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Raymonds Tomb

On the top of a small hillock in Saroor Nagar in east Hyderabad stands an impressive obelisk of polished black granite, 23 feet high. It stands on a masonry platform 180 feet long and 80 feet wide.

On the tomb are inscribed the initials “J.R.”. This is the resting-place of Michel Joachim Marie Raymond, French adventurer, military commander and the Nizam’s confidant. A foreigner who was popular as no other has been since in Hyderabad, Raymond came to be revered as a saint by Hindus “Musa Ram”, and Muslims “Musa Rahim”, alike. As Malleson puts it “No European of mark who followed him in India ever succeeded in gaining to such an extent the love, the esteem and the admiration of the natives of the country.”

When he was just 20 years old, Raymond landed in Pondicherry in 1775 to trade, like his father. But a chequered and eventful career was in store for him. When Pondicherry fell to the British in 1778, the young Frenchman became a soldier of fortune. He journeyed to Mysore and joined the service of Hyder Ali, the “Tiger Chief.” When Au died in 1785, he joined the French Corps under Basalat Jung,the Nizam’s brother. Then, upon the disbandment of the Corps, Raymond entered the service of Nizam Ali Khan, the second Nizam of Hyderabad.

A year later, the Nizam’s Ordnance Department was placed under Raymond who was designated Amir-i-Jinsi or Controller of Ordnance. The establishment of modern gunfoundries in the Hyderabad State was solely due to him. But at the height of his glory Raymond died on March 25, 1798, when he was only 42. Raymond became a legendary figure in the history of the Deccan.

About 25 feet away is a flat-roofed building, supported by 28 pillars and forming a shrine like a Grecian temple. There is a mysterious grave close by. The inscription tells us that Anne Elizabeth Jenkins died at the age of 21 years and 6 months on November 26, 1809. But nothig is known of this lady. The inscription engraved on the tablet of Raymond’s tomb reads: Sacred to the memory of General Michel Joachim Marie Raymond Controller of Ordnance, The Nizam’s Army Born September 25th 1755 Died March 25th 1798 “Faithful unto Death” R.I.P.

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