DAXSLY – Nizam of Hyderabad

We are all getting amazed by the treasures in the Padmanaabaswamy temple. All those were from the Princely State of Travancore. There was an another princely state Hyderabad – whose Nizam was the fifth most wealthiest person of all times. He was even featured in the cover of Times. This Nizam was very frugal and known for idiosyncrasies. I have added two articles ( one more in tamil) about the Nizam.

All this says we were rich those days but the rulers were not making their subjects rich but only making themselves richer. Finally all were looted by the Britishers then and now by our politicians. ( our modern day Maharajahs)

Enjoy Reading,

Nizam of Hyderabad: Fifth on the Forbes ‘All Time Wealthiest’

11 April 2008 by FabbiGabby

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Nizam of Hyderabad, is Fifth on Forbes ‘All Time Wealthiest’ list of 2008 with Net Worth: 210.8 Billion USD. Bill Gates is twentieth, Net Worth: 101.0 Billion USD. This is a list of historical figures who lived during the Industrial age, Information Age, Middle Ages, Ancient world and is solely based on net worth accumulated by inheritance or personal earnings. The estimated net worth of these people is calculated into inflation-adjusted 2007 dollars, from when historical figures were at the peak of their net worth

Last Nizam of Princely State of Hyderabad and Berar, Fath Jang Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan Asaf Jah VII, was The Richest Man in the 1940s, having a fortune estimated at $2 billion. He ruled Hyderabad between 1911 and 1948 until it was made part of India as a result of Operation Polo launched by the Indian Government.

Nizam of Hyderabad even featured on the cover of TIME magazine. While rulers of other big states like Kashmir, Jodhpur Bikaner, Indore, and Bhopal were given the title of “His Excellency” (H.E.), the Nizam of Hyderabad alone had the title of “His Exalted Highness” (H.E.H.)

During the rule of Aurangzeb’s great grandson Muhammad Shah (1719-1748), the governor of Deccan was one Nizam-ul-Mulk. In 1723 he decided to carve himself a kingdom. Another Mughal functionary, Mubariz Khan had created a near independent state in Hyderabad, which was attacked by the Nizam in 1724. After forsaking his capital in Aurangabad, the Nizam moved to Hyderabad and founded the strongest independent Muslim state of the South.

Later Nizams played puppet pawns in the hands of the British and the French of Pondicherry. After French were defeated by the British, the Nizam of Hyderabad switched his allegiance to the British and ruled till Independence of India under British protection.

When India attained her Independence, and Sardar Patel was in the process of integrating India’s princely states, Jammu and Kashmir, Junagadh and Hyderabad decided to sought accession with Pakistan or declare independence. Hyderabad was the largest of the princely states, and included parts of present-day Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra states. Its ruler, the Nizam Osman Ali Khan was a Muslim, although over 80% of its people were Hindu. The Nizam of Hyderabad kept on changing his position and Patel could take no more.

Patel ordered the Indian Army to integrate Hyderabad (in his capacity as Acting Prime Minister) when Nehru was touring Europe.The action was termed Operation Polo, in which thousands of Razakar forces had been killed, but Hyderabad was comfortably secured into the Indian Union.

, Nizam of Hyderabad had lost all its powers, and was merely a ceremonial chief of the state.

Hyderabad, over the course of seven generations of Nizams, had become the richest state of the world. However, the world related most to its seventh ruler, Mir Osaman Ali Khan who is famous for his idiosyncrasies and wealth. He negotiated with the Portuguese in the 1940s to buy Goa from them. He owned world’s grandiose treasures but lived like a pauper, smoke cheap bidhis, and wear tattered clothes.

His collection of pearls alone could fill up an Olympic size swimming pool. He gained the famous Jacob Diamond – the 400 carat diamond, double the size of the Kohinoor and world’s fifth largest, through a famous ‘Diamond Suit’ in 1892. The Jacob Diamond was later purchased by the Government of India in 1995 after a battle of 24 years with the Nizam’s trust for an estimated $13 million along with other Jewels of The Nizams, and is held at the Reserve Bank of India, Mumbai. The value of Jacob Diamond alone is 100 million pounds. The seventh and last Nizam found the duck-egg-sized diamond hidden in his father’s slippers and used it as a paperweight.

