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Mir Osman Ali Khan Nizam - VII

Mir Osman Au Khan was born in Hyderabad on 5th April, 1886 at Purani Haveli. Since he was the heir-apparent, great attention was paid to his education, and eminent scholars were engaged to teach him English, Urdu and Persian. Mir Osman All Khan was a great scholar and wrote poetry in Urdu and Persian. On 14th April, 1906 he was married to Duihan Pasha Begum, daughter of Nawab Jahangir Jung, at Eden Bagh at the age of 21. After the death of his father, Nawab Mir Mahboob Ali Khan,on 29th August, 1911 Mir Osman Au Khan was proclaimed the Nizam by Nawab Shahab Jung, the Minister of Police. The formal coronation was held on 12th September, 1911 at Chow-Mahalla Palace, when Maharaja Kishen Pershad was the Prime Minister and Alexander Pinhey was the Resident. Mir Osman Au Khan, at the very outset, made up his mind to build up a modern State on a par with the most advanced countries of the world. He declared: “In every way I will do my best to do good to my people and my State”. Underneath this simple statement lay a current of strong convictions and unbounded sympathies which were revealed to the public as soon as he began his rule. One of the main reasons for all-round progress was the financial stability which Hyderabad achieved during his reign.

During the reign of His Exalted Highness the policy of the Hyderabad State was to improve administration, develop natural resources, establish cultural institutions and the amelioration of the condition of the people. Some important events during his reign were as follows. In 1912 Maharaja Sir Kishen Pershad resigned as the Prime Minister and in his place Nawab Yousuf Au Khan Salar Jung III was appointed as the Prime Minister. In 1914 Salar Jung resigned and the Nizam took the administration of the Dominion in his own hands. In 1914, within three years of his ascension to the throne the first world war broke out. The assistance rendered by His Exalted Highness to the British in the Great War was three-fold, military, financial and material. Under the first head may be mentioned the despatch of the Hyderabad Imperial Service cavalry to Egypt in 1914. It served there until the conclusion of hostilities. His Exalted Highness was the Honorary Col. of the 20 Deccan Horse. In 1918, Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan was elevated by King George V from “His Highness” to “His Exalted Highness”. In a letter dated 24th January, 1918, the title “Faithful Ally of the British Government” was conferred on him. He refused to adopt the title of King and preferred to be called the Subedar of the Deccan. The outstanding event of this period was the epoch-making “Farman” (Charter) of His Exalted Highness issued on 17th August, 1917 in which he announced his decision to start a separate university for Hyderabad with Urdu as the medium of instruction. With the formation of Osmania University on 17th August, 1917 the university became the first university in India to impart university education through an Indian language while retaining English as a compulsory subject of study. Subsequently fourteen hundred acres of land were acquired at Adikmet where the Nizam laid the foundation-stone for a permanent building in July, 1934. I-Ic took a personal interest in the construction work. The Arts College building possesses elements of Hindu and Muslim architecture beautifully blended holding before the students an example of unity in diversity. The university which was being run in several rented buildings was finally shifted to its present campus in 1939.

The first step towards bringing the university into existence was taken in 1919 by the creation of a translation bureau with the object of getting textbooks on various subjects translated into Urdu. The Archaeological Department was constituted in 1914, to conserve the principal monuments of the Dominion. It published a large number of reports, monographs and journals. The greatest achievement of the department was the meticulous conservation of the Ajanta frescoes at a cost of Rs. 30 lakh. It was done with the help of two experts from Italy, Professor Cecconi and Count Orsini. A landmark in his regime was the inauguration of a new constitution of the Government on 17th November, 1919 with an executive council. In April, 1922 during the time of Sir Ali Imam, on the recommendation of Chief Justice Nawab Mirza Yar Jung the judicial administration of the State was separated from its executive administration and Hyderabad in this field was more or less a pioneer. The reform resulted in promptness of justice on the one hand and efficiency of the administration on the other.

