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End of Era: Life of the last Nizam of Hyderabad Mukarram Jah who passed away in Turkey

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Shams Ur Rehman Alavi


The last titular Nizam HEH Mukarram Jah, Nizam VIII, passed away in Turkey.

Mukarram Jah, who was born in 1933, died in Istanbul. He was 89. 

The last person to hold this title officially, his death marks end of an era. Born a prince in one of the wealtheist kingdoms of the world, Hyderabad State, he inherited a grand legacy. After independence, Hyderabad was annexed in Operation Polo. That was a tumultuous period.

Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan was subsequently made the Raj Pramukh. His son was Azam Jah, who was Prince of Berar. However, Osman Ali Khan chose his grandson Barkat Ali Khan Mukarram Jah as his heir. On Nizam's death, he became Nizam the Eighth in 1967 though Hyderabad State had been merged in Indian Union in 1948.

For decades he lived in Deccan, but then shifted abroad. He had to face pressures from different quarters apart from drying sources of earning. He had a huge work force and had to take care of the ancestors' legacy though the era of immense wealth had gone. 

He got rid of complexities, sycophants, coterie & managed to be out of the vicious circle. A person who had so much responsibilities, mired in multiple issued, and who had lived life like a fairytale, a real prince for decades, then he absorbed many shocks & saw upheavals in life.

But Barkat Ali Khan Mukarram Jah [1933 to 2023] remained level headed and grounded, he shifted to UK, also lived in Australia for sometime.He enjoyed working with car engines, machinery & also managing the jewellery, clan issues & his trusts. It was definitely an extraordinary life.

His early age, then teenage years, the experiences in Europe as a young man, later the famous visit to Nanded in 1960s, everything is on record.The anecdotes, his time & life are enchanting. Can a man remain with such grace even after leaving his land where thousands would flock to see him in Hyderabad.

The fact that he had chosen solitude, lived a lonely, complete ordinary life in a flat, after going through so much, yet remained a reasonable and pragmatic person who kept the enthusiasm and remained adeventurous, ever. His son Azmet Jah would now head the clan, family and institutions. 

The Hyderabad State was huge and one of the richest, the opulence in its court was more than the splendour in courts of Emperors or Kings in other countries. The state had weakened in twentieth century but still spread over a large area in Deccan, South India. Once it comprised part of Andhra Pradesh [now divided in Andhra and Telangana], Karnataka and Marathwada [part of Maharashtra] apart from regions in Berar. 


On way to Deccan, Asaf Jah I sought blessings of Sufi Inayatullah Shah. Saint gave him 7 rotis wrapped in a yellow cloth.
In Deccan, they considered it a 'bashaarat' or a hidden message about descendants that Asaf Jahi rule would continue for as many generations.

No wonder, the Nizam Hyderabad's Flag colour was yellow, the 'kulcha' too on it. The princely state, one of the richest, had an area of 2.14 lakh sq km i.e. more than 82,000 sq miles. Among all princely states, he was the only one to have a title His Exalted Highness (HEH). 

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Journalist for more than 20 years. Had started his career with National Mail in the nineties. Worked as Special Correspondent with Hindustan Times, as an Assistant Editor with DB Post, later Contributing Editor with The Huffington Post, writes for First Post, The Wire, Newsd & several other major publications.