Times reported on Feb 22, 1937 – Most news stories hung on the Richest Man are chiefly chatter about how careful His Exalted Highness is with his pennies — whereas $5,000 is his approximate daily income, his jewels have an estimated value of $150,000,000, he reputedly has salted down $250,000,000 in gold bars and his capital totals some $1,400,000,000, not to mention the fabled “Mines of Golconda…

…The cash Silver Jubilee gifts to the Nizam of Hyderabad, by his subjects were expected this week to total at least $1,000,000.

Nizam’s Jewels, valued at $ 250- $ 350 million by the Sotheby’s and Christie’s, date back to early 18th century to early 20 century. Crafted in gold and silver and embellished with enameling, the jewels are set with Colombian emeralds, diamonds from the Golconda mines, Burmese rubies and spinels, and pearls from Basra and Gulf of Mannar.

While India thought they had settled all deals with the Nizams and their 200 heirs, they are back in the news.

Osman Ali Khan nominated not his son, but grandson Mukarram Jah (born in France and had Turkish mother), to be the next (and last) titled Nizam of Hyderabad. Mukarram Jah could not take the battles over his grandfather’s wealth and escaped to Australia where in spite of having the best possible education money could buy (Harrow, Cambridge, LSE, Sandhurst), he run bulldozers, married and divorced five times, one of them being former Miss Turkey. He now lives in a two room apartment in Istanbul, Turkey.

Nizam of Hyderabad is reported to have impregnated 86 of his mistresses, siring more than 100 illegitimate children and a sea of rival claimants.

However, Jah has not been able to escape it all. He has four sons and a daughter from his five wives. The eldest of them, Azmet Jah , a cameraman in Hollywood who has worked with Steven Spielberg, Richard Attenborough, Nicolas Roeg , hopes to come back to Hyderabad.

“I am determined to maintain what has been saved. We’ll not make the same mistakes again.”

His mother Esra has been visiting Hyderabad and overlooking the work of restoration of Palace Chowmahalla which was compared to the Enchanted Gardens of the Arabian Nights.

India is now on its way to make a final deal with the Nizams. Today, Government of India agreed for an out-of-court settlement with Pakistan and descendants of Nizam of Hyderabad. Mir Osaman Ali Khan had on September 20, 1948 transfered one million pounds maintained in the account of the Nizam of Hyderabad’s government in National Westminster Bank to an account of Habib Ibrahim Rahimtoola, the then Pakistani High Commissioner to Britain, as the Nizam dithered over which of the two new nations to join. He then cabled the bank to freeze the transaction when pressured by the government of India.

In 1957, after several rounds of litigation between the Nizam and the Pakistani government, the case reached Britain’s House of Lords, which ruled that the account could only be unfrozen with the agreement of all the parties. (Click on Picture on Right for the document).

The amount has grown to about 30 million pound sterling and New Delhi intends to broker a compromise with the two heirs of the Nizam of Hyderabad and Pakistan. Will it be easy?

Mr Muhammad Safiullah, cultural adviser to the Nizam’s Trust, said,”Mir Osman Ali Khan’s grandsons Shahmat Jah, Mufakham Jah and Mukarram Jah, granddaughter Fatima Fouzia and other family members have all staked claim to part of the funds. Since there’s no Nizam government now, the Nizam’s trust and his legal heirs will also get a part of the money. The ruler wanted to help the nascent Pakistani government in 1948 as it had no money to pay even the salaries of its employees.”

Nizam’s heirs do not wish to share the money with either India or Pakistan. “The money is ours and we alone are the legal heirs. Once the matters become clear, we will lay claim,” they say.

Almost sixty years after Independence, and 37 years after Indira Gandhi abolished the Privy Purses, our fascination with the fortunes of India’s maharajahs and nizams has not abated it seems!

Click on the picture to see some recent pictures of the royal family’s visit to Hyderabad.

