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Mirza Ismail Bio


Sir Mirza Muhammad Ismail, KCIE, Kt, OBE (1883-1959) was a Diwan of the Kingdom of Mysore. A childhood friend of the king Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, he acted as the king’s private secretary (1923-1926) and later worked as the Diwan from 1926-41. His contributions include the development of the Brindavan Gardens and launching the first rural electrification programme in India. Like one of his predecessors Mokshagundam Visvesvarayya, he was known for being industry friendly and it was during his tenure that Hindustan Aeronautics Limited was set up. Other industries started during his period as diwan include paper, cement, steel, fertilizers, sugar and electric bulbs. The period of his administration was an eventful one. He built the superstructure on the foundations laid by Sir M. Visveswaraya. His period saw Mysore State make substantial progress in the field of industries, both in the private and public sectors. He was an able administrator and set an inspiring example to the officials by undertaking extensive tours and personally looking to the grievances of the people. A major part of his administration was spent in suppressing various kinds of public disturbances. He had to do a tight-rope walking in the face of popular agitations conducted by the Congress Party. He had to maintain good relations with the top Indian National Congress leaders like Gandhi and Nehru on one hand and on the other, he did everything possible to suppress Congress movement in the State. The Sultanpet Ganapathi Disturbances in Bangalore in 1928 called for the appointment of an enquiry commission headed by Visveswarya. The Commission recommended the founding of the responsible government in the State. The disturbances made the Diwan somewhat unpopular and helped Congress to gain ground in Mysore. He expanded the Bhadravathi Iron factory by adding a steel plant. A cement and a paper factory were established at the same place. The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Porcelain Factory and the Glass Factory all in Bangalore were established. The Sugar Factory at Shimoga and the Khadi Production Centre at Badanval were the other industries that were set up during his time. A Trade Commissioner was appointed at London. He was a great lover of gardens and parks and the founding of gardens, parks and beautiful squares in towns and cities was encouraged by him. The Cauvery high level canal was also constructed, irrigating 120,000acres (490km2) of land in Mandya district. Sir Mirza Ismail designed the world famous, meticulously planned Brindavan Gardens, located on the terrace of the Krishna Raja Sagar Dam, near the Mysore City. The gardens contain a number of fountains in all shapes and sizes and in the evenings they are tastefully illuminated giving the entire gardens a fairy tale look. During his time the Medical College was established in Mysore which he opened later. In 1930, he was knighted by the British Government for his services to India. In 1940, he laid the foundation stone of the Jamia Masjid mosque, near City Market in Bangalore. Following the king’s death in 1940, he continued as the diwan under the new king Jayachamaraja Wodeyar. However, he resigned in 1941 over differences with the new king, who was supposedly under pressure from the British to not allow any concessions to the car project of Walchand Hirachand. Foundation stone at Nandi Hills, India In 1942, he joined the Kingdom of Jaipur in Rajastan as the prime minister. The main thoroughfare of Jaipur has been named Mirza Ismail Road. In 1946, he became Diwan of Hyderabad. Sir Mirza Ismail negotiated an agreement with the Indian Government for a one year period to resolve the issue of accession of Hyderabad province to the Indian government amicably. Pro-India leaders like Nawab Mehadi Nawaz Jung, Barrister Akbar Ali Khan, famous editor Sohaibulla Khan, Nawab Ali Yavar Jung and others supported the peace moves of Sir Mirza Ismail and tried to change the attitude of the Nizam from confrontation to coordination. With the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, the Nizam became more set against acceding to India. As a result, Sir Mirza Ismail quit the government. The resignation of Sir Mirza Ismail and sidelining of pro-India leaders created panic among the Hindus and minorities like Sikhs in Hyderabad and resulted in a massive exodus started from Hyderabad to neighbouring regions. Sir Mirza's father was Agha Ali Asker, a Persian nobleman who settled in Bangalore. Ali Asker traded in horses and Persian carpets and supplied them to the royal stable. Ali Asker created the Ali Asker Waqf Estate. Two of his family members namely Agha Shahi and Agha Hilaly migrated to Pakistan and became Foreign Secretaries of the nation. Sir Mirza's grandson, Akbar Mirza Khaleeli, was Indian ambassador to Iran, Italy and Australia. He has four daughters: Zeebundeh Khaleeli, Sabah Backhache, Rehane Yavar Dhala and Essmath Khaleeli.

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