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Princess Niloufer, the most beautiful woman of her time


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Princess Niloufer was married to the second son of Nizam of Hyderabad. She was better educated. She had a painful tragic life due to lack of children. It was when she lost her maid in child birth ,she had decided to start a hospital for the cause of women and child care. She caught the media's attention due to unparalleled beauty and sense of fashion. She was undoubtedly the queen of beauty and was one of the top ten beautiful women in the world of her time.

Princess Niloufer, the most beautiful woman of her time

  1. 1. The Princess is remembered as a lady who had cut across a line between western education , etiquette and oriental elegance. I
  2. 2. She was the toast of the party circuit in Hyderabad and in Europe wherever she went
  4. 4. Niloufer was born on 4th January, 1916, in the Goztepe Palace in Istanbul in Turkey. Her mother was Adile Sultan, a grand-daughter of Sultan Murad V. Adile was married and divorced earlier and it was with her second husband, Salahuddin Morali, that she gave birth to Niloufer.
  5. 5. Much before television, beauty pageants and glamour rags could begin their reign over the public imagination, yet Princess Niloufer’s exquisite looks and clothes were a talking point across the country and in the cities of Europe. Niloufer was the “Kohinoor of Hyderabad”
  6. 6. Princess Niloufer With Begum Aga Khan
  7. 7. Arvind Acharya explains how Princess Niloufer, in this portrait dressed in a western outfit, straddled multiple cultures.— Photo: K.V.S. Giri
  8. 8. An incredible tale of Turkish Princess It was sometime ago in the summer of 2003, Arvind Acharya, a management consultant from Scarsdale in New York was called for an interview by Evelyn Pope. It wasn’t for a job but for something which was even more valuable. Evelyn Pope was the second wife of Edward Pope, the second husband of Hyderabad’s Princess Niloufer. Evelyn wanted to place the private papers of Princess Niloufer in safe hands and Arvind’s name was suggested by Omar Khalidi, then a librarian in MIT. Arvind passed the interview and the result can be seen on Monday, January 4, 2016, exactly 100 years after the birth of Niloufer in the family of Ottoman Caliphs. The suitcases that Evelyn handed over to Arvind in New York included the first shaved lock of Niloufer, the string of pearls used to tie her hair and her class VII progress report from a school in Nice, France. “Evelyn did it systematically. Niloufer’s fascinating collection of saris designed by a jeweller from Bombay, Madhavdas, went to New York Fashion Institute and Technology, the Turkish firmans went to the University of Washington and I got the private papers,” says Arvind Acharya, as he narrates the incredible tale of the Turkish Princess, who lived in Paris, married a Hyderabadi prince and died as a wife to an American Edward Pope.
  9. 9. Princess Niloufer had flamboyant taste for fashion which was reflected in her sarees. Her fashion was widely talked about even in Europe. 34 of her sarees were presented to the Fashion Institute of Technology at New York.
  10. 10. These saris were worn by Princess Niloufer Farhat Begum Saheba of Hyderabad (1916-1989). As the consort of an Indian prince, she was required to wear saris. Having grown up in France, mostly she commissioned designs that reflected flare for Western fashion, sensibility in their color, motif, and placement of embellishment. These particular saris were made in India, but Princess Niloufer also commissioned saris from French designers such as Jeanne Lanvin. Saris, Circa 1946, India, Gifts of Mr. Edward Pope, 92.132.18 and 92.132.26, photograph by Irving Solero
  11. 11. She made the traditional sari her own by giving it a Western touch through decoration and the placement of motifs. Her saris were crafted with sequins, beads and metallic embroidery on fabrics like the chiffon, crepe and net, with the floral designs falling in the front or over the left shoulder. Most of these sarees were designed by a Frenchman, Fernande Cecire, and embroidered in India. This reminds us of the days of the British Raj, when Indian princesses used to travel to Paris and had sarees designed by French couturiers.
  12. 12. Her Highness the Princess Niloufer of Hyderabad, c.1946, gift of Evelyn Pope in memory of Edward J. Pope
  13. 13. Princess Niloufer was married to the second son of the last Nizam of Hyderabad. She was also the last princess of the Ottoman Empire.
  14. 14. Niloufer Farhat Begum Sahiba
  15. 15. Tall and beautiful, when she entered a room or hall full of chattering people at a function or a wedding, there was a sudden hush as everyone fell silent. All the people would turn their heads to gaze at this beautiful face, resplendent , and stunning appearance . Her glowing complexion, twinkling eyes under long lashes, full smiling mouth and strands of swirling, wavy hair were as beautiful even when she was without any makeup at home in the daytime.
  16. 16. Princess Niloufer was actively involved with various welfare projects. She helped establish the Hyderabad Women and Children’s Medical Aid Society in 1943 with Nawab Mehdi Nawaz Jung, through which the Niloufer Hospital was built. She was also involved with the Hyderabad Women’s Association for Education and Social Advancement, as well as the Women’s Volunteer Corps during World War II.
