Written by an Australian journalist, John Zubrzycki, the book speaks about the first six, and in detail about the seventh and eight (the last) Nizam of the Hyderabad.
It took nine month and a handful of treachery for the mighty Aurangzeb to break through the supremely guarded Golconda, and ransack both the fort and the Kutub Shahi dynasty. And along with Aurangzeb, came to Deccan the forbearers of the Asaf Jahi dynasty.
Asaf Jah I, the Nizam ul Mulk, settled as the governor of Mughal ruled Deccan. The great Nizam dynasty of Hyderabad was started by him; he was the first Nizam.
In the course of seven generations, Hyderabad grew into one of the richest states of the world. But interestingly, people recognized its seventh ruler, Mir Osman Ali Khan, as the miserly King who although owned the most grandiose treasure of the world (“his pearls alone would fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool”), smoked cheap Charminars, wore patched clothes, and postpone buying a blanket for its cost won’t fit his budget!
Then one day, Operation Polo happened and the feudal Hyderabad became a part of democratic Republic of India, being led by Pt. Nehru. Osman Ali Khan started “expanding” his make-believe kingdom by adopting many of his subjects (mostly from his African Cavalry) as a family; these people still bank on the many Trusts the “Nizam Sarkar” created for their well being.
Osman Ali Khan nominated not his son, but grandson Mukarram Jah, to be the next (and last) titled Nizam of Hyderabad. However, as it would be revealed, Mukarram’s interest was elsewhere. Least interested in the affairs of Hyderabad and also slapped by a scurry of lawsuits filed by his extended family members for a share of the Nizam’s unlimited wealth, Mukarram found a welcome escape in the outback of Western Australia. Then onwards, he lived most his life here, which was dotted by episodes like his reckless passion for bulldozers and heavy machinery, his marriage and divorce to an Australian lady, Helen, who was infected by HIV virus by her bi-sexual boy friend, and the systematic collapse of all his business ventures. He attributes most of his financial losses to his over dependence on his set of managers and advisors, who all led to gross manipulation of jewelries and antiques he inherited. His financial health dwindled to such an extent that the Last Nizam had to simply leave Australia for Turkey, the country his mother hailed from.
Read this book to know how the Last Nizam came down from numerable lavish palaces in Hyderabad to residing in a middle-class two bedroom apartment in costal Turkey. The book details about the glorious Hyderabad that once was, to know about the Nizams and their palaces; their wealth, wives, and concubines; about their escapades and their generosity, about the Jacob Diamond, and about the beautiful and confident Princess Durrushehvar; about the infamous extortions in the name of ‘nazar’ and about the fallen prince Azam Jah; about the alleged gross misappropriation of Mukarram’s assets by late Sadaruddin Zaveri…
I write a lot, which keeps me off the streets and out of trouble. There is always something to write about, always a new story to craft. Not writing, for me, is like trying to hold back a sneeze. Learning to write was the most powerful influence in my life. I can still remember the awe I felt when I realized I could put real words onto paper and tell out a story. From that first ‘a-ha’ moment I knew I wanted to write.
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