Tuesday 17 September 2019

Moazzam Jah: The junior Prince of Hyderabad.A Dreamy“thousand and one nights” nocturnal court

The "Nizams" (monarchs) of Hyderabad, were known for their luxurious lifestyle and all the princes of the royal family lived in the midst of great splendor, surrounded by courtiers who crawled in their presence, friends and flatterers.

One of those extravagant princes was Moazzam Jah (1907-1982), the second son of Mir Osman Ali Khan, last Nizam of Hyderabad, who was considered in 1937 as the richest man on the planet.

 But what Moazzam Jah liked most was poetry. With a pseudonym of "Shahji," he wrote "ghazals" and Urdu poetry, and established his own court composed of about 30 Urdu poets from various regions of India. The uniqueness of this court was that it met only at night.

Every time the sun set on the Indian Empire, a group of luxury cars sent by the prince took the members of the court, all with their best traditional attire, to gather in the palace. Moazzam occupied a central seat overlooking all the courtiers. 

The distinguishing feature of the Prince’s court was that it was held, as a rule, only during nights. Around 7.30 pm, the courtiers were brought from their homes in a posy of cars sent by the prince. They came with the aroma of attar renting the air.
 Prince Moazzam Jah with his  children
One after another, they greeted the Prince with ‘Seven Salaams’. Glasses of choicest drinks were served over exchange of pleasantries.

Then the Prince formally escorted all the courtiers to the adjacent dining hall where a multi-course meal awaited.The best biryani, exquisite dry-fruits from Arabia, custard and the finest pastry soaked in ghee were served in dazzling china and silver wares. Dinner ended at midnight when “paan” was served wrapped in gold paper.

Prince Moazzam's courtiers were then transferred to Durbar Hall, where comfortable padded sofas were waiting for them.

This happened even when at the court of the Nizam no courtier could sit in the presence of royalty. (Only the 'diwan' of Bahadur had the privilege of sitting in the presence of the Nizam).

The prince prepared the atmosphere by reciting a poem he had written and then invited the other poets to present their compositions to the entire audience. Moazzam's poets competed with each other to excel in their poetic abilities.

The court would go on thus till the first call for prayer, early in the morning, which would be heard from the nearby masjid.

The proceedings of the court would then wind up and the Prince would announce its adjournment. He would then take his dose of sleeping pills and withdraw to his private chamber.
The entire day time was meant for sleep and he woke up only for breakfast the next day, by 11, and for lunch at 3.00. And then, he woke up in the evening for the “day’s court”.

On every Idd he used to buy a new suit of clothes consisting of a sherwani and a pyjama which was presented to all his courtiers. For himself when he made a purchase, Burton’s Shop in Secunderabad was closed to all other customers except the wives of European military officers.
The Prince never purchased a piece. He would buy a whole roll. The idea was that nobody else should wear a sherwani made of a cloth similar to the one that he had purchased.

For Idd, agents were sent to different parts of the country to select and invite singers and dancers. Amongst them was also Begum Akhtar who at that time was known as Akhtari Bai Faizabadi.

Mir Osman Ali Khan -(VII) Nizam of Hyderabad

The beautiful Hill Fort palace, perched on the eastern slope of Naubat Pahad, in front of the Assembly Hall, was the residence of Moazzam Jah, where the young prince had his night court.

Hill Fort Palace was built in 1915 by Nawab Sir Nizamat Jung, who served as chief justice in the government of Nizam. His stay in the palace was for 15 years. The architecture is in style of Trinity College, Cambridge.
Hill Fort Palace (1930)
In 1929, after he went on Haj he wanted to live a simpler life so it was purchased by last Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII for his son Prince Moazzam Jah, and it was then designated as the official residence of the chairman of the City Improvement Board.
Interior of Hill Fort Palace (19300
In 1931, Moazzam married Princess Niloufer, nephew of Abdul Majjid II, the last Turkish sultan. The Sultan, after being deposed by Mustafa Kemal Pasha in March 1924, lived in exile in France. Abdul Majjid's own daughter, Princess Durrushehvar, on the same occasion, married Azam Jah, Moazzam's elder brother.

Princess Nilofer

Proud Nizam Osman Ali Khan used to accompany them to public events. Princess Niloufer, known as ' the Kohinoor of Hyderabad’, was the only person who addressed Nizam as ‘Dad’, while her own daughters always addressed him as 'Sarkar'.

Prince Moazzam's love for poetry and his devotion to the court's nightlife unfortunately affected his married life. Niloufer complained about him to his father-in-law, but it was in vain, and he finally left Hyderabad court in 1952 to never return.

Princess Niloufer

After the merger of Hyderabad with India, in 1948, Moazzam faced serious financial problems. Nizam's allowances were drastically reduced and the family, accustomed to living in luxury, had to get used to living from the family fortune (which was not scarce).

Last Ottoman caliph -Abdul Majid 2nd
In 1949, the Prince left the Hill Fort Palace and went to Mumbai, where he lived for five years. Returning to Hyderabad in 1954, he moved to a modest house in the Red Hills. The nocturnal court virtually came to end with his leaving the Hill Fort Palace.

On September 15, 1989, the Junior Prince passed away. He was 82. There were very few who turned up at his funeral. The Prince, who entertained thousands in his life, and never ate a meal without the company of at least a score of ten, went almost alomost alone to his grave.

Oh, Allah. Kul and world mortal.
World mortal Allah Baki
Praise is to Allah.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Inna Lillah wa inna ilaihi Rajioon. Allah agar tumku Biwi ki shakal mae Kohinoor diya tou usae Sambhal kar Rakhna.