  17. 17. At the age of eight, Niloufer moved to Nice in France.
  18. 18. THE PRINCESS WAS BROUGHT UP IN FRANCE Princess Niloufer of Turkey
  19. 19. Princess Niloufer of Hyderabad (1916-1989). Paris, March 1947.
  20. 20. Niloufer had a style of dressing that attracted the public. She captured the attention of the fashion media. Her sarees were especially crafted by Madhavdas, a designer from Bombay. These were frequently reviewed and analyzed. Even in later years, when she shifted to wearing European style clothes when travelling abroad, she still managed to cut a fine figure. One of her European dresses formed the topic of discussion in the New York Times in 1961.
  21. 21. Princess niloufer khanum sultana
  22. 22. Muazzam Jah, Walashan Sahebzada Nawab Mir Sir Shuja’at ‘Ali Khan Bahadur, KCIE (21 December 1907 - 15 September 1987), was the son of the last Nizam of Hyderabad, Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII and his first wife Dulhan Pasha Begum. The popular Moazzam Jahi Market of Hyderabad is named after him.
  23. 23. The deposition of the Khalifa was a significant political event. Mahatma Gandhi felt that this would be the right time for the Khilafat movement, to restore the Khalifa. The leaders of the movement were Maulana Mohammed Ali and Maulana Shoukat Ali. During this movement, Shoukat Ali came to be on very friendly terms with the Khalifa. Thus, in 1931, seeing that the Khalifa had no son, Shoukat Ali proposed that the Khalifa’s daughter, Durru Shehvar, be married to Azam Jah. The negotiations for the terms of the marriage started, but soon broke down, as the Nizam felt that the requirement for the Mehr was exorbitant. Eventually, the Nizam was able to get two marriages within the specified amount. In this way, the marriage of Niloufer to Moazzam Jah was finalized. They were married on November 12, 1931; at this wedding, the Khalifa himself acted as the Kazi.
  24. 24. Ex-sultan of Turkey Sultan Abdul Mejid (front row, centre) with Princess Durrushehvar and Prince Azam Jah on the left and Princess Niloufer and Prince Moazzam Jah on the right, in Nice, France after their weddings
  25. 25. Princess Niloufer With her husband, Prince Moazzam Jah
  26. 26. Princess Niloufer with her husband Prince Mozamm Jah , second son of Nawab of Hyderabad, Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII
  27. 27. Princess Niloufer (extreme right) with Nizam Osman Ali Khan and his daughter
  28. 28. Nizam mir Osman Ali khan ke sath princess Durre shahwar aur princess Niloufer ki ek yaadgaar
  29. 29. “Her violet eyes and blue-black Circassian hair were enough to ruin a man’s appetite,” remarked the British official Sir Conrad Corfield, who declared her “the loveliest creature I had ever set my eyes on”. When she accompanied the Nizam to Delhi, the Viceroy, Lord Willingdon was also equally enchanted incurring the wrath of his wife.
  30. 30. “After her marriage to Prince Moazzam Jah, the younger son of the Nizam, at the age of 15 in December 1931, Princess Niloufer came to live in Hyderabad at what was then called Hill Fort Palace. She even got a midwife with her, a French lady, just in case she does her royal duty of delivering a baby. Unfortunately, she didn’t have any children, while her cousin Princess Durrushevar had two sons. As time passed, Niloufer evolved into a beautiful princess, elegant and tall at 5’8” with an alabaster complexion. She was the toast of the party circuit in Hyderabad and in Europe wherever she went. But she was unhappy,” says Arvind, riffling through a bunch of papers which show letters written by the British Resident, Churchill’s son-in-law, and a host of others to her. In 1946, she had a servant called Rafatunnissa Begum, who was pregnant, and later died during childbirth. “Niloufer is supposed to have said ‘no more Rafats will die’. That is the name of this exhibition and it is through her effort that the Niloufer Hospital was inaugurated in1953,” informs Arvind.
  31. 31. At the age of 15, she married the second son of Nizam, Moazzam Jah. Her philanthropy and empathy for the poor and the sick took the form of the iconic, prestigious Institute Niloufer Hospital to serve, care and nurture many a sick, sane and critical cases.
  32. 32. Mission Statement !! Together we share and care, give and grow !!
  33. 33. Niloufer Hospital had been housed in a magnificent building in the heart of historic Hyderabad with an interesting past. The reputed institution was founded in 1949 by the benevolent princess Niloufer, who was the daughterof Ottoman Empire of France, married prince Moazzam Jah, the second son of seventh Nizam (the last of the Asaf Jahi rulers) of Hyderabad in 1931. Such was the story of a lovable dream of a French princess who had the vision to serve the poor surprisingly in India just like Florence nightingale, who served the poor as a nurse. In 1953 what began as a 100 bed hospital with a specific vision to meet the health requirements of both mother and child, was destined to progress with no backward looking. Initially the authorities had an unnerving and unstinting efforts. The hospital fleet developed from a 100 bed occupancy to 500 beds with advanced maternity, pediatric, pediatric surgery supported by excellent diagnostic facilities.
