“Liberation means liberating from foreign rulers. The Nizam was not a foreigner and the question of liberation does not arise. It is equally incorrect to say that the monarchy of Nizam-VII came to an end and ushered in democracy,” is what the family members of the last ruler of princely State of Hyderabad say about September 17.
At 5 p.m. on September 17, 1948 Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur Nizam-VII visited Radio Deccan and addressed the people stating that he had ordered the surrender of Hyderabad Army, allowed Indian Army to enter Hyderabad city. As curfew was imposed in Hyderabad city on that day, there was no participation of the common man either in favour or against the decision.
“Transition of power was done without any bloodshed by the Nizam’s Army. At the time of surrender, my grandfather was sitting on the prayer mat and praying for the betterment of his subjects,” says Najaf Ali Khan, one of the grandsons of the last Nizam.
The 37-year rule of the last Nizam changed the face of Hyderabad with enviable progress in every sector. He was the architect of modern Hyderabad and every section of the population have derived some benefit or the other from the development of the City and Hyderabad State. Telangana was and is known for its Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb (tradition of Hindu-Muslim unity), Mr. Khan explains.
On the death of Nizam-VII on February 24, 1967, the Government of Andhra Pradesh issued an Extraordinary Gazette, which stated that “Nizam was deeply solicitous of the welfare of the depressed classes, kept the tradition of Asaf Jahis to observe absolute impartiality in the matters pertaining to different faiths and religions”.
The Nizam-VII pioneered many buildings and institutions and they include the High Court, Osmania Hospital, Osmania University, Osmansagar, Himayathsagar, Nizamsagar, State Bank of Hyderabad, Jagirdar College (Hyderabad Public School), Asia Library (Central Library), drainage system (underground), Nizam Sugar Factory, Kacheguda Railway Station, Begumpet Airport, Deccan Airways, ENT Hospital, Quarantine (Fever) Hospital, Unani Ayurvedic Hospital, Women’s College Kothi, Niloufer Hospital for Children, Cancer Hospital and others.
Citing the examples of Nizam’s secular nature, Mr. Najaf Ali Khan says Maharaja Kishen Pershad was the Prime Minister of Hyderabad and he would also grant regular financial assistance to mosques, temples, churches, gurudwaras and other places of worship, says Mr. Najaf Ali Khan.
On the eve of the anniversary of Hyderabad State’s merger with India, Mr. Najaf Ali Khan says expressing pain that “political parties are defaming my grandfather’s name for their political gains and are creating a negative image. The ones who use caste and religion to divide people for votes should revisit history and learn through the example set by the Nizam-VII on how to serve their people and work for the supreme cause of humanity”.
On Razakars he says they were were a private militia organised by Qasim Rizvi and they wanted the State to be Independent. They had nothing to do with the Nizam.
The benevolence of Nizam-VII
In 1965, Nizam-VII donated 5 tonnes of gold to National Defence Fund in response to a call by then PM Lal Bahadur Shastri to combat threat from neighbouring countries
Nizam Charitable Trust was established for common man with the corpus amount of ₹5 crore, it still exists helping the poor in the form of monthly pensions and scholarships
The Nizam Orthopedic Hospital was built by Nizam-VII in 1954 and was given on ₹1 per month lease for 99 years to State Government
The Nizam donated ₹1,00,000 to Banaras Hindu University
Several temples in the city and elsewhere were given annual grants with Yadagirigutta temple given highest of ₹82,825
Balakdas Math and Sikhar temple (Adilabad) were given ₹60,000 each, Sitarambagh temple ₹50,000