In 1923, Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan celebrated the 200th anniversary of the establishment of the Asaf Jahi dynasty. A Royal Darbar was held at Chow Mahalla Palace. In 1927, Osmania Medical College was inaugurated and in 1929 Osmania Engineering College was opened. Hyderabad city which is situated on the banks of the river Musi was frequently devastated by floods, the last of which was in 1908. It caused great loss of life and property. To avoid recurrence of this and at the same time to provide a plentiful supply of pure drinking water for the city and suburbs a dam was built in 1920 across the river at a place ten miles higher up, called Osman Sagar. In 1927 another reservoir was built and named Himayat Sagar. Both the projects were designed by Sir Visveswaraya. On 12th November, 1931 Prince Azam Jah Bahadur, the elder son of the Nizam, was married to Princess Durru-Shehvar, daughter of ex-Sultan Abdul Majeed of Turkey and Prince Moazzam Jah Bahadur, the second son, was married to Princess Niloufer, at Nice in southern France. One of the important events of this period was the return of the Residency to the Nizam in 1933.

Residency Bazaar (now known as Sultan Bazaar) was under the control of the British for over a century. On 14th May, 1933 the Resident,Humphrey Keyes,returned the Residency area to the Nizam. To celebrate the occasion, the Nizam declared a holiday. An Aviation Board was established under a Farman of His Exalted Highness in 1932, and subsequently an agreement was entered into with Messrs. Tata and Sons Limited, for the diversion of the Karachi-Madras air-mail service via Hyderabad. The inauguration of this service actually took place on 4th January, 1935. Between 1931 and 1933 three round-table conferences were held in London, and Hyderabad was represented by Sir Akbar Hydari assisted by Sir Amin Jung and Sir Mebdi Yar Jung. The Berar issue was raised and subsequently, Lord Wellington agreed to consider the issue favourably, on 1st December, 1933. As a result of an agreement between the Nizam and the British the sovereignty of the Nizam over Berar was accepted on 24th October, 1936. Berar was to remain with the British and the British Government agreed to pay surplus revenue to the Nizam. The Viceroy revised the title of the Nizam to “His Exalted Highness the Nizam of Hyderabad and Berar”. And his heir-apparent Nawab Azam Jah Bahadur was conferred with the title “His Highness the Prince of Berar”.

The Ecclesiastical department of the State controlled and safeguarded the interest and the places of worship of all religions without distinction. A unique feature of the Ecclesiastical Department was that in the villages, patels and patwaris 90% of them Hindus — have acted as Ecclesiastical Officers, and that 125 Muslim institutions such as mosque and tombs were managed by Hindus who received cash grants from the State. After completing twenty-five years of his reign the Nizam celebrated his Silver Jubilee in great style. But he did so on 13th February, 1937 instead of 1936. In 1939, the second world war broke out and again the British requested the Nizam for help. The Nizam helped Britain with troops and 25 million pounds. During Sir Stafford Cripps’ mission to India in 1942, the issue of paramountcy was revived. The Nawab of Chattari, Prime Minister of Hyderabad, led a delegation to Delhi. He invited the attention of the British Government to the treaties of 1766, 1768, 1800, 1883 and 1860 and the agreements of 1902 and 1936. According to these treaties the British Government was bound to return to the Nizam large territories without which it was not possible for him to remain independent particularly without any outlet to the sea. However, on 1st December, 1945 the British agreed to return to the Nizam the Southern Area of Secunderabad cantonment. During that period the Nawab of Chattari was the President of Council and Sir Arthur Lothian was the Resident. Sir Stafford Cripps assured the Nizam’s delegation that when British India became independent, the native states would be free to either join the Union of India or remain independent.

On 10th July, 1947 Harold Macmillan introduced “the India independence” bill in which no mention was made regarding the policy on Hyderabad or any other Indian state. At this stage the Nii,am felt that India would be divided on a communal basis and since in his State two major communities lived in peace side by side, he felt it would not be wise and fair on his part to support the division of India on a communal basis and so decided to remain independent. When the British withdrew from India on 15th August, 1947 Hyderabad was an independent State but it was not feasible ft)r the Nizam to remain so under the prevailing circumstances and geographical reasons. On 29th November, 1947 on the advice of Eord Mountbatten and Sir Walter Menckton, the Nizam signed a “standstill agreement” with the Dominion of India for a period of one year. On 1st November, 1947 the Nawab of Chattari resigned and the Nizam appointed Sir Mehdi Yar Jung as the Prime Minister. On 28th November, 1947 the Nizam dissolved the Executive Council and appointed Laiq Ali as the president of the new Council “Interim Government” and the Government of India appointed K.M. Munshi as Agent General who was stationed in Hyderabad. During this period, an atmosphere of suspicion prevailed. Allegations and counter allegations were made between two Governments.

