Hyderabad right place to display Nizam’s jewels: Officials

The fabulous Nizam jewellery was on public display thrice in the country

Hyderabad: Telangana officials said Hyderabad was the best place to display the Nizam’s jewels. “The jewellery belongs to Nizam and there is no better choice than Nizam's abode Hyderabad,” a senior CMO official told this newspaper.

Asked whether the government plans to pursue the issue again with the Centre, the official replied in the affirmative. “Yes, we will do it,” he added.

Princes Esra, former wife of the eighth Nizam Prince Mukarram Jah, who met Mr Rao on September 13 last year, had also requested the Chief Minister to bring back the jewels to Hyderabad. Attempts to bring the jewellery to Hyderabad did not materialise since the government did not pursue the matter seriously, identified suitable land and building with adequate security as suggested by the Centre.

Earlier, the state government had urged the Centre to bear the cost of land and building, but it was rejected. The fabulous Nizam jewellery was on public display thrice in the country including twice at the National Museum, in New Delhi in 2001 and 2007 and the Salarjung Museum, Hyderabad in 2001 and 2006.

The 173-set jewellery comprising 348 pieces was acquired by the Central government in 1995 after a long legal battle with the Nizam Trust which tried to sell the same after the death of Azam Jah. The government purchased it for Rs 217 crore. The government did not pursue it with the Centre since 2007.

The then Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu made a vain bid to bring the jewellery to Hyderabad for permanent display and even ensured a promise from then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. After coming to power in 2004, the YSR government took up the issue but left it midway.

“Salarjung museum offered to house the jewellery in a new building on its premises provided the government handed over the nearby Darulshifa building and land for parking and also for location of a new Hyderabad museum. But the government did not respond,” an official disclosed.

The government later proposed the State Trading Corporation building on Road No. 3, Banjara Hills, but Intelligence Bureau officials, who visited the city for scouting of suitable sites, rejected it on security grounds. Since then the matter has not been pursued by the government.

There is talk that Nizam's family, especially Princess Esra objected to the display of jewels in Salarjung Museum since the Nizams were rulers and Salarjung was ‘only’ a Prime Minister. But a Salarjung Museum senior official denies it.

“I also heard about it but it is only a rumour. Neither Princess Esra nor any other Nizam family member had conveyed their objection to the government. I attended some official meetings pertaining to the jewellery and the issue did not figure.”

He added, “The proposal was to construct a new building in an open space on the museum premises. We requested the government to provide Darulshifa building and land. The government is at liberty to select any suitable place in the city to house the jewels. The Centre wants the state to have a suitable building and ensure proper security. The problem is that the issue is not being pursued seriously.”

( Source : dc correspondent )
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