The prince who behaved like a pauper
K.R.N. Swamy

AS the National Museum of India is exhibiting the Jewels of the Nizam in its galleries,, it is interesting to consider, how carefully the last Nizam had hoarded his wealth. His Exalted Highness, Mir Osman Ali Khan, the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad (1886-1967) was the richest man in the world for the first 50 years of the 20th century and his wealth was valued equivalent to one billion U.S. dollars in 1940s (Rs 20 billion in today’s money value). However, he was also one of the most miserly millionaires in history.

Soon after his accession to the throne of Hyderabad in 1911, the 25-year-old Nizam had visited Delhi for the fabulous 1911 Delhi Durbar of Emperor George V. He was a very pious Muslim, after he did his weekly Friday prayers in the historic Jama Masjid built by the Mughals in Delhi, he was approached by the Ghantawala family. The latter had been the official sweetmeat suppliers to the Mughal Emperors for centuries. They wanted the richest Muslim potentate in India to visit their shop! He agreed to do so and a respectful crowd followed him to the store. With a lot of fanfare, the firm gave him an enormous packet of confectionery as their gift and the Nizam wanted to buy more. But as they reluctantly told him the price, he began to shout in anger that he would not pay such an exorbitant price. The crowd had come to see an opulent Mughal but vanished on finding a miserly bargainer.

One of the favourite feats of the Indian princes in those days, was to throw a silver coin high in the air and pierce it with a pistol shot. The teenaged heir-apparent, Osman Ali Khan, was trained in this trick shot and his father Nizam Mir Mehbub Ali Khan after once visiting the training venue, found that the prince was very keen to hunt up the blasted pieces of silver coin and retain them. Amused, the indulgent father, used to leave extra bags of silver coins for the son to keep. But, still, before leaving the training area, the boy would carefully pick up the silver scraps, something that was symbolic of the Nizam until he died.

British residents to his court found just one cigarette, one biscuit and one plain cup of tea kept for their benefits during their audiences. On occasions, the Nizam even borrowed cigarettes from them and "forgot" to return the full packet! Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, the Nizam’s legal advisor reminisces how once the Nizam offered him a cigarette and when he accepted it, the Nizam politely took it back, clipped it into two with a clipper he had in his pocket and offered one half to the guest! One Resident’s wife meeting the Nizam in the Hyderabad Race Course was surprised to find him offering her ice-cream. But her surprise turned to a cynical smile as she found the Nizam sending the ice -cream cup three times back to the restaurant as he felt that it contained too much ice cream and he would have to pay for it!

He used to write his own frugal menus and insisted that everybody follow the same in the royal harem (which numbered as many as 40 wives and a proportionate number of children). Once while inspecting the store room, he was aghast to find that hundreds of tins of ghee (clarified butter) "gifted" to him by a Maharaja had gone rancid as the cook had not used it. Sleepless with annoyance at the wastage/loss, the Nizam thought over the matter and came out with a wonderful idea. He would gift the tins to his numerous noble-courtiers. The catch was that whenever any noble received a gift from the Nizam, he was supposed to acknowledge it with a return "offering" or Nazar, which could vary from a silver rupee to a hundred gold coins. Soon, instead of rancid butter tins, the Nizam’s personal treasury was full. In fact, aggrieved at this Nazar business, which was compulsory at all State functions, his suzerains, the British, had to tactfully tell him that they would not allow him to exploit his position and thus rob the officials. He was just to touch the nazar coin and immediately "remit" it back to the giver!

Lord Irwin, the Viceroy of India experienced a strange instance of the stinginess of Nizam, when he went to Hyderabad on a state visit in the 1920s. Shocked at the Nizam leaning on a walking stick that was cracked at one end, he told the Nizam "Your Exalted Highness…. Please take care!". The Nizam listened to the Viceroy and when he next met him, triumphantly showed him the walking stick. He had just put a steel ring around the crack to prevent it from expanding further. Thirty years later, the same drama was repeated, when General J.N. Chowdhury, the Military Governor of Hyderabd in 1949-50, objected to the decrepit sherwani of His Highness, while he was planning to greet Pandit Nehru on his first visit to the Prime Minister of India to Hyderabad. The Nizam promised to remedy the matter and as they were awaiting the arrival of Nehru in the airport, showed the General, the newly-darned neck portion of the old sherwani.

