Stamps from Nizam's era sans Asaf Jahis

Stamps from Nizams era sans Asaf Jahis
Stamps from Nizam’s era sans Asaf Jahis

Hyderabad stamps never had portraits of any of the Asif Jahis, even as other rulers of the time used their names and portraits on their stamps.

Hyderabad: Hyderabad stamps never had portraits of any of the Asif Jahis, even as other rulers of the time used their names and portraits on their stamps. This was displayed in the recently held philately exhibition of over 150 rare postal stamps from Hyderabad with the title, 'Property of a Gentleman: Stamps from the Nizam of Hyderabad's Dominions,' at Bikaner House in New Delhi. The collection is described as a physical evidence of the power and modernization of Asif Jah's rule, which lasted for over 224 years.

The genesis of the expansive collection began with the legacy of the stamp collector, Nawab Iqbal Hussain Khan, the post master general in the government of late Sir Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur Nizam VII. The Ewari Family, in collaboration with The Gujral Foundation, just concluded at the exhibition, which included selected stamps originating from the erstwhile Hyderabad State during the time of the Nizam.

This philately collection has a deep personal connect with Hyderabad. The collection included 3-million stamps from across the world, including the rare Penny Black, the first adhesive postage stamp in the world, and also featured every single stamp in the chronological order of the senior-most princely state of Colonial India, Hyderabad. For almost 80 years, from 1869 to 1949, till it joined the Indian Union, Hyderabad, under the rule of Asif Jahi, issued its own stamps.

"The dominating authority of the erstwhile state of Hyderabad is demonstrated by the use of exquisite calligraphy, multifarious languages like English, Urdu, Marathi and Telugu and the presence of several important structures like the Osmania University, Golconda Fort and several others on the stamps," says Nawab Najaf Ali Khan, the grandson of last Nizam.

Najaf Ali Khan said that the stories behind the stamps are interesting. The Nizam extended immeasurable support to the British during the World War II. During the war, the Nizam's troops served in Egypt, and the stamp signifies the celebratory return of the soldiers from the war. Thus, these stamps tell such fascinating stories about the bygone era that makes us marvel and change the way we look at them. "During the mesmerizing experience we felt transported to the era of such royalty with the dimly lit huge landscapes of structural marvels of Hyderabad and custom made led boxes housing the stamps that added to the beauty of the collection," he notes.

Philatelists had an ethereal experience as Delhi's Bikaner House turned into a cultural haven with the display of rare life-size photos of late Mir Osman Ali Khan and his father late Nawab Mir Mahboob Ali Khan Bahadur Nizam VI. The photos made visitors stop by and marvel at the stature and elegance of photogenic Nizams.

"Tum Iftikar-iDakhan, Ho Tajdar-iDakhan, Tumhen ho Hind mein mumtaz Shahryar-i-Dakhan. (You are the pride of Deccan, the King of Deccan; the only one that counts among the rulers of India is the king of the Deccan). The Urdu words tell all about one of the most dynamic, enterprising, and wealthiest monarchs India has ever known?," he said.

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