Glorifying the Nizam

(Dasu Kesava Rao)

The seventh Nizam, the late Mir Osman Ali Khan, appears to have bowled our dear leader Kalvakuntla Chandrasekhar Rao garu so much that he has once again gone lyrical about the contribution of the last Asaf Jahi ruler of the State.  This is not the first time the Chief Minister sang praises of the Nizam. He had visited his grave in the past and described him as the builder of modern Hyderabad.

The Nizam was a good king who had endeared himself to his people. He was a visionary who had built great institutions like the Osmania General Hospital, Osmania University, Osmansagar tank, Nampally and Secunderabad railway stations etc which continue to serve the needs of the capital city even today when the population increased manifold. He was also a staunch secularist in whose reign the Hindus, the Muslims and people of other faiths lived in perfect harmony.

In his characteristic devil may care style, Chandrasekhara Rao says he has no regrets for visiting the Nizam’s grave and paying tributes. He brushes aside strident criticism by the BJP, the Sangh Parivar or other political parties for praising someone whose police and army let loose a reign of terror, loot and plunder in Telangana area and molested hundreds of hapless women. The Nizam may have made some mistakes – an oblique reference to the atrocities, but those cannot diminish his monumental achievements in the sphere of development and welfare, he argues. A parallel is drawn to Arthur Cotton who built the anicut across the Godavari at Dhowlaiswaram. Don’t the grateful people worship him even today, although he had served the British who had suppressed and exploited the country for two centuries? What he has omitted to mention was that the renowned engineer was censured by the British for a minor discrepancy in expenditure on the project.

I will not go into what might have prompted our Chief Minister to glorify the Asaf Jahi king against all odds, but venture to advance a theory that may put off intellectuals, but appeal to the common man with a sense of humour. ………

We may live in a democracy, yet monarchy continues to exercise a quaint spell on us. The monarchy bug bites early in life, beginning with stories of ‘once upon a time there lived a king’ in mother’s lap. A trip to London is incomplete without change of guards at the Buckingham palace. Maharaja is mascot of India’s official airline. We lure foreign tourists with a royal tour of Rajasthan by ‘the palace on wheels’. A visiting head of state or a king cannot miss the moonlight spectacle of the Taj. Can you beat Mysore Maharaja’s Dasara pageant? My late uncle loved the Crown so much that every room in the house was adorned with pictures of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II. He subscribed to Madras Mail, which he reached in his village by post two days later, because it has a lot of news and pictures about the Queen! There are still a few in Andhra region who think ‘Tellavadi rajyame nayamraa’.

Monarchy may be anachronistic in today’s world, but scions of the erstwhile royalty continue to hold sway in politics. They are to be found in almost all parties. Of course, we have a different kind of royalty in the mother of all parties, where the top leader down to the lowest grass root functionary swears unswerving loyalty and allegiance to the presiding deity and successor (no pun intended on success please!) Elsewhere, women politicians at the helm lord it like a Queen.

My humble feeling is that KCR garu’s praise for the Nizam needs to be looked from this royal perspective. I am sure KCR, he too is human like all of us, is not averse to this irresistible temptation.

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