|The Asaf Jahs of Hyderabad led extravagant lives that can only be found in fairy tales. It was a decadent lifestyle maintained by 14,000 staff members, including 3,000 Arab body guards, 40 chandelier dusters, 30 water fetchers and several servants whose sole privilege was to crack the Nizam’s walnuts.|
Nizam, shortened from Nizam-ul-Mulk, meaning Administrator of the Realm, was the title of the sovereigns of Hyderabad State, since 1724, belonging to the Asaf Jah dynasty.
|Hyderabad was the largest and most prosperous of all princely states in India. It covered 82,698 square miles (214,190 km2) of territory and had a population of roughly 16 million people of which a majority (85%) was Hindu.|
Hyderabad State had its own army, airline, telecommunication system, railway network, postal system, currency and radio broadcasting service.
|Seven Nizams ruled Hyderabad for two centuries until 1947. The leaders of the new Indian Union did not want an independent - and possibly hostile - state in the heart of their new country, and were determined to assimilate Hyderabad into the Indian Union, by force if necessary.|
In September 1948, in Operation Polo, the Indian Army marched into Hyderabad, deposed the Nizam, and annexed the state into the Indian Union.
On 22 February 1937 a cover story by TIME called Osman Ali Khan, Asif Jah VII the wealthiest man in the world
|The last Nizam was the ruler of India's largest princely state - the size of Scotland and England combined - and was the richest man in the world until he died, aged 80 in 1967.|
India has finally agreed to begin negotiating a settlement between the Nizam's 470 bickering descendants over cash he left in a London bank 66 years ago. The Nizam had deposited £1 million in a high street bank account in 1948 just before his kingdom was taken over by India while he pondered letting his southern state become part of Pakistan.
|The Nizam's 173-piece jewellery collection, which was guarded by eunuchs during his lifetime, had an estimated worth of £2billion - but it was bought by the Indian government in 1995 for the bargain basement price of £33m.|
The most famous jewel in it is the Jacob diamond, the size of an ostrich egg that weighs 184.79 carats. The Nizam wrapped it in newspaper and used it as a paperweight.