The Nizam was unable to control the Razakar movement (volunteers), supported by local leaders in the State. Consequently, economic blockade was imposed by the Government of India. On 21st June 1948 Lord Mountbatten left India without solving the problem of native States. On 10th September, 1948 relations between the Nizam’s Government and the Government of India further deteriorated when the Nizam sent Nawab Mom Nawaz Jung to the United Nations Security Council to represent the Hyderabad case. On 13th September, 1948 the Indian Army began its “Police Action” against Hyderabad and on 17th September, 1948 the Ministry resigned. On 19th September, 1948 Hyderabad was oecupied by the Indian Army and military rule was imposed and Major General J.N. Chaudhury was appointed as the Military Governor. 1-lyderabad was merged with the Union of India.

For a smooth takeover the Government of India appointed the Nizam as the “Rajpramukh” of Hyderabad State, a position he held from 26th January 1950 to 31st October, 1956. His Exalted Highness Nawab Mir Osman Au Khan lived a simple life yet he was considered to be one of the richest men in the world. He donated generously to every worthy cause in India as well as abroad irrespective of caste and religion. If it was the Muslim theological school at Deoband which received financial help, it was also the privilege of the Benaras Hindu University which received financial help. The list of beneficiaries included Shantiniketan of Rabindranath Tagore, Aligarh Muslim University, Lady Hardinge Medical College, British Red Cross, etc. The Golden Temple at Amritsar also received an annual donation. The seventh Nizam who was usually looked upon as a miser by the world had the heart to spend money lavishly on things he thought fit and deserving. Mir Osman Ali Khan disliked ostentation. Soon after his coronation while attending a public prayer at Mecca Masjid he forbade any discrimination between himself and the rest of the congregation. “I do not wish that I should be accorded any formal greetings here. I would like to sit with the other MusLims in one of the rows, and as usual thereshould be no restriction on anybody”, he said. During the winter of 1939 the Nizam ordered his ADC to buy a blanket for him making it clear that the price should in no case exceed Rs. 25/-. His ADC went to the market and returned and told him that no blanket was available for less than Rs. 35/-. The Nizam turned round to the ADC and said that he would manage the winter somehow with his old blanket. Two hours after this incident there was a personal letter to the Nizam from the Maharaja of Bikaner for donation to the Benaras Hindu University.

The Nizam issued a farman granting Rs. one lakh for the university. The Nizam’s rule saw the growth of Hyderabad economically and culturally. Electricity, Railways, Roads and Airways were developed. Huge re ervoirs and irrigation projects such as Nizamsagar, Ali Sagar etc., were -ipleted. Preliminary work of Nagarjunasagar was undertaken. The O ania University colleges and schools were founded throughout the St . Nearly all the public buildings currently in use such as the Osmania Gei a1 Hospital, High Court, Central State Library, Unani Hospital, Jubii,.e Hall and all the buildings in the Public Garden were built during his time. The famous Hyderabad House in Delhi was constructed under the supervision of Nawab Ali Nawaz Jung. Hyderabad was one of the most lightly taxed states in the world. Rigorous economy was maintained in every branch of administration. The principal source of income was from land revenue.

An Industrial Fund was created with an initial capital of one crore rupees for the industrial development of the State. Large industries like Shahbad Cement, Sirpur Paper Mills and Nizam Sugar Factory were started. On 1st November, 1956 the map of India was redrawn Ofl a linguistic basis and Hyderabad became the capital of Andhra Pradesh. Pandit Nehru offered the Nizam the Governorship of the new State but the Nizam declined and retired from all public life. Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan died on Friday the 24th February, 1967. It was the end of a princely era. His body was wrapped in the same Asaf Jahi flag which was hoisted on the King Kothi Palace throughout his reign. More than 10 lakh people paid their homage to the last ruling Nizam. He was buried with full military honours at ‘Judi Masjid’ near King Kothi next to his mother Zehra Begum’s tomb.

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