We have a lot of knowledge about India’s billionaire entrepreneurs, but how many of us are aware of the country’s first billionaire, who used pricey diamonds as paperweights? However, this multi-billionaire was also a miser and did not keep his surroundings tidy.
Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan of Hyderabad has the distinction of becoming the country’s first billionaire after independence. His image was on the cover of Time magazine’s “The Richest Man in the World” edition from February 22, 1937. Osman Ali was extremely wealthy, and according to rumours, the Nizam had more than Rs 3 billion deposited in an English bank.
However, Nizam was a miser and wore extremely plain attire. Nizam Mir Osman reportedly lived in extreme filth and had his bedroom cleaned just once a year. Even when feeding the visitors, he was quite frugal. Only one cookie and a cup of tea were provided to the visitors who came to meet him.
In 1911, Osman Ali Khan was appointed Nizam of Hyderabad. He held this office up until August 15, 1947, when India became independence and Hyderabad was amalgamated with India. Nizam is thought to have a total net worth of USD 230 billion, or approximately Rs 17.47 lakh crores.
The Nizam’s entire fortune in 1947 was equivalent to 2% of the US economy as a whole. Nizam operated his own aeroplane and currency. He possessed 400 million pounds worth of gems and 100 million pounds of gold. During their marriage, the Nizam gave Queen Elizabeth II a necklace adorned with 300 diamonds.
The Golconda diamond mines were Nizam’s primary source of wealth. At the time, this mine was the only place in the globe where diamonds could be found. One of the most priceless jewels in the world, the Jacob Diamond, belonged to the Nizam.