(2 of 5)
Holy Coup, Most news stories hung on the Richest Man are chiefly chatter about how careful His Exalted Highness is with his pennies whereas $5,000 is his approximate daily income, his jewels have an estimated value of $150,000,000, he reputedly has salted down $250,000,000 in gold bars and his capital totals some $1,400,000,000, not to mention the fabled "Mines of Golconda." In English poesy, these disgorge a never-ending stream of diamonds. They lie immediately west of the city of Hyderabad, India's fourth largest metropolis (pop. 400,000). frowned upon by the beet-domed tombs of the Royal Family (see cut, p. 22) about five miles out in the suburbs. Poesy aside, the Mines of Golconda have yielded diamonds in only trifling quantity and were exhausted long ago. What fooled early English travelers was the fact that Golconda was long one of India's chief centres of diamond cutting, strongly fortified to protect these precious stones: "The Riches of Golconda."
The Nizam of Hyderabad is supposed to have once refused to pay 6¢ for a dab of ice cream, rebuking the vendor for asking this "high price." In Sunday supplements he is said to have his worn clothing cut down to fit the next smaller member of the Royal Family, and so on. In fact the World's Richest Man is just about as tight & loose with his money as the poorer John D. Rockefellers. One of his old Hyderabad customs is never to receive one of his subjects, no matter how poor, unless the subject brings a cash present for His Exalted Highness.
To the Richest Man more money, gold or jewels would have no overwhelming appeal, but as a Mohammedan he could aspire to mix the blood of his descendants with that of descendants of the True Prophet and in 1931 a coup of this holy character was brought off by Sir Akbar Hydari.
Up to the fall of the Turkish Empire its ruler was both Sultan and Caliph or "pope" of Islam. On the French Riviera, thoroughly deposed so far as Turkey was concerned, lived and still lives "His Imperial Majesty the Caliph Abdul Medjid II" and a ripe 17 was his beauteous daughter Princess Dur-e-Shawar in 1931. Beauteous too was his niece the Sultana Nilofar Hanim, great-granddaughter of Turkish Sultan Murad V. Best of all, the Caliph had no son and his hoary beard was that of a Patriarch unlikely to become again a father. At the death of this pope of Islam, therefore, pious believers would look upon the offspring of his daughter perhaps not as an orthodox and regular Caliph but certainly with utmost reverence in the absence of any other Caliph. Obviously the two pretty girls were a prime match for the two sons of the Nizam of Hyderabad and off these princesAzam Jah and Moazam Jahwere packed to Europethe first royal Hyderabad males ever to marry outside India (see cut, p. 20).