When the miserly Nizam became munificent

When the miserly Nizam became munificent
Highlights

The Nizam had donated 5 tonnes of gold for the national fund on September 11, 1965. After emerging victorious in the war against Pakistan in 1965, India faced threat from its other neighbour China. In that situation the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri started collecting funds to combat any potential threat. He set up the National Defence Fund for the purpose.

The Nizam had donated 5 tonnes of gold for the national fund on September 11, 1965

After emerging victorious in the war against Pakistan in 1965, India faced threat from its other neighbour China. In that situation the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri started collecting funds to combat any potential threat. He set up the National Defence Fund for the purpose. The government of India appealed to exalted rajas for help, but the government’s expectations were not met.

Lal Bahadur Shastri then headed to Hyderabad, knowing that the Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan would not disappoint the Indian government. On September 11, 1965, the Prime Minister presented himself to the Nizam and requested him to contribute generously to the National Defence Fund. Without a second thought, Mir Osman Ali announced that he would contribute five tonnes of gold. The announcement left the people flabbergasted. But Asif Jah VII created a record by making the biggest contribution by any individual or organisation in India that remains unsurpassed till today. In terms of today’s gold price this donation translates to a whopping Rs 1,500 – 1,600 crore.

However, known for his wit and frugality, Mir Osman Ali Khan did not hesitate to seek the return of the iron boxes once the gold coins and bars were offloaded in Delhi. “I am donating the gold and not the iron boxes. Do not forget to return them,” the Nizam told the officials. The empty boxes were duly returned.

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