Monsieur Raymond’s tomb, Hyderabad

Raymond’s Tomb is a black granite tombstone, conical in shape, about 7 meters high and it has the initials JR on it. The pavilion was built by the Nizam. The tomb is located near Asman Garh Palace on top of a hillock at Mussa Ram Bagh, Malakpet.

Raymond's tomb

Raymond's tomb

Raymond is also remembered in Hyderabad, with the area called Mussa Ram Bagh (Monsieur Raymond).

History

Michel Joachim Marie Raymond 1755 – 1798) popularly known as Monsieur Raymond was a French General in Nizam’s military and the founder of Gunfoundry in Hyderabad. He was born on 25th of September 1755 in Sérignac, Gascony, France to a merchant.

In 1775 at the age of 20 he and his younger brother William Jean Raymond left for Pondicherry, India.  His idea, as he explained to his father, was to set up a merchant shop. Instead, he turned to the more exciting career of a freebooter and soldier of fortune. He joined the services of the Count de Lally and fought campaign against the British in the South. When Pondicherry fell, he left and joined the Army of Hyder Ali in Mysore, setting up a gunfoundry, manufacturing gunpowder and muskets. After a brief stint with the French General Bussy, in 1786 Michel joined the service of the ruling Nizam of Hyderabad. He began as any other soldier, shortly after he was given 300 soldiers to command.

He became a favourite of the Nizam who bestowed upon this enormously popular foreigner a vast jagir. In 1796, Raymond was appointed Amin Jinsi or Comptroller of Ordnance. He established several cannon and cannon-ball factories. Under his expert guidance guns, ammunition and cannons were forged. Gunfoundry or Top ka Sancha behind Lepakshi Emporium is one of his best foundries remaining. The area today is also known as Gunfoundry.

When Raymond died on the 25th of March 1798, aged 43, just twelve years after joining, he was a military commander of over 14,000 men who were divided among 124 European soldiers. It is documented that there may have been a female battalion of soldiers as well.

Michel became a close friend of the second Asif Jah, Nizam Ali Khan. Michel was not only held in high esteem by the Nizam, but had also won the love and trust of the local people. He made himself popular through his kindness, bravery and contribution to Hyderabad. To the Muslim’s he was Musa Rahim and to the Hindu’s he was Musa Ram. George Bruce Malleson said that “No European of mark who followed him in India, ever succeeded in gaining to such an extent the love, the esteem, the admiration of the natives of the country.”

An envious British Resident John Kirpatrick did his best to undermine Raymond .The cause of Michel’s death was never found, some believed that it was suicide, and others believed he was poisoned. The popular local belief is he committed suicide after the Nizam joined forces with the British. A grateful Nizam soon decreed that an annual fair or urs would be held as mark of remembrance to Raymond.

Raymond's tomb

Raymond's tomb

Raymond's tomb

Raymond was quite popular among his Troops, whose descendants still gather at his tomb for Urs on his death anniversary.

Raymond's tomb

This structure adjacent to the Tomb is used to store the material required for the Urs. The grave adjacent to it belongs to Anne Elizabeth Jenkins

Location

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