Osman VII
Last ruler of the Princely State of Hyderabad
Osman VII
Sir Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddiqi GCSI, GBE Asaf Jah VII, born Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddiqi Bahadur, was the last Nizam of the Princely State of Hyderabad and of Berar. He ruled Hyderabad between 1911 and 1948, until it was merged into India. He was styled His Exalted Highness The Nizam of Hyderabad. During his days as Nizam, he was reputed to be the richest man in the world, having a fortune estimated at US$2 billion in the early 1940s or 2 per cent of the US economy then. At that time the treasury of the newly independent Union government of India reported annual revenue of US$1 billion only. He was featured on the cover of TIME magazine, portrayed as such. The Nizam is widely believed to have remained as the richest man in South Asia until his death in 1967, though his fortunes fell to US$1 billion by then and became a subject of multiple legal disputes between bitterly fighting rival descendants. His wealth include a vast private treasury. Its coffers were said to contain £100m in gold and silver bullion, and a further £400m of jewels. Among them was the fabulously rare Jacob diamond, valued at some £100m (2008), and used by the Nizam as a paperweight. There were pearls, too – enough to pave Piccadilly – hundreds of race horses, thousands of uniforms, tonnes of royal regalia and Rolls-Royces by the dozen. He built the Hyderabad House in Delhi, now used for diplomatic meetings by the Government of India.
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    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1967
    Age 80
    Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur died on Friday, 24 February 1967.
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    The Nizam is widely believed to have remained as the richest man in South Asia until his death in 1967, though his fortunes fell to US$1 billion by then and became a subject of multiple legal disputes between bitterly fighting rival descendants. On 14 April 1920, Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur married Sahebzadi Azmathunnisa Begum (Dulhan Pasha Begum) (1889–1955), daughter of Nawab Jahangir Jung Bahadur, at Eden Bagh now known as Eden Garden at King Kothi, Hyderabad at the age 21.
    More Details Hide Details She was the first of his seven wives and 42 concubines, and the mother of his three children son Azam Jah and Moazzam Jah and daughter Shehzadi Pasha. Nawab Mir Khudrath Nawaz Jung Bahadur was the first brother-in-law of Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur. Maternal Uncle of Azam Jah Moazzam Jah and Shehzadi Pasha. Azam Jah married Durru Shehvar, daughter of Abdul Mejid II (the last Ottoman Caliph and cousin and heir to the last Sultan of the Ottoman Empire) while Moazzam Jah married Princess Niloufer, a princess of the Ottoman empire. Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur had at least 34 children and 104 grandchildren, including:
  • 1947
    Age 60
    The Nizam ruled over more than 16 million people and of territory when the British withdrew from the sub-continent in 1947.
    More Details Hide Details The Nizam refused to join either India or Pakistan, preferring to form a separate kingdom within the British Commonwealth of Nations. The proposal for independence was rejected by the British government, but the Nizam continued to explore this possibility. 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 in a similar vein. He also concurrently encouraged the activities of the Razakars. The Nizam cited the Razakars as evidence that the people of the state were opposed to any agreement with India. Ultimately the new Indian government decided to invade and capture Hyderabad in 1948, in an operation codenamed Operation Polo. Under the supervision of Major General Choudhry, one division of the Indian Army and a tank brigade invaded Hyderabad. The battle was quick and the Nizam's troops and the Razakars gave up easily.
    In 1947, the Nizam made a gift of diamond jewels, including a tiara and necklace, to Princess Elizabeth on the occasion of her marriage.
    More Details Hide Details The brooches and necklace from this gift are still worn by the Queen and is known as Nizam of Hyderabad necklace. Nearly all the major public buildings in Hyderabad city, such as the Osmania General Hospital, Hyderabad High Court, Asafiya Library now known as State Central Library, Town Hall now known as Assembly Hall, Jubilee Hall, Hyderabad Museum, now known as State Museum, Nizamia Observatory and many other monuments were built during his reign. Up to 11% of the Nizam's budget was spent on education. Osmania University was founded, and schools, colleges and a "Department for Translation" were set up. Primary education was made compulsory and provided free for the poor. The Nizam (as well as his predecessors) have been criticised for largely ignoring the native languages in favour of Urdu. Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur donated to many institutions in India and abroad. Recipients included educational institutions such as the Jamia Nizamia, the Darul Uloom Deoband, Banaras Hindu University and Aligarh Muslim University.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1941
    Age 54
    In 1941, Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur started his own bank, the Hyderabad State Bank (now State Bank of Hyderabad) as the state's central bank, which managed the Osmania sikka, the currency of the Hyderabad state.
    More Details Hide Details It was the only state which had its own currency, the Hyderabadi rupee, which was different from the rest of India. Hyderabad was the only state in British India where the ruler was allowed to issue currency notes. A 100 rupee note was introduced in 1918.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1918
    Age 31
    In a letter dated 24 January 1918, the title Faithful Ally of the British Government was conferred on him.
    More Details Hide Details His titles were: British Empire During his reign, Osman Ali Khan introduced some educational reforms. He was the founder of Osmania university in Hyderabad. The foundation of agricultural research in Marathwada region of erstwhile Hyderabad state was laid by Nizam with commencement of the Main Experimental Farm in 1918 in Parbhani. Though during Nizam's rule agricultural education was available only at Hyderabad, crop research centres for sorghum, cotton, and fruits existed in Parbhani. After Independence, this facility was developed further by Indian government which turned into Marathwada Agriculture University on 18 May 1972.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1911
    Age 24
    Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur acceded as Nizam of Hyderabad upon the death of his father in 1911.
    More Details Hide Details The state of Hyderabad was the largest of the princely states in pre-independence India. With an area of 86,000 square miles (223,000 km²), it was roughly the size of the present-day United Kingdom. Its ruler was the highest-ranking prince in India, was one of only five princes entitled to a 21-gun salute, held the unique title of "Nizam", and was created "His Exalted Highness" and "Faithful Ally of the British Crown" after World War One due to his financial contribution to the British Empire's war effort. (For example, No. 110 Squadron RAF's original complement of Airco DH.9A aircraft were Osman Ali's gift. Each aircraft bore an inscription to that effect, and the unit became known as the "Hyderabad Squadron".) Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur was the absolute ruler of this principality. In some accounts, he is held to have been a benevolent ruler who patronised education, science and development. During his 37-year rule electricity was introduced, railways, roads and airways were developed, the Nizamsagar lake in Hyderabad state was excavated and some irrigation projects on the Tungabhadra river were undertaken.
    He ruled Hyderabad between 1911 and 1948, until it was annexed by India.
    More Details Hide Details He was styled His Exalted Highness The Nizam of Hyderabad. Later he was made the Rajpramukh of Hyderabad State on 26 January 1950 and continued until 31 October 1956, after which the state was partitioned on linguistic basis and became part of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra. He built the Hyderabad House in Delhi, now used for diplomatic meetings by the Government of India. The Nizam's vast inheritance was accumulated as mining royalties rather than land revenue. Hyderabad State in British India was the only supplier of diamonds for the global market in the 18th century.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1886
    Born
    Born on April 6, 1886.
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