Last ruler of the Princely State of Hyderabad
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.