Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Nizam of Hyderabad & A Princess of the Ottoman Caliphate

Her Imperial Highness The Princess Hadice Hayriye Ayshe Dürrühsehvar Sultan, (Khadija Khayriya Ayesha Dürrühsehvar, خدیجہ خیریہ عائشہ در شہوار or Turkish: Hatice Hayriye Ayşe Dürrüşehvar), also known as HIH Princess Durru Shevar was born in Turkey when the Ottoman Empire was passing through its last phase. Her father, Caliph Abdülmecid II, went into exile in the Paris, France after the abolition of the Caliphate in 1924.











On the family's exile to France in 1924, she was sought by the Shah of Persia and King Fuad 1 of Egypt as a bride for their respective heirs, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and Farouk, and by Prince Azam Jah(1907 - 1970), the eldest son and heir of the last Nizam of Hyderabad State, Osman ALi Khan, Asif Jah VII, whom she married in Nice, France, on 12 November 1931. Her first cousin Princess Niloufer, was married to Prince Moazzam Jah, the second son of the Nizam. It has been suggested that through these dynastic marriages, Osman Ali hoped to acquire the Caliphate for his descendants.

The marriage of the princess was performed, in the south of France, by the good offices of Maulana Shaukat ALi, brother of Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar, the leader of the Khilafat Movement in India.
It was believed at that time that the matrimonial alliance between the Nizam, the richest ruler in the world of his time, and the deposed Caliph would lead to the emergence of a Muslim ruler who could be acceptable to the world powers in place of the Ottoman sultans. Princess Durru Shahvar, whose father was raised by a branch of the Ottoman monarchy deeply interested in modernizing reforms and believed in modern education for women including his wives and daughter, became a popular public figure after her arrival in Hyderabad. 





Following the birth of her sons Prince Mukarram Jah in 1933 and Prince Muffakham Jah in 1936, she took charge of their upbringing, the two princes being educated in Britain  and also marrying Turkish ladies. The last Nizam later bypassed his own son and nominated her first son and his grandson, as his successor.The Princess became the first woman to inaugurate an airport when she inaugurated the airport in Hyderabad in the 1940s. She is also credited with inaugurating the Osmania General Hospital. She set up the Durru Shehvar Children's Hospital for women and children in the old city of Hyderabad. Her last public appearance in the city was when she presided over the opening ceremony of the Nizam’s Silver Jubilee Museum in 2000. She last visited Hyderabad in 2004. She divided her time principally between Hyderabad and London. 


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Royal Patronage of the Nizams of Hyderabad & the Asif Jahi Dynasty

“The star of destiny shines on the forehead of your son”. Mir Qumaruddin displayed considerable skill as a warrior and at the age of nineteen, the Emperor  Aurengzeb bestowed on him the title “Chin Fateh Khan”.

At 26, he was appointed Commander in Chief and Viceroy, first at Bijapur, then Malwa and later of the Deccan. Viceroy Farukh Siar who was the Mughal Emperor for a brief tenure conferred on Mir Qumaruddin the title Nizam-ul-mulk Fateh Jung. He thus became the first Nizam. A subsequent Emperor, Muhammad Shah bestowed on him the title Asif Jah. The dynasty of the Nizams of Hyderabad thus came to be known as the Asif Jahi Dynasty. After gaining independence, Asif Jah came to be known as Nizam-ul-Mulk. He first set up his capital at Auragabad but later moved to Hyderabad, which became the capital of the Asif Jahi dynasty.

Asif Jah's second son Nasir Jung was supported by the British whereas Muzafar Jung, grandson of Asif Jah, was supported by the French. Nasir Jung succeeded; but after a brief rule he was slain in 1750 in an encounter with the French troops at Arcot. Thereupon, Muzafar Jung ascended the throne. In the following year he was murdered and his son Salabath Jung was put on the throne. In 1762 Salabeth Jung was dethroned by his brother Nizam Ali Khan, and confined at Bidar where he died in 1793.

Hence, Nasir Jung, Muzafar Jung and Salabath Jung, who were contestants for the sovereignty of the Deccan in the short span of thirteen years between the death of Asif Jah and accession of Nizam Ali Khan, have not been historically recognised as reigning Nizams.

Nizam Ali Khan ascended the throne in 1763 and he ruled Hyderabad for almost forty years. This was one of the eventful periods in the history of India. Foremost among competitors for supremacy in the Deccan were the Marhattas and it was during this period that the famous French adventurer Monsieur Raymond was employed by Nizam Ali Khan.

The succession of Sikandar Jah as Nizam was undisputed and he appointed Mir Alam as his Prime Minister. With the accession to the throne by Sikander Jah and end of war with the Marhattas, there commenced an entirely new era for Hyderabad. Sikander Jah was succeeded by his eldest son Nasir-ud-Daula. It was during his reign that Salar Jung was appointed as the Minister in 1853. Salar Jung guided the affairs of the Deccan with great wisdom and introduced several reforms to improve the finances of the Dominion.

On 17 May 1857 Afzal-ud-Daula became the fifth Nizam. This was the first time the first war of Indian Independence was fought in the North and there was general disorder in the Deccan.

Mir Mahboob Ali Khan, who was born on 18 August 1866, was the only son of Afzal-ud-Daula. He was installed on the masnad by the British Resident and Sir Salar Jung, who also acted as the co-regent. Mir Osman Ali Khan, the seventh and the last Nizam of Hyderabad ruled for 37 years (1911 - 1948). His Dominion was lager than England and Scotland put together, with an area of 86,000 Sq. miles.

The seventh Nizam led a very simple life, yet he was one of the richest men in the world. He donated generously to every cause in India as well as abroad irrespective of caste and religion. If it was the Muslim theological school at Deoband which received financial help, it was also the privilege of the Benaras Hindu University. His list of donations included Rabindranth Tagore’s Shantiniketan and several other institutions including hospitals, schools, for famine relief, etc. The golden temple in Amritsar also enjoyed an annual donation.

The Nizam’s rule saw the growth of Hyderabad economically and culturally. Electricity, railways, roads and airways developed. Huge reservoirs and irrigation projects such as the Tungabhadra, and Nizamsagar were completed. The early work on Nagarjunasagar was undertaken. The Osmania University, Colleges and Schools were founded throughout the state. Nearly all the public buildings currently in such as the Osmania General Hospital, High Court, Central State Library, Assembly Hall, Jubilee Hall and other buildings in the Public Garden were built during Osman Ali Khan’s reign.

Soon after India gained independence in 1947, all princely states were invited to join the Republic. Nizam VII was reluctant to do so; but in 1948, after the Police Action, Hyderabad state was merged into the Indian Union. Mir Osman Ali Khan, the last Nizam, died on Friday 24 February 1967. It was end of the princely era.