Nizam Hyderabad Mir Osman Ali Khan was a perfect secular ruler

By Abdul Rashid Agwan

There is a popular misunderstanding that Nizam Hyderabad Mir Osman Ali Khan would have become inactive after the seizure of Hyderabad state in the Indian union. In order to remove suspicions regarding the political line of Nizam Osman Ali Khan after the merger of his state in India, one fact may be found enough that he was made Rajpramukh (governor) of Hyderabad State from 26 January 1950 to 31 October 1956. At that time the Hyderabad state comprised major parts of the present day Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka. He enjoyed good relations with national leaders such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, etc.


Some readers of my earlier article on Nizam Hyderabad pointed out that the said donation of 5,000 kg of gold was made by the Nizam on the occasion of Indo-China war of 1962 and not the Indo-Pak war 1965 as mentioned in the article. In this regard it should be noted that he made these two separate donations. In a public statement Chiranjeevi Kolluri, the convener of Telangana Movement Founders Forum, said about Osman Ali’s donation of 10 tons of gold at the time of Indo-China war.

The published in 2014, specifically mentions that of meeting of Shahtri and Nizam Hyderabad was held on 11 September 1965 for the cherished contribution. It was the period of Indo-Pak War. This portal is popular among the people of Telangana and Andthra Pradesh since 2011 and headed by Professor K. Nageshwar the former member of the Telangana Legislative Council and professor in the Department of Communication & Journalism, Osmania University, Hyderabad. Therefore, it can be taken as an authentic source.

Many non-Muslim commenters appreciated the celebrated donation of 5 tons of gold by the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad in the National Defence Fund but many considered him to be “anti-Hindu” and oppressors of his subjects. In this regard two informative books available in the markets may be referred for having an idea about his secular approach.

In an article appeared in The Hindu, the book of Dr. Syed Dawood Ashraf, Kitabaon Ke Qadr Shinas – Asaf-i-Sabi, was quoted as informing how Nizam Osman Ali Khan has generously donated to BHU, for publication of Mahabharat and maintenance of temples including Tirupati Balaji.

The article also notes, “The year was 1932. The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Puna, needed money for publication of the Hindu epic, ‘Mahabharata’, and construction of a guest house. A formal request was made to the seventh Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan. He lost no time in issuing a ‘farman’ granting Rs. 1,000 per year for 11 years. For the guest house Rs. 50,000 was offered.”

No doubt the Nizam extended help for English translation of the holy Quran by Marmaduke Pickthall and the book on Seeratun Nabi by Maulana Syed Suleman Nadvi, but he also supported the Telugu Academy for bringing out the book on Ancient Hindu buildings of Hyderabad.

In his book, Nizam’s Generous Side and Love for Books, J. S. Ifthekhar is quoted to have mentioned, “Last Nizam of Hyderabad Mir Osman Ali Khan had given generous annual grant of Rs19,460 to the temple at Bhadrachala and Rs10,070 to the temple at Tirupati. The party of district of Berar was given as a contribution to Sitaram Bagh Mandir in Hyderabad and various grants of temples at Madannapet, Shankar Bagh, Golnaka, and Thousand Pillar temple, Warangal, Rs1 lakh each to Shanti Niketan and an Institute of Pune to publish Mahabharata, 1 lakh each to Andhra University and Benaras Hindu University (each), and a grant Rs 4,000 to Telugu Academy.”

Mir Osman Ali Khan get built the Nizam Sagar dam which is today utilized not just by Andhra Pradesh and Telangana but also by Karnataka and Maharashtra. This dam was constructed by the great engineer Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya on the behest of Nizam who took it as his first assignment after he ascended to the throne. The dam was required to control the floods and use the excess floodwater of Musi and Easi rivers. Nizam started the first public sector undertakings such as Nizam Sugar Factory and Singareni Collieries and established the Hyderabad State Bank now called as the State Bank of Hyderabad. He brought trains to the region.

During his reign, many major buildings of Telangana-Andhra area like Osmania General Hospital, Andhra Pradesh High Court, Asafiya Library (State Central Library), Town Hall (Assembly Hall), Jubilee Hall, Hyderabad Museum (State Museum), and the magnificent Hyderabad House at New Delhi were built. The last one is now used to welcome international heads of states in India. All these acts speak about his love for his people and India.

It is said that up to 11% of the Nizam’s budget was spent on education. India presently spends less than 4% on education. And, it was utilized for universal education rather than for any one community.

Captain Panduranga Reddy, an activist and military historian paid rich tributes to Nizam and said, “When he was on death bed in 1967 the government of India had offered him to be sent to London for the best medical treatment but he refused saying he had built Osmania Hospital and wanted to take the same treatment which was available to his people. He wanted to die in his homeland not in a hospital in London”.

The national leader and poetess Sarojini Naidu composed in the ode of Nizam Mir Osman Ali Asif Jah VII a poem beginning with the following lines.

 DEIGN, Prince, my tribute to receive,

   This lyric offering to your name,

   Who round your jewelled scepter bind

   The lilies of a poet’s fame;

   Beneath whose sway concordant dwell

   The peoples whom your laws embrace,

   In brotherhood of diverse creeds,

   And harmony of diverse race.

If M. Visvesvaraya the civil engineer of Mysore and Hyderabad state can be conferred Bharat Ratna in 1955, why not the one who engaged him for some civil works of his state, apart from many other great contributions. The fact remains that the large-hearted Nizam has forgotten the bickering of partition from 1948 onwards till his death in 1967, but many Indians have yet to learn a lesson of magnanimity from him and accept the truth as truth.



–Courtesy “Muslim Mirror”