The Seventh Nizam

His Exalted Highness, Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan (1911 – [1948] – 1967), ascended the throne on August 11th, 1911, at the age of 25. His first Firman (Royal Decree) stated: “In every way I will do my best to do good to my people and my State”.

His first act as sovereign was to abolish the death penalty which remained suspended from the penal code throughout his reign. The seventh and last Nizam ruled the state of Hyderabad and Berar from 1911 to 1948.

He was a studious and serious young man who studied and understood all the state papers that his father sent him. He disliked frivolity and was disinclined to outdoor activities that passed for sport in his day.

He was a reclusive man who became a poet of distinction. He revered his mother, visiting her every day of her life, and afterwards visiting her grave almost every day of his life.

He was a man with a powerful sense of duty with a strong desire to serve his people to improve their lives as far as he could, and to create circumstances where each of them could be more in control of his own destiny.

In this he always followed his guiding principles: those of being just and completely impartial. He did not deviate from these even for favoured friends or religious institutions. In well known cases he upheld official findings against mosques in land disputes brought out by a Hindu temple and another by a Christian church. His motto that “Hindus and Muslims are my two eyes” is remembered even today. Mir Osman Ali Khan had a natural flair for both administration and finance. He gained a reputation for being an immensely wealthy man by the skilful handling of income of his personal estates and the fixed privy purse. Otherwise state funds were kept separate and disbursed or invested wisely. By the time he retired from public life, he had virtually given away most of his personal estate lands to the agriculturists who cultivated them. The last fourteen thousand odd acres he donated to Vinobha Bhave’s Bhoodan Movement for re-distribution among the landless. He avoided luxury and ostentation and lived an austere life. But when it came to others he was very generous both in munificent donations to institutions and in countless smaller individual acts of kindness.

He was a very intelligent man with a sharp mind and a phenomenal memory. During the earlier years, he had the gift of being an astute judge of human talent, personality and motivation.

He was a brilliant extempore speaker both in English and in Urdu, conveying very concisely stimulating ideas, using an elegant turn of phrase.

He was a man who, throughout his life, worked tirelessly at his papers and who paid keen attention to the smallest detail. In his earlier years, especially those of the “Personal Rule” when he assumed the functions of Prime Minister, he displayed great foresight, planning and executing interlinked policies that were truly radical. Later he made life difficult for his ministers questioning their actions, becoming known as his own Government’s “Loyal Opposition”. On the other hand, he would encourage initiative and self confidence among his ministers and civil servants to such an extent that they were quite at ease in taking decisions and actions on their own in anticipation of having them sanctioned later. The phrase used on files on these (frequent) occasions was ‘Ba-Umid-e-Sharf- E-Sudhue-e-Farman-e-Mubarak’. (In the expectation of getting ratification).

The long years of hard work that the Nizam undertook resulted in far reaching benefits for his people and his State. The display in this museum will possibly go some way in illustrating the record of his contribution which was not inconsiderable.

Mir Osman Ali Khan’s Last Journey Eleven years after he had retired from public life and on the day the news of his death spread, the people spontaneously closed down the entire city of Hyderabad in honour of a ruler dearly beloved by his people.

It was estimated by the authorities that for his funeral the next day, over ten lakh (one million) people came out on the streets to pay their last respects.

Later, the streets and pavements of the city were littered with the pieces of broken glass bangles as an incalculable number of women broke their bangles in mourning, as is the Telangana custom on the death of a close relative.