Mir Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII was declared the world’s most wealthiest man in 1937, with a total wealth of over $2 Billion. He was the ruler of Hyderabad that comprised of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra, which is almost equivalent to today's UK.
A glimpse at his wealth - He was the only one to be regarded as 'His Exalted Highness' while the others were addressed as 'His Excellency'. To show his large heartedness, he gifted No. 110 Squadron RAF’s complement of DH.9A aircraft during world war to the British Empire. He also bestowed the magnificent gift of a tiara and necklace made of diamonds, referred to as Nizam of Hyderabad necklace to Princess Elizabeth in 1947 on the occasion of Princess’ marriage and it is still adorned and finds place amongst the exquisite collection by the Queen. He was a firm believer of education and donated many institutions in India and abroad. He was even the founder of the Osmania University. He had the extravaganza of dumping 50 Rolls Royce and his garage to show India's wealth on being mocked by a British official of his incapability to buy even one. He owned a £50 million ostrich-egg-sized diamond that he used as a paperweight.
Hyderabad being a city of pearls, his collection of pearls alone can is enough to fill up an Olympic size swimming pool.
The Nizam’s possessed a 173-piece jewellery collection and had an estimated worth of £200 million though it was bought by the Indian government in 1995 for as low as a price of £33 m.
He had seven wives and 42 concubines, and at least 149 children. He seemed to love his concubines so much that he didn’t want them to be seen by anyone else; and stayed under strict ‘purdah’; with all the best luxuries possible.
His palace was so huge that he had to employ at least 38 people for the sole task of dusting the immense array of chandeliers at his main palace.
By: Subrata Dey