His Exalted Highness Rustam-i-Dauran, Arustu-i-Zaman, Wal Mamaluk, Asaf Jah VII, Muzaffarul- Mulk-Wal-Mumilak, Nizam-ul- Mulk, Nizam ud Daula Nawab Mir Sir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur, Sipah Saula, Fateh Jung, Nizam of Hyderabad and of Berar, Knight Grand Commander of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Honorable General in the Army, Faithful Ally of the British Government. This was the official title of the last Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Usman Ali. He was the richest man in the world at one point of time. He had 2 billion pounds at the time India won her freedom. Yet, he is immortalized as the most miser monarch of them all.
Recollections of the Nizam always include him wearing a tattered sherwani, which is supposed to be reflective of his miserly nature. He is supposed to have to drive an ‘old, rattling, tin-pot of a car, a 1918 model; he never offered any kind of hospitality to a visitor.’ That may have been true to a certain extent. However, when the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII, came to Hyderabad, his pot was customised in such fashion, that whenever he lifted the lid, the national anthem would begin playing.
He has been shamed for his miserly nature and often accused of being selfish, however, recently the daily The Hindu, had an article regarding how the Nizam was no miser and in fact, quite generous in his donations to worthy charities. He donated 3 lakh rupees to a mosque for repairs when the required amount had been 75000 rupees because ‘the third and fourth floor shouldn’t look old’. The man owned perhaps the best collection of classic cars India will ever see. With the most famed amongst those being the Barker-Coach built Rolls Royce Silver Ghost.
He was a just man and a visionary. He once fired a guard for having allegedly stolen an article, the guard was reinstated and given a hike in salary of 5 rupees, when the article was found to have been misplaced. The Nizam is oft-mocked for smoking cheap cigarettes and taking from his guests. However, the Charminar cigarettes he smoked were specially rolled for him, and he smoked them in an effort to boost the tobacco industry in Hyderabad.
His kingdom was later named Andhra Pradesh and he went on to become its first Governor. He is credited with having envisioned Hyderabad’s development and boosting education early on, having realized its importance. He was loyal to the British crown and it wasn’t easy for him to shift allegiances to India. He lived him sparsely because a content doesn’t need much. In the end, the Nizam was a good man, he was just misunderstood.