Sir Salar Jung, I might sound a little alien, but just about every Hyderabadi and anyone who has heard of Hyderabad would be aware of the Salar Jung Museum. Incidentally, Sir Salar Jung was one of the most popular prime ministers of native states and was known to be the enigmatic prime minister of Hyderabad state (1853 to 1883), who served for three long decades under three successive Nizams.
He was named the greatest prime minister of any state in British India. His period came to be known as the Age of Salar Jung in the history of Hyderabad dominions. And in recognition of his services, the then government of India 1871 bestowed the title of ‘Grand Commander of the Star of India.’Salar Jung incidentally undertook a visit to England and went to Italy and France en route. Though he had a leg twist and was suggested two weeks of bed rest in Paris, he spent the time meeting a variety of people who heard about the riches of Hyderabad state and wanted to work for the Nizam, right from tailors to jewelers to hat makers and the like.
Finally, on reaching England, he had the fortune to meet Queen Victoria herself and dined with her at Buckingham Palace, where only royals are invited. His time in England was totally busy, and he met the who’s who of the royal lineage and dined with most of them. Also, Oxford University conferred the DCL or Doctor of Civil Law on him.
However, Salar Jung also brought about remarkable changes in Hyderabad by introducing Western etiquette, and he also took up reforms that included reorganization of the police and judicial system and construction of the first rail and Telegraph network.
In 1854, he established Darul-Uloom College and Madarsa Aliya, which opened doors for modern education in India. His daughter Amat-uz-Zehra was married to Nizam Mahboob Ali, and their son was Mir Osman Ali Khan, who was the last of the Nizams.
Sir Salar Jung was born on January 21, 1829, and died on February 8, 1883.