Niloufer pioneered maternity, child care

Historian Mr Arvind Archarya will release a short 10-minute film detailing the setting up of Niloufer hospital and its history on Thursday.

HYDERABAD: One of the first initiatives for women and child health care in the city was launched in the late 1940s when the VIIth Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, laid the foundation for the now famous Niloufer Hospital.

The hospital named after Princess Begum Sahiba Niloufer Khanum Sultana Farhat of Hyderabad, wife of Moazzam Jah, the second son of Nizam VII.

The hospital started with a 100 bed-strength and catered to the special needs of children and women.

Niloufer could not attend the inauguration of the hospital as she had gone to France at the time in 1953, said historian Arvind Archarya.

Mr Arvind will release a short 10-minute film detailing the setting up of Niloufer hospital and its history on Thursday, the 102 birthday of Princess Niloufer.

“The film has several old photographs of the hospital, including Niloufer and the Nizam family. It revolves around the hospital,” he said. The film will be screened at the hospital on her birthday, he said.

Mr Mohammed Safiullah, a well-know historian, said Princess Niloufer was married when she was about 16 years old to Moazzam Jah. The couple lived at their Hill Fort residence. Princess Niloufer was born in Istanbul on January 4, 1916. She was one of the last princesses of the Ottoman empire.

The family shifted to France in 1924 after the fall of Ottoman empire. She was married to Prince Moazzam Jah on December 20, 1931.

“She was childless. When she went to her mother’s place in France in late 1948, Moazzam Jah married another woman Razia Begum,” said Mr Safiullah. He added, by 1951, Niloufer had decided to split from her husband.

But how did the idea of the hospital strike her. “It 1949, her maid, Rafath Unnisa Begum, died during childbirth. She was so shattered that she decided to ensure that such deaths do not take place any more. Niloufer is supposed to have said, “No more Rafaths will die” when she decided to build a hospital. She decided to set up a maternity hospital, which stands today as Niloufer Hospital in Nampally,” said Mr Najaf Ali Khan, president of Nizam Family Welfare Association.

Niloufer hospital was inaugurated a couple of years after Princess Niloufer moved back to France and lived with her mother.

“The hospital was inaugurated by Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur, the first health minister of India,” said Mr Arvind.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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