For those who wanted to serve him, he had what is known as the "blanket check". The Nizam would find the price of the cheapest blanket available in Hyderabad market and whenever the applicant came for the interview, would tell him to get a blanket from the market as his "test". Needless to say, the fellow who paid the minimum for the blanket was favoured with the post.

In the 1930s, suddenly it struck him that his subjects might rebel and force him to flee his dominions without any money. He ordered six lorry loads full of bullion to be kept ready in the palace backyard, ready to be driven away to British India should such an emergency rise. After his death all the lorries were found, with their tyre rubber perished, wheels sunk to the hubs in the garden but with the treasures intact.

Further, in 1967, as his successor-grandson, Prince Mukarram Jah was keeping wake over the Nizam’s body, one senior courtier advised him to take the keys from the dead grandfather’s neck-chain and secure the treasures, before interested parties looted the safe vaults. Sure enough, it is alleged in certain circles, that there was an induced electrical power failure in the palace that night, and six huge trunks filled with centuries-old heirlooms were shifted out for destinations unknown, by miscreants. It is a pity that the Nizam did not subscribe to ancient adage, that even though you cannot take your treasures with you to heaven, you can send them in advance, by utilising them for worthwhile causes, while you are still alive.

டைம் அட்டையில் ஒரு கஞ்ச மகாபிரபு!

July 8, 2009 Mugil

‘எவ்வளவுதான் தரமுடியும்?’

‘முப்பது ரூபாய்’

‘சரி, பணத்தைக் கொடுத்துவிட்டு அழைத்துச் செல்லுங்கள்.’ என்று வியாபாரத்தை முடித்தார் ஹைதராபாத் நிஜாம் ஒஸ்மான் அலிகான் என்ற ஏழாம் அஸஃப் ஜா (1886 – 1967).

நிஜாமாகப் பதவிக்கு வந்ததும் (1911) அவர் செய்த முக்கியமான காரியம் இதுதான். ஆறாவது நிஜாம் மெஹபூப் அலிகான் இறந்த பிறகு அவரது துணைவிகளை விற்றுவிட்டார். ‘எனக்கு ஆகவே ஆகாத தந்தை, சேர்த்துக் கொண்ட துணைவிகளுக்கெல்லாம் நான் ஏன் சோறும் சிக்கனும் போட்டுக் கொண்டிருக்க வேண்டும்?’ என்ற எண்ணத்தால் நிகழ்த்தப்பட்ட சிக்கன நடவடிக்கை அது. சில துணைவிகளை விற்று, பணத்துக்குப் பதிலாக மாங்காய்களாகப் பெற்றுக் கொண்டார் என்றுகூட குறிப்புகள் இருக்கின்றன.

அநாவசியச் செலவுகளை எப்படியெல்லாம் தவிர்க்கலாம் என்ற சிந்தனையே ஒஸ்மானின் மனத்தில் எப்போதும் ஓடிக் கொண்டிருக்கும். அதன் மாறுபட்ட பரிமாணங்களே பல விஷயங்களில் கஞ்சத்தனமாக வெளிப்பட்டன.

‘நிஜாம், உங்கள் சால்வை மிகவும் பழசாகிவிட்டது. புதிதாக ஒன்றை எடுத்துக் கொள்ளலாமே?’ என்றார் அமைச்சர் ஒருவர். அதற்கு ஒஸ்மான் அளித்த பதில், ‘எடுக்கலாம். ஆனால் நான் அதுக்கு பதினெட்டு ரூபாய்தான் ஒதுக்கியிருக்கிறேன். புதிய சால்வை இருபது ரூபாய் ஆகிறதே.’

