“Prince” Ali Raza, the last royal occupant of the Malcha Mahal deep inside the Ridge Forest in Central Delhi, was found dead in the lodge on September 2, the Hindustan Times reported on Tuesday.
Raza’s mother Begum Wilayat Mahal claimed to be a descendant of the Nawab of Awadh Wajid Ali Shah. She moved into the palace – a hunting lodge built by Feroz Shah Tughlaq in the 14th century – on May 28, 1985, with Raza, his sister Sakina, a pack of hounds and a few servants after a decade of living in the waiting room of the railway station in New Delhi.
She also asked the Indian government to compensate her for the British taking over all the properties of the nawab after overthrowing him in 1856, The Times of India reported.
“Mahal was offered a flat by the Delhi Development Authority,” Anil Chandra, a resident of Malcha Marg in Lutyens’ Delhi told The Times of India. “But she had refused to settle for anything less than a palace. And a palace was indeed given to her, only a 14th-century one.”
However, life was tough for the family as the Malcha Mahal did not have water and power. The begum, the Hindustan Times reported, committed suicide in December 1993 by allegedly drinking a concoction laced with crushed diamond.
Sakina also died a few years ago, leaving behind her brother.
Raza, who was not keeping well for sometime, died on September 2, said Vijay Yadav of the Delhi Earth Station of the Indian Space Research Organisation, which is located close to the lodge. “We had not heard from him for two-three days, so we went inside without his permission for the first time. He had died by then,” Yadav told the Hindustan Times.