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iXiGOers Jul 15 2013

What is the history of the Nizams of Hyderabad?

Jigyasha Prasad Jul 15 2013
1 person found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

Ruled by kings such as a profligate shopper and a wealthy miser, Hyderabad of the Nizams was a vast and rich princely state, with emeralds and diamonds from the mines near Golconda helping it prosper. The Nizams ruled here from the 18th to the 20th centuries, leaving behind a legacy of built heritage and colourful tales. Osman Ali Khan, the last Nizam, has the most number of tales to his name. Once reputed to be the world’s richest man (he featured on the cover of The Times in 1937), he was miserly, dressed shabbily and rummaged through ashtrays to smoke stubs left by his guests. He was reputed to have 100 wives, 400 children and 10,000 servants!

His predecessor, the sixth Nizam, had built the biggest wardrobe in the world with some 150 walk-in closets. The legendary jewels of the Nizams of Hyderabad were a long disputed legacy, with the Indian government claiming them and finally buying them in 1995 at the vastly reduced price of Rs 218 crore. The jewels have been exhibited in the National Museum twice. Nizam, or more properly Nizam-ul- Mulk, meant Administrator of the Realm.

It was the title taken by the Asaf Jah dynasty, governors of the Deccan under the Mughals, when they declared themselves independent in 1719. In 1798, Hyderabad became part of British India, but the Nizams retained control of the state’s internal affairs. Seven Nizams ruled Hyderabad for over two centuries till 1948. During the revolt of 1857, the Nizams supported the British and earned the status of their ‘most favoured ally’. The Nizams were great patrons of architecture, art and culture.

Their reign saw Hyderabadi culture develop with its distinctive language, food and architecture. Chowmahalla Palace, Osmania University, Purani Haveli, Jubilee Hall, some of the most famous attractions of Hyderabad, were all built under them. When the British left and India as well as Pakistan were being created, Osman Ali Khan refused to join either of the two nations, preferring an independent Hyderabad. The situation lingered on for a year and eventually, in 1948, the Indian Army stepped in to take over the state.

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