The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Princess comes home for fee

Hyderabad, April 14: A young princess with a ponytail flew in from Europe yesterday to seek money to pay her boarding school fees.

Niloufer II, the Nizam’s 15-year-old daughter, will learn tomorrow if she’ll get it.

On Saturday, a Hyderabad court will decide whether Manolya Onur ' the princess’s mother with whom she lives in Turkey ' is entitled to compensation from her former husband, Prince Mukkaram Jah, the eighth Nizam.

Manolya is asking for $7.5 lakh (about Rs 3.35 crore) and one of the Nizam’s three palaces in Hyderabad as alimony and another $4.5 million (about Rs 20 crore) for Niloufer and her younger brother.

The princess in jeans is not bothered with the details. “I am here to demand my school fees from the courts,” she said in her clear schoolgirl’s voice.

She would also like to have the Chiron Palace where she was born ' and where she was refused entry two years ago.

“I would love to have the palace,” said the princess, who was named after her ancestor and legendary beauty Princess Niloufer, daughter-in-law of Hyderabad’s last ruler.

“I grew up there for almost six years before I was sent to an English boarding school in Turkey.”

That was nine years ago. Manolya has now laid claim to the palace but the Nizam has already handed it over to the forest department to build a nature park around it.

Niloufer II seemed slightly disgusted with the ways of the adults. “I am very sad that they (her parents) keep fighting. But I don’t interfere (even) when they keep fighting in my presence.”

Does she miss her father' No, she flies across to London and goes yachting with him on weekends if she can get away from school. “I don’t miss him. He was beside me two weeks ago.”

She won’t be missing the yachting, either, this weekend. “I am very happy to be in Hyderabad. It is just like my home in Turkey.”

She had arrived at Begumpet airport wearing a white kameez, denims and a silver locket, her hair tied in a ponytail held by a blue band. As mother and daughter got off the plane to step on a carpet of flower petals, some 200 traditional Habshi musicians beat Arabic drums. The visitors were driven to a bungalow they have rented in Banjara Hills.

Niloufer may be happy just being back, but Manolya is worried about the verdict. “I’ve waited nine years. If there is further delay, I may die in my old age in poverty and my daughter will also be married away.”

She said the Nizam hadn’t paid her a penny ever since she filed the case seven years ago. But she was still ready to forgive him.

“If the Nizam comes and just says, ‘Manolya, please stop it, you have done enough ' you are my wife and she is my daughter’, then I shall withdraw the case and go away.”

The Nizam’s lawyers claim Manolya receives a cheque for $5,000 (about Rs 2.24 lakh) from their client every month, and with a yearly income of Rs 2 crore, Jah can’t afford to give her more.

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