The Nizams were often seen in unironed shirts and pajamas. There was a queue of all the sparkling vehicles in his garage, but Khatara himself used to drive by car.
On 15 August 1947, India became independent after all the struggle, but the biggest challenge before the government at that time was the merger of 565 small and big princely states. Since the Congress had already announced that these princely states would be merged with India after independence, its process was also started immediately after independence. Most of the princely states agreed to merge with India, but there were three princely states which were adamant. These included Kashmir, Hyderabad and Junagadh.
At the time of independence, the seventh Nizam Mir Osman Ali was sitting on the throne of the princely state of Hyderabad. He got the throne in the year 1911. Known for his shy, obstinate and stubborn nature, Usman Ali was one of the richest people in the world. Although he was more stingy than the money he had. Noted historians and writers Dominic LaPierre and Larry Collins write in their book ‘Freedom at Midnight’ that in 1947 the Nizam of Hyderabad was considered the world’s richest man, but more than that his tales of miserliness were known.
Dirty clothes and dirty car were the identity: Nizams were often seen in dirty cotton pajamas and tattered shoes. For 35 years, he had been wearing the same Turkish cap, which had developed mold and the stitching was torn in places.
Historian Ramachandra Guha, while confirming this, writes in his famous book ‘India After Gandhi’ that the Nizam was a miser of the limit. Very few wore new clothes. He was often seen in an unironed shirt and pajamas. Although the Nizam’s garage was lined with all the glittering vehicles, but he himself used to drive in an old-fashioned car of the 1918 model.
The palace was filled with gold utensils: According to Dominic Lapierre and Larry Collins, the Nizam had so many gold utensils that he could feed 200 people at once in those utensils, but himself used to sit on the mat and eat food in a tin plate. Nizam’s miserliness was such that when the guest coming to his house left after extinguishing his smoked cigarette, he used to burn its pieces and drink it.
Diamonds and jewels used to lie on the floor: The Nizam’s bedroom was like a dirty hut room, which was cleaned once a year on the day of his anniversary. But in this dirty room was hidden immense wealth. On the Nizam’s table lay a lemon-shaped diamond wrapped in paper, which was a full 280 carats. Nizams used it as a paper weight. In the cellars, diamonds and jewels were lying on the floor like pieces of coal. All the trucks used to be parked in the Nizam’s garden, which were filled with gold biscuits.
Rats used to nibble lakhs of rupees: The Nizam had cash amount of more than 20 lakh pounds at that time. The money was wrapped in old newspaper and kept in dungeons and châteaus. Every year several thousand pound notes were munched on by rats.
The food tasting used to go along with: Nizam Mir Osman Ali was a Shaki type of person. He was always afraid that some courtier would take over the throne by giving him poison. In such a situation, wherever he went, he used to take a person tasting food with him. They used to touch the food only after tasting it. The Nizam’s dinner routine was almost tied. In which cream, sweets, fruits, betel nut and a cup of opium at night were compulsorily included.