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`I belong to a lot of countries'

H.E.H. Prince Mukarram Jah and Princes Azam Jah and Azmet Jah in an exclusive tete-e-tete with SYEDA FARIDA

Photos: K. Gajendran

TIME APPEARS to stop at the Chiraan Palace. Nestled in serenity and bathed in the early February afternoon sun, this royal abode in the KBR Park comes alive this spring with visitors — H.E.H. Prince Mukarram Jah and the young princes. The hustle bustle and hushed silence says it all, as the Prince walks down to the living room. The tinkling of dainty chandelier crystals with the occasional breeze comes as a calming note.

"Hyderabad has changed liked any other metro in the country," explains the Prince. "I come to the city often. Since I spent most of my time here I tend to observe changes every time I am here," he adds.

Currently in Turkey after a long stay in Australia, the Prince is happy with the affection and vibe that he gets from the people in the twin cities. Does he plan to come back to the capital? "I am 71 years old. How much more do I need to settle down? I belong to a lot of countries. To Hyderabad by family. By my mother's side I am an Ottoman Turk. I was born in France and spent my formative years in London studying. When in Hyderabad I am a completely Hyderabadi-speaking native and a truly Turkey speaking person when there," he observes.

Meanwhile, the young princes, visiting the city this time around, are tad optimistic. Prince Azam Jah observes, "This is my second visit to Hyderabad. I would like to settle down here. For the past few years I have been travelling the world to find a place to stay. I adore Hyderabad." "Most certainly. I would love to come here. In fact I am working on a project on Hyderabad," agrees Prince Azmet Jah. Currently living in Canada, Prince Azmet Jah has worked with Steven Spielberg and Richard Attenborough on photography. Some of the films that he has been associated with include Basic Instincts and Indiana Jones Last Crusade.


Tales of the royal past? Many, say the young princes. "Baba used to tell us about how royal courts looked like, the beauty and splendour," recalls Prince Azam. "It was like any other princely state then," Prince Mukarram Jah is quick to add.

With the trend of descendents of erstwhile rulers taking to politics today, the evident question. "I am not interested in politics and I don't think my sons are either," explains the Prince.

On the Paigah legacy, with the success of the Chow Mohalla palace project, would other properties be taken up for renovation? "I don't have any more palaces left," says the Prince. As regards the issue of converting palaces such as Falaknuma into star hotels, " they have been empty hulks. I am just putting them to use and it is an attempt to improve Hyderabad," he adds. The Nizam's jewels and the Prince's role in bringing them to Hyderabad to an exclusive museum as envisaged by the government earlier? It is a State issue, one is told.

Time to leave, as there are many people waiting to meet the Prince during his visit. Soon there will be warm summer breeze blowing in the rambling park with a whiff of the royal repast, till the next season when the scions come back to their ancestral abode.

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