Was Nizam of Hyderabad looking to arm himself against India in 1948?

Even as Pakistan seeks to internationalise Kashmir, it has lost a battle over Hyderabad’s one million pounds. But the more intriguing question is what was the money meant for.

Interesting read : What did the Nizam do on 17 September 1948?

The belief is that the money was transferred into the account of Habit Ibrahmim Rahimtoola, the then High Commissioner of Pakistant to the UK. What is not confirmed is whether Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan authorised the transfer or was it the decision of Nawab Moin Nawaz Jung, an official in the Nizam’s court. 

Historian Mohammed Safiullah, an authority on the life and times of the Nizams, believes the intention was to purchase one lakh Enfield rifles which were being sold in Europe at a dirt cheap price. 

“It may have been to boost Hyderabad’s defence or to provide weapons to the Razakars, the private militia. The money was to go out much earlier but it was delayed for reasons not known. The Nizam was constantly under the illusion that India will not invade Hyderabad and if it did, Britain will come to his help. But things did not quite work out in his favour,” says Safiullah.

It is known that Nizam wanted to remain an indepedent country. His plan B was to join Pakistan which meant being part of India was not on the Nizam’s radar.

Which is why it is not strange that the money was transferred to a Pakistani’s account. The Nizam obviously expected Pakistan to help him stay independent or become a part of Pakistan at a later date. The Nizam, it must be recalled, was under pressure from freedom fighters of the Congress and the Communists who wanted Hyderabad state to be a part of India. Which is perhaps the reason why he was extremely cold towards KM Munshi, the representative of the Government of India in Hyderabad.

The question is whether the Nizam’s grandsons will now use the money to pay off their liabilities or use it to take care of some of their property which is in bad shape in Hyderabad. The sum of money is much more than the Rs 218 crore they received after the sale of the Nizam’s jewellery in the mid-1990s.  

The BJP has always been critical of the Nizam, wanting to celebrate 17 September – the day the ruler was dethroned, as a state event. Its MP D Arvind even wants Nizamabad’s name to be changed to Indur. One will have to see what position it takes on the Nizam’s wealth.

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