The Great Personality Of His Times H.E.H.Mir Osman Ali Khan
Osman Ali Khan Bahadur Fateh Jung (April 8, 1886 – February 24, 1967) , His Exalted Highness (the British conferred this upon him), also named Fath Jang Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan Asif Jah VII, was the last Nizam (or Ruler) of the PRINCELY STATE of HYDERABAD in southern India. He ruled Hyderabad between 1911 and 1948, when it was merged with the dominion of India. During his days as Nizam, he was reputed to be the richest man in the world, even featuring on the cover ofTIME magazine, portrayed as such.
H.E.H.Mir Osman Ali Khan was born in Hyderabad on April 5, 1886 at Purani Haveli in Hyderabad city, the second son of Mir Mahboob Ali Khan (Asaf Jah VI), Nizam of Hyderabad, by his first wife Amat-uz-Zahrunnisa Begum. The death of his elder brother in 1887 rendered H.E.H.Mir Osman Ali Khan the heir apparent of Hyderabad. Great attention was paid to his education, and eminent scholars were engaged to teach H.E.H.Mir Osman Ali Khan English, Urdu and Persian. He was also tutored in Islamic studies by Hafiz Anwarullah Faruqi of the Jami`ah Nizamiyyah of Hyderabad.
On April 14, 1906, H.E.H.Mir Osman Ali Khan married Dulhan Pasha Begum, daughter of Nawab Jahangir Jung. She was the first of his seven wives and the mother of at least the two eldest of his sons. Their eldest son, Azam Jah, was married to Durru Shehvar, daughter of Abdul Mejid ll the last caliph and sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Although he was one of the richest men in the world with his brother Nawab Sakawath Jung Bahadur, the Nizam led a very simple life. His lifestyle was frugal, and many stories about his parsimony have become apocryphal in Hyderabad. He would use the 185-carat JACOB DIAMOND as a paperweight.
Ruler of Hyderabad
A cover story by TIME in February 22, 1937 called the Nizam the Richest man in the world.
H.E.H.Mir Osman Ali Khan acceeded as Nizam of Hyderabad upon the death of his father in 1911. The state of Hyderabad was the largest of all princely states in pre-independence India. With an area of 86,000 square miles (223,000 km²), it was roughly the size of UK and SCOTLAND together. It’s ruler, who was the highest-ranking prince in all of British India, was entitled to a 21-gun salute, held the unique title of “Nizam” and was styled “His Exalted Highness,” a distinction reserved for him alone.
H.E.H.Mir Osman Ali Khan was the absolute ruler of this principality. In some accounts, he is held to have been a benevolent ruler who patronized education, science and development. Indeed, compared to his predecessors, H.E.H.Mir Osman Ali Khan`s 37-year rule witnessed progress: electricity, railways, roads and airways were developed, the Nizamsagar lake in Hyderabad city was excavated and some irrigation projects on the Tungabhadra river were undertaken. Nearly all the major public buildings in Hyderabad city, such as the Osmania General Hospital, Andhra Pradesh High Court, Asafiya Library now called as State Central Library, Town Hall now called as Assembly Hall, Jubilee Hall, Hyderabad Museum now called as State Museum and other buildings were built during his rule. Up to 11% of the Nizam’s budget was spent on education: Osmania University was founded, schools and colleges (and even a “Department for Translation”) was set up. Primary education was made compulsory and provided free to poor sections of society. However, the Nizam (as also his predecessors) have been criticised for largely ignoring the native languages of the areas ruled by them, and according primacy to Urdu, a language popularly associated with Muslim culture in India. H.E.H.Mir Osman Ali Khan donated generously to many worthy institutions in India and abroad, recipients of his largesse included educational institutions such as the Jamia Nizamia, the Dar-Ul-Uloom Deoband and the Banaras Hindu University.
Events of 1947/48
India gained its independence in 1947. At the same time, the country was partitioned on communal lines and Pakistan was carved out as a Muslim nation. The princely states were left free to make whatever arrangement they wished with either India or Pakistan. While virtually every other state acceded unto one or the other of the two countries shortly after independence, the Nizam sought to gain recognition for Hyderabad as an independent constitutional monarchy within the British Commonwealth. This proposal was rejected unambiguously by the British government. The Nizam then resolved upon exploring the possibility of independence. 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 on a similar vein. He also concurrently encouraged the activities of the Razakars, a Volunteer Muslim organization that was opposed to any agreement with the government of India.
Finally, under the political leadership of prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Home Minister of India, India launched a Police Action(code-named “Operation Polo”) in September 1948 to forcibly acquire and merge the state of Hyderabad into the Dominion of India. The Police Action achieved success within a matter of days. Hyderabad ceased to exist as a sovereign political entity and became a state within the Union of India. After these events, the Nizam was appointed “Rajpramukh” (constitutional, figurehead Governor) of the state by the government of India. He continued in this office until 1956, when the state was dismembered pursuant to the linguistic reorganization of states. It’s territory is now distributed between the Indian states of Andhrapradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
H.E.H.Mir Osman Ali Khan, the last Nizam, died on Friday, February 24, 1967. It was the end of a princely era. His funeral procession was one of the largest in Indian history, a testimony to his popularity. His Exalted Highness had willed that he be buried in the Judi Mosque that faced his fabulous residence, that is, the King Kothi palace is his final resting place.