ஒருமுறை வைஸ்ராய் லின்லித்கோ, ஒஸ்மானைச் சந்தித்தபோது அவரது வாக்கிங் ஸ்டிக்கைக் கவனித்தார். இரண்டாக உடைந்த அது, ஒட்டப்பட்டு நூலால் சுற்றப்பட்டிருந்தது. அதை வைத்துக் கொண்டே எந்தவித கூச்சமும் இன்றி வெளியிடங்களுக்குச் சென்று கொண்டிருந்தார் ஒஸ்மான். தன்னுடன் பேச வரும் ஒரு சமஸ்தானத்தின் நிஜாம், இப்படி ஒடிந்த ஸ்டிக்குடன் வருகிறாரே என்று வைஸ்ராய்க்குத்தான் கூச்சமாகப் போய்விட்டது. அடுத்தமுறை ஒஸ்மானைச் சந்தித்தபோது ஒரு புதிய உயர்தரமான வாக்கிங் ஸ்டிக்கைப் பரிசளித்தார். வாய் நிறையப் புன்னகை வழிய, அதனை வாங்கி வைத்துக் கொண்டார் ஒஸ்மான்.

அப்போதைய இந்திய அரசின் முதன்மை ஆலோசகராக வி.பி. மேனன் பணியாற்றிக் கொண்டிருந்தார். அவர் ஒருமுறை ஒஸ்மானைச் சந்திக்கச் சென்றார். பல்வேறு விஷயங்களைப் பேசிக் கொண்டிருந்தனர். ஒஸ்மான் தன் சார்மினார் சிகரெட் பாக்கெட்டை எடுத்தார். மேனனிடம் நீட்டினார். அதுதான் அப்போதைய மலிவான சிகரெட். பாக்கெட் பன்னிரண்டு பைசாதான். பத்து சிகரெட் இருக்கும்.

மேனனுடைய பிராண்ட் வேறு. போயும் போயும் சார்மினாரைப் புகைத்து வாய் நாற்றத்துடனா அலைய முடியும் என்று யோசித்த அவர், ‘வேண்டாம்’ என்று மறுத்தார். ஒஸ்மான் வற்புறுத்தவெல்லாம் இல்லை. தம் வாயில் ஒரு சிகரெட்டை வைத்துப் பற்ற வைத்தார். மேனனுக்கும் வாய் நமநமத்தது. தன் சட்டைப் பையில் இருந்து விலையுயர்ந்த சிகரெட் பாக்கெட் ஒன்றை எடுத்து உடைத்தார்.

நாகரிகமாக ஒஸ்மானிடம் நீட்டினார். வாயில்தான் புகைந்துகொண்டிருக்கிறதே என்று மறுத்திருக்கலாம். ஆனால் ஒஸ்மான் அதிலிருந்து நான்கைந்தை எடுத்துத் தன் சார்மினார் பாக்கெட்டுக்குள் வைத்துக் கொண்டார். அறையிலிருந்து புகை கலைந்து முடிந்த சில நொடிகளில் அவர்களது சந்திப்பும் முடிந்தது.

சில நாள்களிலேயே இருவரும் மீண்டும் சந்தித்துக் கொண்டனர். பேச்சின் இடையே, ஒஸ்மான் தன் சார்மினார் பாக்கெட்டை எடுத்தார். மேனனிடமிருந்து எடுத்த புதிய பிராண்ட் சிகரெட்டுகள் எண்ணிக்கை குறையாமல் அப்படியே இருந்தன.

அதிகாரிகளோ விருந்தினர்களோ ஒஸ்மானை சந்திக்கச் சென்றால் அவர் உபசரிக்கும் விதமே தனியானது. வருபவர்களை உட்காரச் சொல்லுவார். அவர்கள் தனக்கு ஏதாவது கொண்டு வந்திருக்கிறார்களா என்று பார்ப்பார். எது கொடுத்தாலும் வாங்கி வைத்துக் கொள்வார். பேசத் தொடங்குவார்கள்.

