Nawab Ali Nawaz Jang: an unsung great Indian engineer

The people who had played an important role in the big and medium irrigation projects in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have been forgotten after Hyderabad merger. The important personalities of that era were deliberately removed form the pages of history. One of them was Mir Ahmed Ali better known as Nawab Ali Nawaz Jung. He is said to be the first chief engineer of the Hyderabad state.

During his tenure as Chief Engineer, large irrigation works including Osman Sagar, Himayat Sagar etc. were conceived, launched and executed. Nawab Saheb was responsible for construction of several buildings and bridges including major bridges over the Godavari and the Manjira. Extension of telephone service to the districts was due to his initiative. He was responsible for large irrigation projects viz., Wyra, Paler, and the Fateh Nahar. One of his prize design projects was the Nizam Sagar dam.

Mir Ahmed Ali, Nawab Ali Nawaz Jung Bahadur, was born in Hyderabad on 11th of July, 1877. His father, Mir Wahid Ali, was Assistant Secretary of Daftar-e-Mulki. He studied at St. George’s Grammar School, Madrasa-i-Aliya and then joined Nizam College. In 1896 he was sent to England on State scholarship to the famous engineering college of Coopers Hill where he had an exceptionally brilliant career, topping the list of successful candidates and gained several scholarships in various branches of engineering.

He returned to Hyderabad in 1899 and joined the Public Works Department as an Assistant Engineer. In 1913 he was made the Secretary to the Government P.W.D. and Telephones Department. In 1918, he became Chief Engineer and Secretary. In 1929, he was invited by the Bombay Government to report in collaboration with Sir M. Visweshwaraya on the financial and technical aspects of Sukkur Barrage, and his services were acknowledged by the Bombay Government.

In recognition to his services, the famous Ali Sagar of Nizamabad was named after him. Every year on July 11 on the occasion his birth anniversary engineers’ day is celebrated across Telangana, but no official ceremony is held. Now that the Telangana is a separate state he should be remembered on grand level and several places can be named after him.

Mohammed Riyaz Ahmed