|Biographical detail : ||The seventh Nizam of Hyderabad, India.
Usman Ali Khan, who succeeded his father, Mahboob Ali Khan, in 1911, was once the richest man in the world. He ruled over a state in India, which was the size of Italy, from 1911 to 1948. Despite the British colonial rule in India Nizam was allowed to print his state’s currency notes and had his own railways system.
In 1949, the New York Times reported his wealth was over $2 billion and “his pearls alone would fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool”. He used the 185-carat Jacob diamond as a paperweight, yet he wore a 50-shilling suit, haggled with stall-keepers over the price of soft drinks, and smoked cheap Charminars. At his death there were rooms full of pearls, emeralds and diamonds.
Personally leading a simple life he was generous for the good of his subjects. He donated generously to every cause in India and abroad irrespective of caste and religion. He oversaw the growth of economic and cultural landscape of Hyderabad – electricity, railways, roads and airways. Huge reservoirs (Tungabhadra) and irrigation project (Nizamsagar) were completed. Up to 11 per cent of Nizam’s budget was spent on education – schools, colleges, universities and even Department of Translation were set up. Primary education was made compulsory and provided free to poor section of the society. In 1918, Usman Ali Khan founded the Osmania University, where Urdu was adopted as the medium of Instruction.
Almost all public buildings such Osmania General Hospital, Andhra Pradesh High Court, central State Library, Assembly Hall, Jubilee Hall and others were built during Osman Ali Khan’s reign.
Supported by the Razakars, the Nizam refused, in 1947, on India’s independence to submit his sovereignty. In 1948 India occupied Hyderabad by force. Thus the dynasty that had been founded under the Mughal Empire and in 1724 became an independent state came to its sad end.
Usman Ali Khan was a great philanthropist and had provided pensions for some 10,000 families of his former state.
He was born Usman Ali Khan Bahadur Fateh Jung also named Fath Jang Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan Asif Jah VII.