சில நிமிடங்கள் கழித்து அரண்மனைப் பணியாள் கையில் ஒரு தட்டுடன் வருவார். அதில் முக்கால்வாசி நிரம்பிய நிலையில் இரண்டு கோப்பைகளில் டீ, இரண்டு பிஸ்கட்டுகள் மட்டுமே இருக்கும். ஆளுக்கு ஒரு கோப்பை டீ, ஒரே ஒரு பிஸ்கட். அவ்வளவுதான். பெட்டி பெட்டியாக தங்க பிஸ்கட் வைத்திருந்தால் என்ன, சாப்பிடக்கூடிய பிஸ்கெட்டை வீணாக்கக்கூடாது என்பது ஒஸ்மானின் உயரிய எண்ணம்.

ரத்தத்தோடு கலந்துவிட்ட குணம் அது. வாழ்நாளில் எந்த நிலையிலும் ஒஸ்மான் தனது குணத்தை மாற்றிக் கொள்ளவே இல்லை. அப்படிப்பட்ட நிஜாம் ஒஸ்மான் அலிகானைப் பற்றி, டைம் வாரப் பத்திரிகை ஒரு கட்டுரை வெளியிட்டது. அட்டையில் ஒஸ்மானின் ஓவியம் கம்பீரமாகக் காட்சியளித்தது. (1937, பிப்ரவரி 22)

கட்டுரை அவரது கஞ்சத்தனத்தைப் பற்றியல்ல.‘உலகின் மாபெரும் பணக்காரர்’ என்பதற்காக. HIS EXALTED HIGHNESS THE NIZAM OF HYDERABAD என்று தலைப்பிட்டிருந்தது.

இன்றைய தேதியில் முகேஷ் அம்பானிக்கு அந்த பாக்கியம் கிடைத்ததோ இல்லையோ, அன்றைய தேதியில் நிஜாம் ஒஸ்மான் அலிகானுக்கு அந்தப் பேறு கிடைத்தது. டைம் பத்திரிகை மட்டுமல்ல, உலகில் பல பெரிய பத்திரிகைகள் அப்போது அந்தச் செய்தியை வெளியிட்டு நிஜாமின் சொத்துக் கணக்கை விதவிதமாகக் கூறின.

நிஜாமின் தினப்படி வருமானம் சுமார் ஐயாயிரம் அமெரிக்க டாலர்கள். அவர் கொத்துக் கொத்தாகச் சேர்த்து வைத்துள்ள நகைகளின் மொத்த மதிப்பு குத்துமதிப்பாக பதினைந்து கோடி அமெரிக்க டாலர்கள். அவர் உப்புப் போட்டு கெட்டுப் போகாமல் பாதுகாப்பாக வைத்துள்ள தங்கக் கட்டிகளின் மதிப்பு இருபத்தைந்து கோடி அமெரிக்க டாலர்கள் இருக்கும். அதையும் சேர்த்து நிஜாமின் ஒட்டுமொத்த சொத்தின் மதிப்பு தோராயமோ தோராயமாக நூற்று நாற்பது கோடி அமெரிக்க டாலர்கள் இருக்கலாம் என்று வியந்து எழுதியிருந்தது டைம் பத்திரிகை. இந்தக் கணக்கில் ஒஸ்மான் சேர்த்து வைத்திருக்கும் வைர, மரகதக் கற்களின் மதிப்பு சேர்க்கப்பட்டவில்லை என்பது கவனிக்கப்படவேண்டியது.

சரி, முதலிடம் ஒஸ்மானுக்கு. இரண்டாவது இடம்?

வெற்றிகரமாக கார்களைத் தயாரித்து வந்த ஹென்றி ஃபோர்டுக்கு. ஆனால் என்ன, அவரது மொத்த சொத்து மதிப்பு, ஒஸ்மான் சேர்த்து வைத்திருந்த நகைகளின் மதிப்பில் பாதிகூட இல்லை என்பதே உண்மை.

(குமுதம் ரிப்போர்ட்டரில் எழுதிய அகம் புறம் அந்தப்புரம் தொடரில் இருந்து ஒரு சிறு பகுதி. இன்னும் சில மாதங்களில் அகம் புறம் அந்தப்புரம் குண்டு புத்தகமாக வெளிவர இருக்கிறது.)



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