Mirza Ismail

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Mirza Muhammad Ismail
Diwan Sir Mirza Ismail.jpg
The Prime Minister of Mysore, Jaipur, and Hyderabad
Diwan of Hyderabad
In office
MonarchOsman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII
Preceded byMuhammad Ahmad Said Khan Chhatari
Succeeded byMuhammad Ahmad Said Khan Chhatari
Diwan of Jaipur
In office
MonarchMan Singh II
22nd Diwan of the Mysore Kingdom
In office
1 May 1926 – 1941
MonarchKrishna Raja Wadiyar IV, Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar
Preceded bySir Albion Rajkumar Banerjee
Succeeded bySir N. Madhava Rao
Personal details
Born(1883-10-24)24 October 1883
Bangalore, Kingdom of Mysore, British India
Died5 January 1959(1959-01-05) (aged 75)
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Spouse(s)Zeebundeh Begum Shirazi
ChildrenMirza Humayun
Mirza Shah Taj Begum
Mirza Gauhar Taj Begum
OccupationDiwan of Mysore (1926–1941)
Prime Minister, Jaipur (Diwan of Jaipur) (1942–1946)
Diwan of Hyderabad (1946–1947)

Sir Mirza Muhammad Ismail - Amin-ul-Mulq, KCIE, OBE (24 October 1883 – 5 January 1959) was an Indian statesman who was the Diwan (Prime Minister) of the Kingdoms of Mysore, Jaipur and Hyderabad.[1][2]

C. P. Ramaswami Iyer, Diwan, Travancore considered him "one of the cleverest men in India". Long-time friend C. V. Raman remarked, "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".[1] [2]

Early years[edit]

Ismail was born on 24 October 1883 in Bangalore into a Persian family, who emigrated from Persia and took refuge under the wings of the Maharaja of Mysore. He was the grandson of Agha Aly Asker. Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV and he were classmates in college. After his graduation from Bangalore in 1904, Ismail started off as an Assistant Superintendent of Police with the government.[3][4]

Diwan of Mysore[edit]

Mirza Ismail became the private secretary to the Maharaja, who had great faith in his administrative acumen and abilities to implement them. It was at this time the King urged M. Visvesvaraya to guide him. It is well documented that Visvesvaraya became Mirza Ismail's mentor. In 1926, on the recommendation of Visvesvaraya, the King supplemented Ismail by elevating him to the coveted position of the Diwan of Mysore.[5]

The Bangalore Town Hall was built by the King of Mysore, and designed by Ismail. The first rural electrification programme in India were also implemented by him.[3][4]

C. V. Raman paid eloquent tributes to Ismail 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."[1][2] 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.[3][4]

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. Vysya Bank, cement factory, the Chemical and Fertilizers factory and sugar mills.

In general, he did not exhibit major religious biases, though it is not clear why he was instrumental in setting up a mosque in Bangalore. In 1940, at the height of religious strife in India, he laid the foundation stone of the Jamia Masjid mosque, near City Market in Bangalore, very close to the town hall also built by him.

A major part of Ismail's 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.[1][2] He had to maintain good relations with the top Indian National Congress leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal 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 in Bangalore. 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.[3] [4]

Following the King Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV death in 1940, he continued as the Diwan with Jayachamaraja Wodeyar. However, he resigned in 1941 over differences.[1][2]

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.[1] [2]

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.[1][2]

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.[3][4]

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.[1][2] 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.[3][4]

Round Table Conference (November 1930 – January 1931)[edit]

Mirza had attended all 3 round table conferences.
*1st Round Table conference:[6]
*2nd Round Table conference[7][8][9][10]
*3rd Round Table Conference: [11]


The Knight Commander of the Indian Empire order

He was appointed an OBE in 1922 by the British Government for his services to India, and was appointed a CIE in 1924. He was knighted in 1930 and was further appointed a KCIE in 1936. In 1938, he was appointed an Associate Commander of the Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.[1]

Places in honour[edit]


Sir Mirza Ismail 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.[12]

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)[13]
  • Indian Round Table Conference Proceedings [14]
  • The new India, 1948–1955: memoirs of an Indian civil servant By Asok Mitra [15]
  • Encyclopaedia of Higher Education: Convocation address By Suresh Kant Sharma (Pg 111-114) -Education and Unity for Economic Upliftment[16]
  • Sir Mirza M. Ismail: views and opinions on his retirement from the office of Dewan of Mysore. [17]
  • Studies on Dewan Sir Mirza Ismail: collection of seminar papers-Sūryanātha Kāmat[18]
  • Anecdotes of Quaid-i-Azam by Masud-ul-Hasan 1976 [19]
  • International PEN Indian Writers in Council By K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar-Inaugural Address by Prime Minister, Sir Mirza Ismail[20]

Personal life[edit]

Mirza Ismail, with eldest children of Mirza Mahmud

Sir Mirza's grandfather Ali Asker was a Persian trader (mainly of horses) who emigrated from Iran and took refuge under the wings of the Maharaja of Mysore. He and his brother, Aga Abbas Ali, prospered wildly under the patronage of the Maharaja. They trained the royal cavalry and supplied horses to the royal and army stables. Over time, Ali Askar evolved into a prominent builder and landowner in Bangalore and adjoining areas. He created the Ali Asker Waqf Estate which owns the land upon which the Windsor Manor hotel in Bangalore is built. Two roads in Bangalore have been named in honour of the two brothers, namely Ali Askar Road and Aga Abbas Ali Road.

