Mir Turab Ali Khan

Mir Turab Ali Khan (1829-1883)
Prime Minister of Hyderabad

Albumen print on carte-de-visite, c. 1875
Size: 4 x 2.5 in. (10.2 x 6.4 cm)

Inscription: HE Sir Salar Jung

Turab Ali Khan was also known as Salar Jung I, and served as the Prime Minister of Hyderabad State from 1853 until his death in 1883. He also served as the regent for the 6th Nizam of Hyderabad between 1869 to 1883. At the tender age of 13, he was awarded the title of Salar Jung Bahadur and at the age of 23 he succeeded his uncle Siraj-ul-Mulk as the prime minister. He is known to introduce a systematic form of government in Hyderabad State. Till then there was no regular form of administration or any separate departments of administration, which led to corruption.

He reorganised the revenue and judicial systems, divided the Hyderabad State into districts, instituted a postal service, established one of the first modern educational institutions, and constructed the first rail and telegraph networks. Salar Jung I was also partly responsible for quelling a small offshoot of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 in Hyderabad. He is also said to have bought the “Veiled Rebecca” to India along with many other art masterpieces.

In this photograph, Salar Jung I is standing facing the viewer, with his right hand resting on books piled on a table beside him. He is wearing a long coat with a shoulder sash and belt, as he firmly grips a scroll with his left hand. The bold brooch and buttons on his coat only gives us a hint of his grandeur.