  34. 34. While her private life seemed empty due to lack of children, her public life became very glittering. She was invited to several functions, inaugurated several events and became a torch-bearer for women’s advancement. During the Second World War, she obtained training as a nurse, and helped in relief efforts. Her beauty, and her active public life, received high acclaim in the press, and her portfolios featured in magazines. She was judged one of the 10 most beautiful women in the world, and was offered several roles in films.
  35. 35. HER PUBLIC LIFE Unlike other ladies in her family who felt that their dignity and honour lay in not making Public spectacles of themselves! Niloufer preferred to move about the city quite freely leaving the Zenana of the Palace frequently to attend Public engagements! Cocktail Parties and late-night revels in addition to her charity work.
  36. 36. A MARRIAGE THAT ENDED IN DIVORCE For reasons unknown, their marriage hit the rocks when the Prince followed Muslim divorce proceedings by intoning “Talak” (divorce) three times before two witnesses after 21 years of marriage with no children in the year 1952 at Hyderabad.
  37. 37. Life of a Historic Princess
  38. 38. There is a long story of how Acharya caught hold of “five suitcases” filled with Princess Niloufer’s belongings and how both got together to tell the lady’s story to the city of Hyderabad. Going back to how the “five suitcases” were served to him on a silver platter, Acharya recalls, “In 2003, I got a call. There was a lady on the other end of the line and she said,” begins Acharya, in a British accent imitating the lady, “Mister Acharya, I would very much like to talk to you about a beautiful woman from Hyderabad. Now even if she didn’t say of Hyderabad, I would still be interested. But anyway, I said, who is this about? She said, Princess Niloufer and my ears picked up.” She went by the name Evelyn Pope, was married to Edward Pope who was first married to Princess Niloufer. “I have five suitcases of documents, papers, photographs, passports, her hair sample all sorts of letters from the Nizam, from the Duke of Windsor and Jawaharlal Nehru and so on and on and on,” Evelyn Pope told Acharya. He met her the next day and replied to many questions Evelyn asked him about the Nizam. It was easy because, “I belong to the family that served the Nizam for a brief period. She was convinced that I was legit and then I asked where the papers were? She said, let’s go take a look. With her walking stick, the 77-year-old took me to her cold basement and the first thing I could see was a handwritten letter from Jawaharlal Nehru with a
  39. 39. The letter read: My dear Princess Niloufer, We are going through a very hard time on account of foreign exchange. But I do want to let you know, that I have told Sir Gopala Swamy Iyenger to release all your money in pound, sterling immediately. Sincerely, Jawaharlal Nehru.
  40. 40. When India became independent, Niloufer was in a peculiar position. Hyderabad had yet to decide on joining the Indian Union. As this situation dragged on, eventually Hyderabad was amalgamated into the Indian Union by a “Police Action”. Although the Nizam was retained as the Head of the State, he was just a shadow of his former self. Niloufer decided never to return to India again. Her marriage with Moazzam Jah came to an end in 1952. She continued to live in Paris, with her mother, in a flat. Since she was barely 36, she continued to attract a lot of attention, and had some of the most famous people as friends. She was offered yet another role in a Hollywood film, but she turned it down again. Niloufer died on 12 June 1989 (aged 73)Paris, France and was buried next to her mother.
  41. 41. REFERENCES 1. Wikipedia 2. The Siasat Daily : Niloufer the last Princess , Sunday , 3 January 2010 by Arvind Acharya 3. Thursday, 20 August 2009 4. inhyderabad state/a historical analysis by Rekha Pande 5. The saga of Princess Niloufer by Serish Nanisetti (www.the dated 5th January 2016) 6. Princess Niloufer Sultana of Hyderabad by Begum Bilkees I. Latif
  42. 42. ABOUT THE PRESENTER Ms. Dayamani Surya holds Master’s Degree in the English Literature from Osmania University, Hyderabad, Post Graduate Certificate in Teaching of English from CIEFL, Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching of English from CIEFL, Bachelor’s degree in Science and Bachelor’s degree in Education. She holds online professional certifications like: •Project Management •Human Resource Management •Financial Accounting • Management and Accounting • Business Process Outsourcing •Advance Learning Certificate in English Literature Analysis from Ireland. As a Research Associate in the District Centre for English Scheme, Department of Training and Development, The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad since 1 May 2007, her work focuses on administration, curriculum development and teaching in the International Training Programme for Foreign Students at the University. At the personal level, she works online as a mentor, helps the scholars in their project work, compilation of articles and research papers, contributes to the publication of articles and international peer reviewed journals.