sons of soil : The Royal Recluse
While many blame Mukarram Jah Asaf Jah VIII for abandoning Hyderabad,'Under the then prevalent circumstances, it was probably the right thing to...
While many blame Mukarram Jah Asaf Jah VIII for abandoning Hyderabad,"Under the then prevalent circumstances, it was probably the right thing to do," shares John Zubrzycki, Australian journalist and author who reveals many unknown facets of the last Nizam Rajeshwari Kalyanam The Titular Nizam of Hyderabad, Mukarram Jah, the successor to his grandfather Mir Osman Ali Khan, has had an intriguing life. He is the last Nizam of Hyderabad, yet he had abandoned his wealth and an opulent lifestyle behind to lead a life of obscurity, driving bulldozers on a dusty sheep station in the Eastern Australian outback. He left India in the face of numerous legal disputes, yet he was considered to be richest man in India till the 80s, He shared a special friendship with the former Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who dissuaded him from joining the Indian armed forces in the fear of risking the life of the royal heir. "He wanted to be in Arunachal Pradesh to fight with China," shares John Zubrzycki, Australian journalist and author of the best selling book, 'The Last Nizam: An Indian Prince in the Australian Outback.' Nehru wanted him to be an Ambassador of India to Muslim countries; "However, Mukarram Jah says he is bad with administration," he adds. John was in India when he first came across the story of Mukarram Jah in 1996 while writing for a magazine. "I went to Australia to meet him. I felt that the subject would be of interest to Indian public. But I couldn't have written the book, without having met him. I had to see him in flesh and blood, see where he is living, and know his likes, his habits and insecurities as well." One cannot help but wonder what if he had stayed back and taken care of his estate, jewels, his properties, forts, havelis and mosques. John replies, "The list of his properties would go up to 50 pages. Now it is reduced to half a page. Hyderabad would have been different if he had stayed back. But you can't blame him totally." "There is no way he could relate to the happenings here. He was born to the Turkish princess Durru Shehvar, also the daughter of the Last Caliph of Turkey. He left Hyderabad just before the Police Action. He was brought up at Nice in France, studied mostly outside India and probably felt more Turkish than Indian," he adds. While many blame him for abandoning Hyderabad; under the prevalent circumstances it was probably the right thing to do, shares John, "It was a difficult for him because of the tussle between he and his father Azam Jah, who was not going to be the heir. In fact Osman Ali Khan had written a letter to the President of India explaining why he didn't want his son to inherit the title. Around 2005 there lived a lot of his contemporaries who could talk about him. And I realised that his inheritance had not only angered his father but several of his close relatives. And Azam Jah died in 1970." Describing Mukarram Jah's lifestyle in Australia, "He loved driving his Benz around the country side and visits to his favourite ruins. A He loves History. He also loves the feeling of being anonymous. You cannot distinguish him from others. He is a man of habit, he goes to the same restaurant, chooses to eat the same food and the same three courses." A few years back Princess Esra the estranged wife of Mukarram Jah restored the Chowmahalla Palace which currently serves as a museum and in collaboration with the Taj Group renovated the Falaknuma Palace which is now serving as a heritage hotel. Talking about his book, 'The Last Nizam: An Indian Prince in the Australian Outback' he says that it is by and large a biography, but also has a lot of history. "It is about how he thought and how he reacted."