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Mir Osman Ali Khan: Richest Indian to ever exist in documented history

The last Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddiqi or Asaf Jah VII, had ruled Princely State of Hyderabad and Berar between 1911 and 1948 until it was annexed by India. In February 1937, he made an appearance on the cover of Time Magazine, labelled as the richest man in the world; a fortune estimated at US$2 billion in the early 1940s ($34.9 billion today) or 2 percent of the US economy at that time.

CelebrityNetWorth also ranked him as one of the top 25 wealthiest persons of all time in its inflation-adjusted list.

The website which reports estimates of the total assets and financial activities of celebrities ranked the last Nizam as 6th in a list of 25 richest people ever lived. It had estimated his wealth as $230 billion and quoted in the description: “Mir Osman Ali Khan had a personal collection of gold that was worth more than $100 million and owned over $400 million worth of jewels including the famous Jacob Diamond which is worth $95 million today. Khan used the diamond as a paperweight in his office. He supposedly owned more than 50 Rolls Royces.”

Osman Ali Khan was born on 6th April 1886 and became the last Nizam. Later he was made the Rajpramukh of Hyderabad State on 26 January 1950, where he continued for 6 years before the state was partitioned on linguistic basis and became part of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

His contributions to society:

Most of the major public buildings in Hyderabad city, such as Osmania General Hospital, Hyderabad High Court, Asafiya Library now known as the State Central Library, Assembly Hall, Jubilee Hall, State Museum, Nizamia Observatory and many other monuments were built during his rule.

He had founded Osmania University and made contributions to educational institutions like Jamia Nizamia, the Darul Uloom Deoband, Banaras Hindu University and Aligarh Muslim University. He had also established “Hyderabad State Bank” (now State Bank of Hyderabad) in 1941.

Osman Ali Khan is believed to have remained as the richest man in South Asia until his death in 1967. However, his wealth went down to US$1 billion by then as over 97% of his wealth, including jewellery belonging to his family, was taken away by the newly formed Indian Government. The Indian government still displays Nizam’s jewellery at Exhibition.

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