramaswami Iyer, Diwan, Travancore considered him "one of the cleverest men in India". Long-time friend Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman said that "Sir Mirza's accessibility and personal charm coupled with his depth of knowledge and his keen sense of human and cultural values made him a great and highly successful administrator".

Early years[edit]

Mirza Ismail was born on October 24, 1883 in Bangalore. He was the grandson of Ali Asker. Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV and he were classmates in college. After his graduation from Bangalore in 1904 he started off as an Asst Superintendent of Police with the government.

Diwan of Mysore[edit]

Mirza Ismail became the private secretary to the Maharajah, who had great faith in his administrative acumen and abilities to implement them. It was at this time the King urged Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya to guide him. It is well documented that Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya became Mirza Ismail's mentor. In 1926 on the recommendation of Vishvesvaraya the King supplemented Mirza Ismail by elevating him to the coveted position of the Diwan of Mysore.

He attended to the needs of society with an impartial outlook, religious biases were never part of his administrative agenda, though it is not clear why he was instrumental in setting up a mosque in Bangalore. Peace, Progress, Economic Wealth and welfare for the people and the state were his top priority.

The Bangalore Town Hall was built by the King of Mysore, and designed by Mirza Ismail. The first rural electrification programme in India were also implemented by him.

The Nobel laureate Sir C.V. Raman paid eloquent tributes to Sir Mirza in the following words:” For many years, in fair weather as well as in foul, Sir Mirza Ismail remained the truest of friends to me, ever ready to give support and advice. He leaves behind him a memory which will be treasured and cherished by all who have known him.”

He was a superlative administrator and set an inspiring example to the officials by undertaking extensive tours and personally looking to the grievances of the people. Over his fourteen years of service, Mysore State made substantial progress in the field of industries, both in the private and public sectors. The sugar factory at Shimoga and the Khadi Production Centre at Badanval were the other industries that were set up during his time. A trade commissioner was also appointed in London.

Industries started during his period as diwan include Porcelain Factory and the Glass Factory all in Bangalore were established paper, cement, steel, fertilizers, sugar and electric bulbs. Vasya Bank, cement factory, the Chemical and Fertilizers factory and Sugar mills. In 1940, he laid the foundation stone of the Jamia Masjid mosque, near City Market in Bangalore.

A major part of his administration was spent in suppressing various kinds of public disturbances. He had to do a great deal of tight-rope walking in the face of popular agitations conducted by the Congress Party. He had to maintain good relations with the top Indian National Congress leaders like Gandhi and Nehru on one hand and in alliance with Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, he did everything possible to suppress Congress movement in the State for fear of communal violence and unrest on the Garden City of India. It was this very fear which came to the fore over Sultanpet Ganapathi Disturbances in Bangalore in 1928 this upheaval created the long desired opportunity the Congress desired and they finally gained ground in the illusive state of Mysore also.

Following the King Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV death in 1940, he continued as the Diwan with king Jayachamaraja Wodeyar. However, he resigned in 1941 over differences.

Prime Minister of Jaipur[edit]

In 1941, he joined the Kingdom of Jaipur in Rajasthan as the Prime Minister. The chamber of commerce in Jaipur duly recorded the regime of Sir Mirza Ismail was “the beginning of the Industrial era of Jaipur.”

Soon after his arrival in Jaipur, in 1942, he constituted a committee on Constitutional Reforms, these efforts considerably enhanced HH Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II’s reputation and his Durbar in the Congress circles. The main thoroughfare of Jaipur has been named Mirza Ismail Road in his memory.

Ghanshyam Das Birla was a close friend of Sir Mirza Ismail who used to fund the grand projects Mirza Ismail envisaged for Jaipur. When banks were permitted to open branches in Jaipur, United Commercial Bank, under chairmanship of GD Birla, was the first to be permitted to open a branch there in 1945. The National Ball- bearing company was established under guidance from Sir Mirza.

In 1945, he chaired the "Indian Writers Council" for the International PEN in Jaipur where Sarojini Naidu and Edward Morgan Forster were some of the attendants

Even after resigning as Prime Minister Sir Mirza Ismail remained advisor to the State and its affair pertaining to development. 1949 he was instrumental with the sanctioning of the building for the Jaipur Medical Association.

Diwan of Hyderabad[edit]

In 1945 Muhammad Ali Jinnah had a fall out with Mirza Ismail when he refused to help build a Great Pakistan, this decision was made because Mirza Ismail objected to the Partition of India in entirety and there was nothing beyond India for him. So it came as no surprise when Jinnah heard that Mirza Ismail was considering moving to Hyderabad, he opposed the decision openly.

