Andhra bid to get its booty home
Collection of jewellery is estimated at Rs 10,000 crore, reports Ashok Das.india Updated: Mar 14, 2006 00:50 IST
Gems cannot be hidden forever. They need sunlight to sparkle, especially if the trove belongs to a Nizam.
The Andhra Pradesh government is making yet another bid to get the Nizam of Hyderabad's 173-piece jewellery collection out of the dank dark confines of the RBI vault in Mumbai for its place in the sun.
The showcase flaunts rubies and spinels from Burma, emeralds from Columbia, pearls from Basra, besides the 184.75 carat Jacob's diamond believed to be the seventh largest in the world. The collection, spanning early 18th century to the early 20th century, is estimated at Rs 10,000 crore.
Minister for tourism J Geeta Reddy told the state Assembly on Monday that she has shot a missive to Union culture minister S. Jaipal Reddy and a reply was awaited. "The state government is keen on getting the collection back to Hyderabad. We want it to be on permanent display," she said. The minister said the government of India had acquired it in 1955 for Rs 218 crore.
However, Hyderabad got to see the jewels for the first time in November 2001 when it was displayed at the Salar Jung museum. It is once again on display after five years.
In 2000, Prince Mukarram Jah, grandson of the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad, had offered the Chow Mohalla Palace in Khilwat, the main palace complex, as a permanent home for the collection. However, the offer was rejected on security grounds. Several such moves over the years came a cropper because of security constraints.