Mirza Ismail married Zeebundeh Begum Shirazi in a match arranged by their parents in the usual Indian way. They had three children, a son who they named Humayun Mirza, and two daughters, Shah Taj Begum and Gauhar Taj Begum.

One of Mirza Ismail's cousins was Khaleel Shirazie, an affluent businessman whose business empire extended from Madras to Singapore and China. Two of Mirza Ismail's children (Humayun Mirza and Shah Taj Begum) were married to two of Khaleel Shirazie's children. Mirza Ismail's younger daughter, Gauhar Taj Begum, was given in marriage to Mirza Namazie's son, Mirza Ghulam Hussain Namazie, who was Director of M.A. Namazie Ltd. in Singapore, which is where he lived. M. M. Ispahani the founder of The House of Ispahani and M. M. Ispahani Limited one of Bangladesh most illustrious businessmen was another of Mirza Ismail's cousin.

Sir Mirza's grandson, Akbar Mirza Khaleeli (son of Shah Taj Begum) joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1959 and retired in 1994. At various times, he served as ambassador in Iran, Italy and Australia. Even after his retirement, he served as Advisor to the Indian government on Middle Eastern Affairs for many years. He was married to his cousin Shakereh née Namazie (daughter of Gauhar Taj begum), herself a granddaughter Mirza Ismail. The couple became the parents of four daughters but grew estranged. In 1991, Shakereh Khaleeli was murdered (sedated and buried alive) by a confident who wanted to usurp her property, a large house with a vast garden at a very posh location in downtown Bangalore. 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 Esmath Khaleeli.

Agha Shahi and Agha Hilaly also inspired by Mirza Ismail, they chose to migrate to Pakistan during partition and became Foreign Secretaries of the Nation.

Further reading[edit]

  • Amin-ul-Mulq Sir Mirza Ismail Saheb by D. V. Gundappa (in Volume 4 of ಜ್ಞಾಪಕಚಿತ್ರಶಾಲೆ - ಮೈಸೂರಿನ ದಿವಾನರು)
  • The Regime of Sir Mirza Ismail (1998) by S. R. Ramaswamy
  • Picturesque Mysore (1939) by Sir Mirza Ismail
Government offices
Preceded by
Dewan of Mysore
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Hyderabad
Succeeded by


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Page 29 | Issue 34470, 4 January 1938 | London Gazette | The Gazette". www.thegazette.co.uk. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h P. 254-258, Business Legends by Gita Piramal (1998) – Published by Viking Penguin India
  3. ^ a b c d e f Koppal, Basavaraj. "Hyderabad Liberation - 10". Dharwad.com. Archived from the original on 29 July 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 November 2006. Retrieved 14 November 2006.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Welcome to Mysore Dasara". www.mysoredasara.com. Archived from the original on 26 August 2007.
  6. ^ Dwivedi, Rakesh. Gs In 60 Days. Tata McGraw-Hill Education. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-07-067078-5. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  7. ^ "Second Round Table Conference 1931 - GKToday". gktoday (.) in. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  8. ^ "Highlights from second & third Round table Conference:- SSC 2019". OwnTV. 25 August 2019. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  9. ^ Pratt, Frederick G. (1932). "The Indian Round Table Conference: Second Session". Pacific Affairs. 5 (2): 151–167. doi:10.2307/2749987. JSTOR 2749987. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  10. ^ Ismail (amin-ul-mulk), Sir Mirza Mahomed (1936). Speeches. Printed at the Government Press. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  11. ^ The who's who in Madras A pictorial who's who of distinguished personages, princes, zemindars and noblemen in the Madras Presidency. Pearl Press. 1932. p. 67. OCLC 564838708. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  12. ^ Ismail, Sir Mirza M. (1954). My Public Life: Recollections and Reflections. G. Allen & Unwin. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  13. ^ Radhakrishnan, S. (2 April 2019). Mahatma Gandhi: Essays and Reflections on his Life and Work. Routledge. p. 143. ISBN 978-0-429-60242-9. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  14. ^ Government, Indian (15 October 2018). Indian Round Table Conference Proceedings. Creative Media Partners, LLC. ISBN 978-0-343-20024-4. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  15. ^ Mitra, Asok (1991). The New India, 1948-1955: Memoirs of an Indian Civil Servant. Popular Prakashan. pp. 99, 107, 109. ISBN 978-81-7154-691-6. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  16. ^ Sharma, Suresh Kant (2005). Encyclopaedia of Higher Education: Convocation address. Mittal Publications. pp. 111–114. ISBN 978-81-8324-016-1. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  17. ^ Sir Mirza M. Ismail: Views and Opinions on His Retirement from the Office of Dewan of Mysore. Printed at the Bangalore Press. 1942. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  18. ^ Kāmat, Sūryanātha (1998). Studies on Dewan Sir Mirza Ismail: Collection of Seminar Papers. Mythic Society. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  19. ^ Hasan, Masudul (1976). Anecdotes of Quaid-i-Azam. Ferozsons. p. 39. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  20. ^ Iyengar, K. R. Srinivasa (1947). Indian Writers in Council: Proceedings of the First All-India Writers' Conference (Jaipur, 1945). International Book House for the P.E.N. All-India Centre. p. 3. Retrieved 14 June 2021.