In 1946, he finally accepted and became Diwan of Hyderabad, also called Sadar-i-Azam (Prime Minister), during the difficult years of 1946–48 of the Princely State of Hyderabad, while Lt.General Mir Osman Ali Khan (r.1911–48). Hyderabad was ruler. Sir Mirza Ismail put forth his best skills on the issue of accession of Hyderabad and negotiated a 'Standstill" agreement with the Indian Government for a one-year period to resolve the issue of accession of Hyderabad province to the Indian government amicably. Pro-India leaders like Nawab Mehadi Nawaz Jung, Barrister Akbar Ali Khan, famous editor Sohaibulla Khan, Nawab Ali Yavar Jung and others supported the peace moves of Sir Mirza Ismail and tried to change the attitude of the Nizam from confrontation to coordination. With the assassination of Mohandas K. Gandhi, the Nizam became more set against acceding to India and took on a militant stand. As a result, Sir Mirza Ismail resigned from his post in disgust, which led to a very public and unpleasant interview by the Nizam. Soon after in 1948 as a result of insubordination the police launched Operation Polo and Hyderabad became part of the Indian Union in 1948.

Honours[edit]

The Knight Commander of The Indian Empire order

He was appointed an OBE in 1922 by the British Government for his services to India,[2] and was appointed a CIE in 1924.[3] He was knighted in 1930 [4] and was further appointed a KCIE in 1936.[5]

In 1938, he was appointed an Associate Commander of the Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.[6]

Books[edit]

Sir Mirza Ismail has penned his memoirs under the title “My Public Life” published in 1954 before his death on 5 January 1959 at his house Windsor lodge in Bangalore.

Essays, lectures and interactions[edit]

Mahatma Gandhi -Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (Page 143 onwards)-An Indian Statesman's Tribute by Sir Mirza M. Ismail, KCIE (Dewan of Mysore; Bangalore, India)

Indian Round Table Conference Proceedings By Various

The new India, 1948–1955: memoirs of an Indian civil servant By Asok Mitra

Encyclopaedia of Higher Education: Convocation address By Suresh Kant Sharma (Page 111 onwards) -Education and Unity for Economic Upliftment

Sir Mirza M. Ismail: views and opinions on his retirement from the office of Dewan of Mysore Publisher Printed at the Bangalore Press, 1942

Studies on Dewan Sir Mirza Ismail: collection of seminar papers-Sūryanātha Kāmat

Anecdotes of Quaid-i-Azam-Masudul Hasan 1976 (Page 82 onwards )

International PEN Indian Writers in Council By K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar-Inaugural Address by Prime Minister, Sir Mirza Ismail

Personal life[edit]

Mirza Ismail, with eldest children of Mirza Mahmud

Sir Mirza's grandfather Ali Askar was a Persian trader who fled Iran and took refuge under the wings of the Maharaja of Mysore. He trained the royal cavalry and supplied horses to the stable. He was an ardent advocate of Hindu-Muslim unity. Over a period of time he evolved into a prominent builder and landowner in Bangalore and adjoining cities. Bangalore has named two thoroughfares in the honour of him Ali Askar Road and his brother Aga Abbas Ali Road honoring their accomplishments in the city of Bangalore. Ali Asker created the Ali Asker Waqf Estate.

Mirza Ismail married Zeebundeh Begum Shirazi and they had three children Humayun Mirza, Shah Taj Begum and Gauhar Taj Begum. Khaleel Shirazie whose business empire extended from Madras to Singapore and China was his cousin, he was also the father in law to Mirza Ismail's children Humayun Mirza and Shah Taj Begum respectively. While his youngest daughter Gauhar Taj married his cousin Mirza Namazie's son in Singapore's Mirza Ghulam Hussain Namazie who was Director of MA Namazie Ltd, Singapore,

M. M. Ispahani the founder of The House of Ispahani and M. M. Ispahani Limited one of Bangladesh most illustrious businessmen was Mirza Ismail's cousin.

Sir Mirza's grandson, Akbar Mirza Khaleeli, followed in his grandfathers footsteps and joined the Indian Foreign Service between 1959–1994 and who served as Ambassador in Iran, Italy and Australia. He was Advisor to the Indian Government on Middle Eastern Affairs for many years after his retirement. Mirza Ismail's granddaughter Shakereh Khaleeli née Namazie, ex-wife of Akbar Khaleeli was murdered in 1991, and a final verdict of life imprisonment was awarded to her murderer in 2008. They have four daughters: Zeebundeh Khaleeli, Sabah Backhache, Rehane Yavar Dhala and Essmath Khaleeli.

Agha Shahi and Agha Hilaly also inspired by Mirza Ismail, they choose not to migrate Pakistan during partition and became Foreign Secretaries of the Nation.

Further reading[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Dewan of Mysore
1926–1941
Succeeded by
N. Madhava Rao
Preceded by
Nawab Chhatari
Prime Minister of Hyderabad
1946–1948
Succeeded by
Nawab Chhatari