In a ceremony raising eyebrows, Hyderabad witnessed the coronation of another “ninth titular Nizam” — Raunaq Yar Khan (65) — on Thursday, 2 March, after the eighth titular Nizam Mukarram Jah’s son Azmet Jah was anointed on 20 January.
Khan is the great-grandson of the sixth Nizam of the Asaf Jahi dynasty, Mir Mahbub Ali Khan.
A wealthy landlord of Hyderabad, he is also the grandson of Viquar ul Umrah from the Paigah family. Umrah built the Falaknuma palace and the Paigah palace in Hyderabad.
“He is a socialite and a familiar face in Hyderabad. He has represented the Asaf Jahi family several times, and also conducted many Ganga-Jamuna tehzeeb events,” Majlis E Sahebzadagan Society (MESS) General Secretary Sahebzada Mohammed Moizuddin Khan told South First.
The MESS, which organised the coronation of Khan near Khaja Ka Chilla in Moghalpura, was founded in 1932 under the guidance of the seventh Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan.
“We registered it in 2020 and it gives allowances to more than 4,000 Asaf Jahi family members,” Moizuddin said.
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Meanwhile, the succession of Prince Azmet Jah was a private affair, unlike the grand coronation of his father in 1967.
It happened after the demise of Mukarram Jah, who was laid to rest on 18 January with state honours at Makkah Masjid alongside the other Asaf Jahi rulers.
‘Nizam has to take care of whole family’
As per the members of the Asaf Jahi family, Azmet Jah is a British national and came to India only during the burial of his father.
Meanwhile, the MESS members claim to represent themselves as descendants of the first to sixth Nizams.
“As per our trust’s deed, if you are the head of the family, you have to give allowance in a timely manner and divide the wealth equally among the members. But Azmet lives a lavish life in Europe and doesn’t know the traditions of the family,” Moizuddin alleged.
While noting that there are more than 4,000 alive members of the Asaf Jahi family, he added, “Some of them do menial jobs like driving an auto, working as domestic servants. But Azmet did not show any sympathy towards them, so we revolted against him. When you don’t want to take care of peasants, why are you a king?”
‘Azmet Jah failed his responsibilities’
Before declaring Raunaq Yar Khan as their head, Moizuddin said they approached Azmet Jah and demanded his attention.
“We met him at the Falaknuma palace after his father’s death. We told him that he can keep 75 percent of the wealth and help the family with the remaining 25 percent. But he talked of keeping no relations with us. He was least bothered,” he said.
Asked whether Azmet Jah would get any family wealth now, Moizuddin answered in the negative.
“As he is a foreign national, he will have to get a declaration that he is the son of Mukarram Jah from a court decree,” he said.
He also claimed that Azmet Jah’s January coronation was invalid.
“Only two people, who are not even from the Asaf Jahi family, pressed for the coronation. After former prime minister Indira Gandhi abolished the monarchy, one has to be elected as per customary succession of the family and everybody’s acceptance. But family members did not give their mandate fo Azmet Jah’s succession.”
The 26th amendment to the Indian Constitution in July 1971 abolished the privy purses and recognition granted to the rulers of princely states in India.
‘Mukarram Jah misled many’
Moizuddin alleged that Mukarram Jah misled many people, including the government of India.
“His certificate got abolished way back but he misused it saying that he was the eighth Nizam, and claimed all the money. That was an atrocity to our family, as he always stayed abroad,” he said.
Moizuddin added that Mukarram gave four public palaces to his four wives as alimony after his divorce.
“He did not build them and his wives are not Indian citizens. They come to Hyderabad, collect rent, and enjoy themselves abroad. When we approached Princess Esra (Azmet Jah’s mother and Mukarram Jah’s first wife), she refused to meet the family. Then why is she benefiting from the money?” Moizuddin alleged.
He added that Mukarram Jah emptied funds in several trusts created by his grandfather.
“All the money dried up as he was taking money from here and living lavishly abroad. When he lost court cases against us, he came back and begged us to compromise in court. But again left us in aloofness,” said Moizuddin.
“He was not fit to be head of the family,” he added, also claiming that the head of the dynasty should remain in Hyderabad.
About the Asaf Jahi family’s next move, he said, “We will approach the court and government and wealth will get divided equally.”